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Saint Teresa of Jesus Fiction Feature, Directed by ‘The Bride’s’ Paula Ortiz, Swooped on by Filmax (EXCLUSIVE)

Spanish mini-major Filmax has picked up international sales rights to “Teresa,” the new feature by Paula Ortiz (”The Bride,” ”Across the River and Into the Trees”), a fictional story turning on the prominent Spanish mystic and religious reformer Saint Teresa of Jesus.

“Teresa” marks the big screen adaptation of Spaniard playwright Juan Mayorga’s stage play ”La lengua en pedazos,” which narrates a meeting between Saint Teresa of Jesus – also known as Teresa de Ávila –  and a character called The Inquisitor.

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The feature is not a classic biopic, but rather a free adaptation of the text written by Mayorga – a winner of Spain’s National Prize for Dramatic Literature – which in turn, is based on “The Book of Life,” by Saint Teresa herself.

In the movie, Teresa patiently awaits the Inquisitor’s arrival and judgement. His visit and his words will determine her future. They will hold a religious and dialectical duel, where the question will be if she is set free, imprisoned or burnt at the stake.

Spanish actress Blanca Portillo, recent Goya-winner for “Maixabel,” plays the adult Teresa. The Inquisitor role is taken by Asier Etxeandía, seen in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” who is back working with Ortiz after her feature debut, “The Bride.” “A Thief’s Daughter’s” star Greta Fernández limns a younger Teresa.

Ortiz’s multi-prized epic tragedy “The Bride” world premiered in San Sebastian Film Festival’s Zabaltegi in 2015. She recently directed the a movie adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel “Across the River and Into the Trees,” starring Liev Schreiber.

Teresa
Teresa

The cast also includes Consuelo Trujillo (“Verónica”), Luis Bermejo (“Magical Girl”) and Claudia Traisac (“Escobar: Paradise Lost”).

Produced by Álex Lafuente and Valérie Delpierre, “Teresa” is backed by La Lengua en Pedazos A.I.E. tax vehicle and production houses Bluebirds Films and Inicia Films (“Summer 1993,” “The Girls”), in co-production with Nu Boyana Portugal.

“We are very excited to finally bring this complex and fascinating project to the screen. The film is Paula Ortiz’s follow-up to the very successful ‘The Bride,’ the movie on which our wonderful, professional relationship first started,” Lafuente said.

“’Teresa’ is a very unique film about one of the most relevant figures in our history and Paula’s adaptation of her books and Mayorga’s stage play, which the film is based on, is an impressive, challenging and profoundly original work,” the producer added.

“With Paula in the director’s chair and Alex and Valérie on the production credits, we believe this to be a film with amazing potential, which also boasts a stellar cast, headed by Portillo, one of the best Spanish actors of her generation,” said Iván Díaz, Filmax head of international.

Filmax is presenting the first images of ”Teresa” to buyers attending the Toronto Film Festival.

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