France’s Les Films d’Ici has has issued a letter of interest to board as a co-producer on “Luis Mariano, All the Colors of the Rainbow,” a new feature-length biographical documentary from Spain to be highlighted at this week’s Conecta Fiction in the Pitch Euroregion NAEN series section.
Vet Spanish producer Jose María Lara (“El cielo gira,” “Aupa Extebeste!”) at Basque label Lumiere Produkzioak is participating in this year’s pitchings, dedicated to projects from the emerging Euroregion NAEN, taking in Nouvelle Aquitaine in France and the Basque Country and Navarre in Spain.
A Lumiere Produkzioak-Films d’Ici co-production is exactly the kind of result that Pitch Euroregion Series was established to facilitate: Geographically and culturally similar, border-crossing regional partnerships.
A NAEN partnership matches the film’s subject as well. Luis Mariano was born on the border between the three Euro-Regions of NAEN and is likely the most famous person from there in the 20th century, although his celebrity extends far beyond the region’s borders. Mariano was a bona fide global superstar. According to Lumière: “His figure makes possible a co-production between Basque, Navarre and French companies, and surely also Latin American, without forgetting Canada.”
Mariano was musical royalty in Europe from the late 1940s to the 1970s, specifically in the operetta style which he’s best known for. Born in Irún, just up the beach from San Sebastian, he was exiled in France during the Spanish Civil War, where he continued to sing in the Basque language – banned under Spanish dictator Francisco Franco – making him a cultural hero for many.
After migrating, his fame bloomed across the French-speaking world as well as Latin America and his native Spain as he starred in more than 20 films with the likes of Carmen Sevilla and Annie Cordy. Off-screen, he recorded more than 850 songs in multiple languages which were distributed around the globe and still resonate today.
Featuring previously unpublished documents and first-person testimonies, such as his drawings and designs, the project proposes to shine a light on the performer’s life and successes. According to the film’s team, it will offer “The truth of a character whose songs were sung by millions of people. Luis Mariano: the star, the myth, the man.”
A prominent force in documentary as well as live action, Les Films d’Ici production credits include 2008’s “Waltz With Bashir,” which played Cannes competition to acclaim, and Gianfranco Rosi’s 2016 Oscar-nominated “Fire at Sea.”