Since his feature film directorial debut with Tesis (Thesis) (1996), Alejandro Amenábar (Santiago, Chile, 1972) has been acclaimed by both audiences and critics. Tesis was tagged best film of the year in Spain by the country’s Film Academy, and had an extraordinary international success including numerous awards at festivals around the world.
Only a year later, his second film, Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes) (1997), became a blockbuster in Spain and was released internationally. The film had an American remake retitled as Vanilla Sky, directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Díaz.
Los otros (The Others) (2001) and Mar adentro The Sea Inside (2004) consolidated his figure internationally. Mar adentro, starring Javier Bardem, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and 60 international awards. Los otros, featuring Nicole Kidman in the lead role, was his first film shot in English. Selected by the Venice Film Festival, the film obtained great public success and excellent reviews by international critics.
In 2009 he directed Ágora, starring Rachel Weisz and selected by the Cannes Film Festival. It was the highest grossing film of the year in Spain, collecting more than 21 million euro and being watched by no fewer than 3.5 million viewers. In 2015 he released Regression, with Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson in the main parts. It grossed over 9 million euro at the box office, and was watched by one million viewers in Spain.
His latest film, While at War, has just been theatrically released and is turning into a great audience success.
Najwa Nimri is one of the best known and most prolific performers in Spanish cinema. With a career spanning more than twenty years and including as many film titles to her credit, the Pamplona-born actress has worked with international filmmakers such as Ken Loach, Julio Médem, Alejandro Amenábar or Carlos Vermut. The television series Vis a vis and La casa de papel, which won the applause of audience and critics, and her recording career make up a truly consolidated trajectory.
More than two decades have passed since in 1995, 1996 and 1997 she participated respectively in Jumping Into the Void, Passages and Blinded, all three directed by Daniel Calparsoro. In 1998 she played one of the lead roles in Julio Medem’s Lovers of the Arctic Circle, which earned her a nomination for Best Actress in the Goya Awards. She was again directed by the Basque filmmaker in Sex and Lucía 2001. Between the two films she made forays into international cinema including her part in Julian Schnabel’s Before Night Falls (Julian Schnabel , 2001), and continued to perform in Spanish successful movies like Asphalt, again under Daniel Calparsoro, and Faust 5.0., by Àlex Ollé and Carlus Padrissa.
Her filmography also includes Stones (Ramón Salazar, 2002), Utopia (María Ripoll, 2003), The Method (Marcelo Pyñeiro, 2005), Oviedo Express (Gonzalo Suárez, 2007), which screened in the 52th edition of the Valladolid Festival, or Mataharis (Iciar Bollain, 2007) . Other titles to her credit are ‘Route Irish'(Ken Loach, 2010), Anything You Want (Achero Mañas, 2010), Room in Rome (Julio Médem, 2010), Verbo (Eduardo Chapero-Jackson , 2011), and 10 000 noches en ninguna parte (Ramón Salazar, 2013).
After her successful television jobs in Vis a vis and La casa de papel, in 2018 she returned to the big screen with Julio Medem’s The Tree of Blood and Carlos Vermut’s Quién te cantará, for which she was nominated for a Goya Award.
Najwa Nimri’s artistic career has also been closely linked to the world of music. In 1998 she signed her first song with Carlos Jean, with whom she formed the NajwaJean band. Together they co-authored several singles, including the theme song for the public broadcaster’s classic film-talk show Versión Española (a previous recipient of Seminci’s Honorary Spike), which she performed during last year’s Gala of Spanish Cinema here in Valladolid.
LUIS SAN NARCISO
His participation in 27 series and about thirty films, where he worked with Almodóvar, Amenábar or Querejeta, consolidated him as Spain’s most important casting director. Luis San Narciso (Mieres, Asturias, 1959) studied Business and Drama. He debuted as an actor in the play Petra Regalada, in which he shared the stage with Julia Gutiérrez Caba, Ismael Merlo or Jaime Blanch, and in the 80s he played a small part in Ana Diosdado’s Los ochenta son nuestros, before leaving for London.
On his return, San Narciso worked as an assistant director with the greatest figures of the Spanish stage, like Mary Carrillo or Irene Gutiérrez Caba, until his professional career veered towards the casting business. He worked for Globomedia, where he became responsible for selecting the cast of such landmark series as Más que amigos, Periodistas, Compañeros, Policías, El grupo, Javier ya no vive solo, Siete vidas, Aída, Los Serrano, Un paso adelante, Los hombres de Paco, El internado, Águila roja, Vis a vis, Estoy vivo, or La víctima número 8, among others.
His leap to the big screen was was espoused by film producer Elías Querejeta, who hired him as a casting director for By My Side Again (Gracia Querejeta, 1999). This was followed by José Antonio Quirós’s Pídele cuentas al rey (the winner of an Audience Award in the 44th edition of Seminci), Mondays in the Sun (Javier León de Aranoa, 2002), Torremolinos 73 (Pablo Berger, 2003), Hours of Light (Manolo Matji, 2004), The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenábar, 2004), Captain Alatriste: The Spanish Musketeer (Agustín Díaz Yanes, 2006), Volver (Pedro Almodóvar, 2006), Seven Billiard Tables (Gracia Querejeta, 2007), The Blind Sunflowers (José Luis Cuerda , 2008), Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodóvar, 2009), The skin I live in (Pedro Almodóvar, 2011), or Bomb Scared (Borja Cobeaga, 2017).
A member of the Spanish Film Academy and the first Spanish casting director to enter Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences, San Narciso has received such accolades as the Sant Jordi Award, the Gijón Festival’s Nacho Martínez Award, the Talento Award granted by Spain’s TV Academy or the Málaga Festival’s Ricardo Franco Award.
The author of titles such as Lisboa (Lisbon) or El menor de los males (The Lesser Evil) finished high school at the San José de Calasanz school in Salamanca, and at 18 years he began taking his first steps with a super 8 mm movie camera. After moving to Madrid, he studied at the newly created Faculty of Information Sciences of the Complutense University. There he creates the film production company Micra Film together with several classmates. Within that company he wrote and directed his first short film, Soldado (Soldier) (1975).
Together with his brother, Avelino Hernandez, he produced two more short films, El arca de Noé (Noah’s Ark) and Gustavo y la modelo (Gustavo And The Model), and finally in 1979 they wrote and produced F.E.N., his directorial debut, which premiered in that year’s Seminci, and it was also included in the Berlin Festival and other contests around the world.
After his second feature film, Apaga… y vámonos (1981), he diversifies his professional activity and works both in radio and in filmmaking and television, making documentaries and advertisements. Ten years later, Jorge Martinez Reverte and Mario Onaindia entrust him with the direction of Cómo levantar 1.000 kilos (How To Lift 1,000 Kilos), an adaptation of the novel by the former entitled Gálvez en Euskadi. He then combined work as a dubbing director and advertising director until he began his collaboration with the film production company Zeppelin TV, for which he wrote and directed entertainment and fiction shows for more than eight years.
In 1999 he directed and co-wrote the feature film Lisboa, which granted Carmen Maura a nomination for the Goya Award for Best Actress and Sergi López the Biznaga for Best Actor at the Malaga Festival. In 2000 he participated in the creation of Zebra Producciones, with which he wrote and directed three feature films: El gran marciano (The great Martian) (2001), En la ciudad sin límites (2002) and Oculto (Hidden) (2005).
En la ciudad sin límites, which was included in the Spanish Cinema section of the 47th Seminci, was selected in Panorama of the Berlinale, and it also got five nominations in the Goya, including Best Director and Best Film. Eventually, the film won the statuettes in the category of Best Original Screenplay for Antonio Hernández and Enrique Brasó, and Best Secondary Actress for Geraldine Chaplin. In 2006, he directed the TV show Los Borgia for Antena 3. A year later, he directed the feature film El menor de los males, starring Verónica Echegui and Sergi Lopez, both awarded at the Malaga Festival.
Días sin luz (Lightless Days) (2009), Tarancón, el quinto mandamiento (Tarancon, the fifth commandment) (2010), Sofía (2011), Hoy quiero confesar (Today I want to confess) (2011), Capitán Trueno y el Santo Grial (Captain Thunder and the Holy Grail) (2011), La Fuga (The Getaway) (2012), Gran Reserva (2013), Gran Reserva, el origen (2013) and Seis hermanas (Six Sisters) (2015) are the titles of television shows and miniseries that he directed until Matar el tiempo (Killing Time) (2015), his latest feature film to date. Since 2016, he collaborates with Bambú film production company in the direction of TV showsTraición (Betrayal) and Las chicas del cable (Cable Girls).Among his upcoming projects are two new feature films: Parecido a un asesinato (Similar To A Murder), based on the novel by writer Juan Bolea, and Testamento, with his own script.