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Embroiled in a multi-million-dollar breach of contract lawsuit against Amazon back home, Woody Allen has turned to Spanish production company Mediapro — which produced Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, as well as Midnight in Paris and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger — for his next movie, which is readying a shoot in Spain this summer.
According to local reports, members of Allen’s team had been scouting locations in the Basque Country in northern Spain prior to a meeting Friday between production company Mediapro and the San Sebastian-Gipuzkoa Film Commission.
In a statement Friday, the Film Commission described the meeting as hammering out details of basic production necessities and permits for a planned seven-week shoot starting in July.
Emblematic sites scouted in San Sebastian, well-known to visitors of the annual San Sebastian International Film Festival, were the Concha Bay, the old town and a well-known seaside sculpture by Eduardo Chillida called The Comb of the Wind, according to the Commission.
Mediapro also has a relationship with Amazon Studios, as a co-producer on the behind-the-scenes Spanish soccer documentary miniseries Six Dreams. Allen sued Amazon earlier this month for $68 million, after the streaming giant shelved his most recently completed film, A Rainy Day in New York, and canceled his multi-film agreement with Amazon. Amazon dropped its deal with Allen after old sexual assault allegations from his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow resurfaced. Allen denies the allegations.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Mediapro said: “We have a 10-year relationship with Mr. Allen and, like all projects we produce, we judge the creator by its work. All of our projects have a unique personality, and we support all types of artistic voices and ideas and remain committed to producing well-defined and creative projects for audiences worldwide.”
Allen has a longstanding relationship with Spain and San Sebastian. He presented Vicky Cristina Barcelona at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2008 and received the fest’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004, opening San Sebastian that year with Melinda and Melinda.
In 2002, Allen received Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts, whose previous recipients include Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Bob Dylan. The award is given in Oviedo, a city in the north of Spain that unveiled a life-size bronze statue of the director in 2003 and where Allen filmed part of Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Last year feminist groups reportedly petitioned the Oviedo City Hall to remove the statue, citing Dylan Farrow’s assault allegations.
Last October, at a master class at Thierry Fremaux’s Lumiere Festival in Lyon in October, Spanish actor and Vicky Cristina Barcelona star Javier Bardem defended Allen.
“At the time I did Vicky Cristina Barcelona, the allegations were already well known for more than 10 years, and two states in the U.S. deemed he was not guilty,” Bardem said. “If the legal situation ever changes, then I’d change my mind. But, for now, I don’t agree with the public lynching that he’s been receiving, and if Woody Allen called me to work with him again I’d be there tomorrow morning. He’s a genius.”
The Gipuzkoa culture deputy Denis Itxaso noted that the province offers fiscal incentives to film shoots. “What’s more, this venture by the producer could benefit the magnificent professionals that work in film in Gipuzkoa thanks to the opportunity to work on this project with one of the world’s best directors.”
San Sebastian’s deputy mayor Ernesto Gasco, who oversees the Film Commission, noted that, “For San Sebastian it’s great news that Woody Allen has our city among as one of his urban shooting options.”
Allen is also expected to play three concerts in Spain this June with the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band.
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