Jim Loach Returns Down Under to Shoot New Spanish Family Drama

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Edward James Olmos will star in Jim Loach's untitled project.

Edward James Olmos will take a lead role in the untitled project alongside an ensemble cast of Australian and Spanish actors.

Jessica Marais (Magic City) and Spanish actress Carmen Maura (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown) will star in British director Jim Loach’s new untitled feature, which will be shot in South Australia in March.

The film, from a script by seasoned Australian screenwriter Judy Morris (Babe, Happy Feet 2), is set within a multigenerational Spanish family and tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who realizes he must escape his passionate yet dysfunctional family to effect change.

An ensemble of Spanish stars are heading down under for the shoot, including Paz Vega (Grace of Monaco), Antonio de la Torre (I’m So Excited! and Volver) and Qim Gutierrez.

The lead role of Savino will be played by a Sydney boy, Michael Crisafulli, and Jarin Towney will play his buddy Skeet.

Edward James Olmos  rounds out the cast as Savino's grandfather.

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"As soon as I read Judy's script, I knew this was a film I wanted to make. It's just a great story, and with a brilliant cinematic quality built in," Loach said.

"It has a big, big heart and travels through a terrain that I've always wanted to explore — familial love and loss, and everything else in between. Developing it has been a joy and lots of fun, and I'm looking forward to shooting," he added.  

Loach is returning to Australia to make his second film here following 2010’s Oranges and Sunshine.

The new Loach film was developed and will be produced by Tim White and Anna Vincent through Southern Light Alliance alongside Stewart Le Marechal and Anna Mohr-Pietsch for U.K. outfit Met Film.

White recently completed the Ewan McGregor starrer Son of a Gun.

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The South Australian Film Corporation has invested in the film, with principal photography commencing March 3 in the Barossa Valley, the Flinders Ranges, and at the SAFC's Adelaide Studios. Rattle & Hum in the U.K. is also an investor in the unofficial U.K.-Australia co-production.

SAFC chair Judy Potter said the film will employ more than 70 local crew and cast, and has an estimated spend in South Australia of more than $4.5 million Australian (U.S. $4.05 million).

"We're excited by the partnership between Anna Vincent and Tim White, one of Australia's most experienced producers. The fact that they have gone into production on a major project for South Australia in less than one year since this partnership began is testimony to the long-term potential they represent for the State.

"This project is an example of how the new SAFC programs are encouraging co-productions between our highly capable local producers and producers from interstate and overseas," Potter said.

The film is set to be released in early 2015 and will be distributed in Australia by Greenlight Releasing.