‘Gypsy Bride’ Star Nerea Barros Preps Directorial Feature Debut ‘The Coast,’ Reflecting Her Obsessions: ‘The Legacy of the Elderly, Climate Change’ (EXCLUSIVE)

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‘Gypsy Bride’ Star Nerea Barros Preps Directorial Feature Debut ‘The Coast,’ Reflecting Her Obsessions: ‘The Legacy of the Elderly, Climate Change’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Winner of a Spanish Academy supporting actress Goya Award for “Marshland” and nominated for a 2023 best doc short Spanish Academy Goya Award for “Memory,” which she also directed, Nerea Barros, star of “The Gypsy Bride” is preparing “The Coast” (“La Costa”) which will mark her directorial feature debut.

Also written by Barros, “The Coast” will make its market debut in March at the 2024 Malaga Festival Fund & Co-Production Event (MAFF). Its news comes little more than a month after the end of the run on Nov. 29 of Atresplayer of “La Red Purpura,” the second part of a crime trilogy begun with “The Gypsy Bride,” which both star Barros and have consolidated her reputation as one of Spain’s finest actors of her generation.

“I am an actress, but for years I have felt the need to give shape to my obsessions, the legacy of the elderly, climate change and women, through art. To transform my anxiety into a cinematographic fact,” Barros told Variety.

“‘The Coast’ will be my opera prima, an experimental film that comes after years of work and research in my line of discourse and cinematographic language,” she added, positioning “The Coast” as playing “on that bridge between fiction and non-fiction, both the cinematographic and sound proposal, located in a cinema more of exploration and experimentation and its theme.” All of which “make this film a different, sensitive and international product,” she said.

“The Coast’s” Key Cast: the Elderlies and Animals

Key cast of “The Coast” cuts two ways. One are the Elderlies, as Barros calls them: “They are the key. The only ones capable of opening the door to memory. Bearers of an essential legacy. They’ll become nomads between tradition and art. The transition from the everyday to the extraordinary. From context to fracture. From old to avant-garde.”

They will be made up of no-pro actors, 78-96 or older, dedicated to traditional professions, maintaining the “legacy of a natural coast transformed into asphalt and brick: traditional preparation with esparto grass, traditional fishing in a trawler, horse whisperers, farmers who loves the land, an artisan baker, flamenco dancer and two women threatened for years by justice, now free fisherwomen at the lagoon.”

“The Coast” will also feature “the voices of elders from Latin American tribes who fight to preserve their legacy and their land like the Amazon jungle, who live in harmony with mother nature, the Nahua, the Cashibo-Cacataibo, the Nanti, the Kawahivas, the Yanomanis, the Yurí and others who have seen how the conquest or so-called progress destroyed their entire legacy like the Quechuas or Mapuches.”

A second key cast are animals, such as a wolf, a horse, two flamingos, an eagle, two chameleons and a white heron. We have long since stopped hearing their screams. “We have humanized some by including them in our lives, and they depend on our whim. We have annihilated the rest en masse or turned them into food products.” “On the coast they will finally claim their land and their cries will mix with other almost extinct animals fighting to survive,” said Barros.

“We have become accustomed to forgetting. “La Costa” reveals to us that what was lived is not built to be forgotten and will reveal to us that the truth is not between the brick and the cement but yes on that plant that grows stoically between the cracks of the asphalt,” Barros said.

“The Coast” Poster

An Experimental Edge

Barros can be expected to return in “The Coast” to the formal innovation and resonant visuals of “Memory,” shot and set in the dust bowl that was once the Aral Sea, the film capturing dust clouds moving across the landscape like waves and the shifting from a 4:3 format to a less constricted and more elegiac 16:9 ratio. 

Production Details

In initial development, with production scheduled for September 2024 to May 2025, shooting alternating weeks, “The Coast” is set up at Madrid-based Cólera Films, set up in August 2023 by DP Anna Albi, scribe-helmer Jairo González, production director Sofia P. Jordan and Barros. Its first productions been a commission from Spanish rock singer Loquillo of the crafted black and white video clip for “El Rey.”

It is co-produced by Granada’s Siesta Producciones, whose “El Universo en una caja,” a biopic on the extraordinary Mariano Fortuny, starred Barros, and Valencia’s Mediterráneo Media Entertainment (“Allende, the Thousand Days”).

The producers intend to enroll a small production company in Galicia, North-West Spain and Barros’ native region, and then join forces with a larger Spanish production house to develop international co-production in Latin America and Europe.  

“Memory”

Produced by Hernán Zin (“Born in Gaza,” “Born in Syria,” “57 Days”), one of Spain’s foremost documentarians, via his Doc Land Films, and Ana Pincus “Memory” pictured of the ecological devastation wrought by man, and the legacy of knowledge and imagination passed on by an older generation. It was shot in Uzbekistan in the basin of the Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world, until, from the 1960s, the Soviet Union siphoned off waters from the Amu Darya and Syr Darya Rivers for irrigation projects.    

A fisherman in his youth, grandfather Saymbetov, spends his days with his infant granddaughter, Margiyana, telling her about the sea, his former fishing boat now a rusting hulk beached in the sand of a scrub desert stretching to the horizon.

“The sea is boundless. The sea is our wealth. Our strength and our memory. The one who fed our people, me, your parents and now yourself. It’s the breath which brings us life. The mother who gives us shelter,” says Saymbetov. 

Only Saymbetov’s memory keeps the Aral Sea alive for Margiyana.

Memory

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