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At Nouvelles Vagues in Biarritz, Penelope Cruz Talks About Her New ‘Passion Project’

Penélope Cruz may have stolen the show at the inaugural edition of the Nouvelles Vagues Festival in Biarritz. As guest of honor at the event, the stylishly clad actress revealed that she plans to make her directorial debut soon with a mystery documentary she calls her “passion project.

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Together with Alvaro Longoria, Cruz had produced On the Fringe, a documentary that had its French premiere at the festival. Set in a working-class neighborhood in Madrid, the film narrated the woes of several down-and-out characters facing eviction from their homes. Cruz said that she had established Moonlyon, her production company, in order to create “meaningful” films such as this one.
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Moonlyon was created in tandem with Laura Espeso and Mediapro Studio.

According to Cruz, she’d asked her friend, the director Pedro Almodóvar for advice on her future projects. “and he always told me, ‘Don’t wait! You should do it. If you have this feeling, you have to do it’.”

“I’ve been waiting for the right time, but for now I am producing and directing a documentary that is really my passion project and it will take me like a total of two more years,” added Cruz. “This is one of the things that we are developing and that I am directing, and it’s like my No. 1 thing that I have to do.”

Cruz did not reveal any more details about the new project, declaring that “Unfortunately I cannot share it yet, but once I will be able to I will be like talking non-stop about it because I have a lot to say about it.”

On the Fringe had earlier been seen at the Venice Film Festival and also received five nominations at the Goyas. It was the directorial debut of her childhood friend, Juan Diego Botto, who also plays Cruz’s husband in the movie.
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Its cast also includes many non-professional actors who were experiencing housing difficulties in Madrid.

“This is a reality. It could happen anywhere in the world. People in the film are real people who have had these situations, one of them had four children … and suddenly something went wrong and they were in the streets with four kids,” said Cruz.

She told a masterclass at Biarritz of her hope that films like this could help raise consciousness about the suffering of marginalized people: “We know this movie isn’t going to change the world, but we hope it can inspire and open debates about important subjects,” Cruz continued.

During her presentation, Cruz also reminisced about her own passion for film, which began when her family had bought a Betamax VCR. “When I liked a movie, I would watch it five times in a row and that’s how I got to know my favorite actors and directors, and that’s how my obsession with Almodóvar started,” said Cruz. She also spoke of her teenaged obsession with Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons. (The first American movie she auditioned for was The Hi-Lo Country, which he directed.)

Nouvelles Vagues is a festival specializing in films about young people. It was started by fashion executive Jérôme Pulis and producer Sandrine Brauer. Pulis had worked at Christian Dior for some sixteen years. The fashion House of Chanel is also a significant backer of the festival, as revealed by stylish gown Cruz sported at the event.

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Edward Moran
Edward Moran
Edward Moran began his journalistic career many decades ago as a theater and cinema reviewer for Show Business and the New York Theater Review. More recently he contributed film reviews to and Movie Sleuth. His writings have appeared in publications as diverse as the Times Literary Supplement, Publishers Weekly, the Paris Review, and the Massachusetts Review. Moran also edited a memoir by Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy. He served as literary advisor to her film Hyam Plutzik: American Poet, which was the keynote film in the American Perspectives series at the 2007 Zebra Poetry Film Festival in Berlin.


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