Paula Cons, founder of Agallas Films, the Galician producer behind films such as "Lobos sucios", has just completed the filming of her first feature film as director, "El Santa Isabel", a story based on a real "heroic" event , but almost unknown "that deserved" another repercussion ".
"I am a Galician and journalist and, in addition, I love history, much more that of my land, and I had no idea what had happened that night," explains the newcomer director Efe, who heard about this "heroic feat" after a friend told her about a small local exhibition.
It is about the shipwreck of the steam Santa Isabel, which transported 260 emigrants to Buenos Aires, and that it sank early in the morning of January 2, 1921 amid a thick fog in front of the steep and hard coast of the island of Sálvora , in the Ría de Arosa (A Coruña).
"In the books I found very aseptic data: At that time, the Alvia accident had happened (the derailment of a train that went from Madrid to Ferrol near Santiago de Compostela, which caused 80 fatalities) and I was still thinking about the post-traumatic reaction of the neighbors who helped in the accident, "he explains.
That, added to "issues that are about to be solved in Galicia, such as heroism, the caused shipwrecks or how the population reacts when that happens", opened the spigot of his imagination.
"I mixed all that, I played with the ambiguity and I started to confuse the viewer, I was terrific and I put faces to the characters," adds the director, also a screenwriter with Luis Marías.
"Santa Isabel" happens on a night when there were no men on the island, because they were celebrating Christmas on the mainland; When the steam runs aground and sinks, the only hope of the survivors who fought to avoid crashing against the rocks are the women, old people and children who lived in this place, explains Cons.
Three young people living on the island, María (Nerea Barros), Josefa (Victoria Teijeiro) and Cipriana (Ana Oca), come to their aid by throwing themselves blind into the sea in a small traditional boat.
"Against all logic, they throw themselves into the sea and save 50 people … At first, there is recognition, prizes, envy … and the first doubts begin to emerge: An Argentine journalist, to whom we have had the luck interpreted by Darío Grandinetti – the director points out- she verifies that there were too many coincidences that night. "
Thus, Cons decided to turn this historical drama into a thriller.
The film has been shot partly on the island of Sálvora, "which is almost deserted, except for ticks," laughs Cons, so they located mostly in Muros and O Grove, just opposite the island.
Co-produced by the Portuguese Take 2000, the Basque Historias del Tío Luis and the Argentinian Aleph Cine, as well as the Galician Agallas Films, the film features Aitor Mantxola in the direction of Photography and Julia Juániz in the montage. It will be distributed by Filmax.