Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz star in Official Competition, one of the major productions filmed in Madrid during this year that has been so marked by the pandemic.
Official Competition is a feature film produced by The Mediapro Studio and directed by Argentinian directors Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat. The Mediapro audiovisual group had previously produced the films My Masterpiece (2018) and 4×4 (2019) by these prestigious Argentinian directors, who are filming in Spain once again following their award-winning The Distinguished Citizen (2016) which they shot in Barcelona. Orange España is also participating in the production, and international sales are being handled by the agency Protagonist Pictures.
The story was written by the two directors alongside Andrés Duprat, and its plot is based precisely on the filming of a movie. Starring Penélope Cruz (winner of an Academy Award), Antonio Banderas (Best Actor award at the Cannes Festival for Pain and Glory and Oscar Martínez (Best Actor award at the Venice Festival), and with a cast that features José Luis Gómez, Nagore Aramburu, Irene Escolar, Manolo Solo and Pilar Castro.
The team looking after the technical aspects of Official Competition is made up of top-level professionals such as Josep Amorós as production manager, Arnau Valls as director of photography, Alain Bainée as production designer, Alberto del Campo as editor, Aitor Berenguer as sound producer, Wanda Morales as costume designer, or Pablo Iglesias and Sergio Pérez in makeup and hairstyles. Marga Roca was in charge of location scouting.
Although the filming was interrupted by the pandemic, it has now been wrapped
This Mediapro Studio production was one of the largest shootings to be affected by the shutdown of the audiovisual industry following the declaration of the state of alarm due to the spread of the health pandemic. Filming started on 22 February, but after twenty days of working in the midst of uncertainty, as Judit Sala, the person in charge of the production’s health prevention measures tells us, it was halted on 12 March.
After a spring confinement and a summer during which the directors continued to work on the film’s creative process, filming resumed on 17 September and ended on 8 October. In the words of director Gastón Duprat, this stoppage allowed them to have an unaccustomed amount of time to study the material they had already filmed and to work on the script that had yet to be shot, with the certainty that what they already had was “really powerful” and that “Penélope, Antonio and Óscar were amazing”.
When filming got under way again, the production’s budget was increased by 20% due to the cost of the health measures that were introduced. These included 600 tests for the team, hygiene and cleaning processes, the use of masks and individual makeup, hairdressing and costume teams for each member of the cast. The working time was also increased due to the need to comply with the prevention protocols. Great care was taken as far as contact was concerned, temperatures were taken regularly, and staggered arrival and departure times and spaces were arranged for the crew, the artists and the extras at the different filming sets.
The filming locations in Madrid
Official Competition was filmed in Madrid, San Lorenzo de El Escorial and Ávila with an artistic team of 60 people, 80 professional technicians and 300 extras. Many service providers based in Madrid, such as Adisar Media, WhyOnSet, Telson, EPC and Reni Catering participated in the production.
In Madrid, the film was shot in facilities of the Madrid-Cuatro Vientos Airport, in the La Neomudéjar Museum, Avant-garde Arts Centre, and in the Intercontinental Hotel in the Paseo de la Castellana. Filming took place on the public thoroughfare outside the Palacio de Congresos de Madrid and on Gran Vía Avenue, an emblematic setting for audiovisual productions.
The production included a work session at the Caja Mágica, a facility managed by Madrid Destino, a public company that is part of the City Council’s department of Culture, Tourism and Sports. This multipurpose space was used to recreate a film set for the film that is part of the plot.
Interior locations for the films included a property in the La Florida residential area in the Moncloa-Aravaca district, an office in the Cuatro Torres Business Area, a small palace on Calle Fomento and the Five Guys restaurant on the Paseo de la Castellana. Interior locations were completed with the facilities of the Teatro Auditorio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, one of the most important stages in this town in the mountains of Madrid, which also provided another filming location at the Zaburdón Sports Centre.
Marga Roca, location manager “Offical Competition”
Belen de Frías, Communication department The Mediapro Studio