Alicante boasts one of the most advanced and popular film studios in Europe and over the years a number of top films have been produced there. However not everything is as glitzy in movie-land as one might think and as the Cannes Film Festival comes to an end, there’s news of an upset about unpaid production fees, as both the Alicante Melia and Sidi San Juan Hotels are owed for their services and an embargo has been placed on a film made at the City of Light, while awaiting payment of a substantial amount.
These unpaid fees are for accommodation services from the hotels to producer Andrés Vicente Gómez for the film about Spain’s most famous bullfighter ‘Manolete’, who died at the tragically young age of just 30, and ‘Don Giovanni’, which were filmed in Ciudad de la Luz in 2006. The fees amount in total to 233,900 euros for accommodation costs for film crews and talent and has resulted in both hotel companies taking the Production Companies to court. Both productions, the first starring Penelope Cruz and Adrien Brody and the second directed by Carlos Saura, have suffered financial problems and ‘Manolete has yet to be released in Spain, although it was due to be, on May 14.
The Meliá director, Javier Luri, recalled that during the filming of ‘Manolete’ the main cast occupied an entire floor, taking up 134 rooms on a half-day rate and 1,900 room days for ‘Don Giovanni’ in the same year. In the case of Sidi, there was the bill for several suites for their top stars. Apart from hotel rooms, there is money owed for transportation and other services all, of which has led to the embargo of the release of the much anticipated film ‘Manolete’, the profits of which producers hope will pay for all outstanding amounts.
‘Manolete’, shot in English and at various locations around Spain including Alcoy, Alicante and Cadiz, stars Academy Award-winning actor Adrien Brody in the lead role as Manolete with fellow Academy Award-winner, Penélope Cruz as his lover, Mexican actress Lupe Sino. The film begins with Manolete’s last day in Linares, where he is gorged by his fifth bull of the day and goes back through his tumultuous romance with the actress. The film was due to be released in 2007, but spiralling production costs, of over 20-million euros and other problems, plus the present embargo have delayed this. Further controversy has been fuelled by anti-bullfighting protests in France, leaving many to wonder if this shall go directly to DVD or actually be released on a worldwide scale.