‘Official Competition’ With Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas Acquired by IFC Films

Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat directed the film that premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival

Official Competition
Venice Film Festival

IFC Films has scooped up the U.S. rights to “Official Competition,” a film starring Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas that made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year.

Despite both appearing in many Pedro Almodovar films, this is Cruz and Banderas’ first time headlining the screen together, playing an auteur filmmaker and a glamorous superstar actor in the comedy.

IFC Films plans to release “Official Competition” in 2022.

Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat directed the film, which was written by Cohn and Duprat with Andrés Duprat. Here’s the full synopsis:

In “Official Competition,” an octogenarian millionaire pharmaceutical tycoon (José Luis Gómez) decides to finance a great work of cinema after having surveyed his legacy and finding it lacking in prestige. He purchases the rights to a Nobel Prize–winning novel about sibling rivalry and entrusts the property to enigmatic auteur Lola Cuevas (Penélope Cruz). A visionary conceptualist with a penchant for offscreen theatrics and micromanagement, Lola casts as her embattled co-leads a pair of veteran thespians who couldn’t be less alike: Iván Torres (Oscar Martínez) is a revered educator and legend of the stage much concerned with ethics and artistry, while Félix Rivero (Antonio Banderas) is a glamorous global star known mostly for brainless, bombastic entertainments. Alternating between exacerbating the actors’ mutual antipathy and uniting them in their discomfort with her psychologically tumultuous rehearsal techniques, Lola seeks to capture the drama of two alpha males vying for the limelight — but it won’t be long before the gambit goes off the rails.

“Official Competition” was produced by The Mediapro Studio’s Jaume Roures, with executive producers Javier Méndez, Laura Fernández Espeso and Javier Pons.

Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films, said: “Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas shine together onscreen in ‘Official Competition.’ Their chemistry is undeniable, and we believe US audiences will be delighted to see them come together in this crowd-pleasing film.”

“We hope that the American public will have fun and surprise with this acid comedy and discover a new acting side of Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas. Going hand in hand with IFC Films, together with our international distributor Protagonist Pictures, is already a guarantee of success,” Marta Ezpeleta, director of The Mediapro Studio Distribution, said in a statement. “A film as special as ‘Official Competition’ deserves an equally special home, and we can think of no one better than our friends at IFC to share this whip-smart satire with US audiences.”  

The deal for the film was negotiated by Bocco with CAA Media Finance, Protagonist’s CCO George Hamilton and COO James Pugh and Manny Nunez on behalf of the filmmakers. Protagonist Pictures represented worldwide sales.

Variety first reported the news.