‘Hildegart,’ from ‘Alcarràs’ Producers, Wraps Shoot for Amazon Studios



Driving into Spanish-language movies and series, Amazon Studios is hoping to repeat the success of “Argentina, 1985” with big Spanish period production “Hildegart,” starring Najwa Nimri (“Money Heist,” “Locked Up”) and Alba Planas (“Skam España”), which wrapped production Aug. 21 in Madrid.

“Hildegart” has shot in the Spanish capital filming seven weeks and some days at historical heritage sites such as Spain’s Congress, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol central square, and its Atheneum.  

Directed by Paula Ortiz (“The Bride,” “Across the River and Into the Trees”), “Hildegart” is a fact-based tale of the extraordinary and tragic life of Spain’s Hildegart Rodríguez, born in 1914, a child prodigy raised by her mother to be a model for future women, who gave conferences on feminism and sexuality from the age of 11, writing on prostitution, contraception and eugenics – her monograph “Profilaxis anticoncepcional” sold 8,000 copies in one week just in Madrid – and accompanied H.G. Wells when he made a visit to Spain.

Sensing that she was losing control of her daughter – who, in this take at least, begins to experience freedom, meeting socialist Abel Vilella – on June 9, 1933, when Hildegart Rodríguez was asleep, her mother shot her dead three times in the head and once in the heart. 

Prime Video has just shared a first look still in exclusivity with Variety which captures the film’s production ambitions, the period – Spain’s brief Republic of 1931-36 when it stood in the vanguard of Europe in social reform – and the movie’s production standards. 

Staring straight at the camera in cold disdain, Nimri’s body language is eloquent, that of a woman with an absolute certainty of the rightness of her life mission. 

“This is the story backed up by the ideology of a woman who violates the most sacred thing, murdering her own child,” Nimri told Variety.  

“This is a story which encompasses the great emotional and ideological contradictions of the 20th century which also holds up a mirror to the current state and sensibility of the world,” Ortiz added.

Of Prime Video’s Top 10 most watched non-English language movies and series over July 2022-June 2023, five hailed from the Spanish-speaking world. Most are pretty clear mainstream plays such as Spain’s “My Fault,” ia teen romance come action thriller, and from Chile “Sayen” a Mapuche revenge action drama. 

The creators and producers of “Argentina, 1985” and “Hildegart” come from a different place. 

Argentina’s first Amazon Original, starring Ricardo Darín, “Argentina, 1985” was a fact-based tale co-written and directed by a helmer with impecable arthouse credentials, whose “Paulina” won a Cannes 2015 Critics’ Week Grand Prize.

Likewise, “Hildegart,” another fact-based tale, weighs in as an equal upscale play from celebrated arthouse talent, led by producers Avalon and Elastica Films whose biggest hit, 2022 Berlin Golden Bear winner “Alcarràs,” however, broke out at the Spanish box office ranking for much of last year as the second highest-grossing national title in Spain. 

Much of that was due to the qualities of “Alcarràs,”  but also its extraordinarily energetic distribution campaign and the across the board top-notch craft of the production. María Zamora and Stefan Schmitz produce for Elástica Films and Avalon respectively.

“Hildegart” is written by Eduard Sola, scribe of “Through My Window,” and Clara Roquet, the multi-prized writer-director of Cannes Critics’ Week entry “Libertad.”

“The repercussion Hildegart Rodríguez had in so little time was extraordinary, frustrated by the dramatic events which the occurred,” said Zamora, who noted that the film dealt with “the contradiction women suffer, the social pressure of trying to be perfect, and not being able, because it’s impossible. That’s something real and highly current in our modern day.”

“The success after ‘Argentina 1985,’ was crucial for this project to go ahead and for Prime Video to push other titles like ‘Hildegart,’” she noted.

“Hildegart” is scheduled to bow in 2024. Details of any theatrical release have yet to be announced. As “Hildegart” went into post, María José Rodríguez, head of Spanish Originals, Amazon Studios, talked to Variety about its enthusiastic embrace of the production.

Why did Amazon Studios board ‘Hildegart’?

At Prime Video, we’re always looking for stories that impact and interest. From the first moment, when “Hildegart” arrived in our hands we were taken by the power behind this story, which is real, but not very well known. We were thrilled by the idea of making Aurora and Hidelgart known to a much larger Spanish audience, and to international audiences as well. “e absolutely loved the script and were equally enthused by Paula’s vision of this story and the possibility of working closely with María Zamora.    

How does this film fit in the Prime Video lineup, and most of all, with what contemporary audiences might be seeking?

At Prime Video, we focus on producing top quality films, with the best local stories and talent, to appeal to large audiences, encompassing a broad range of genres, and this film is a perfect example of that. The cast is led by great actresses like Najwa Nimri and Alba Planes, there is a great female director like Paula Ortiz, and, most of all, there is a powerful story which, we are sure, will thrill and engage audiences. We make films for all types of tastes and audiences. In Spain, we released the family comedy “Mañana es hoy” (“Tomorrow is Today”) last December and we also released the romantic drama “Culpa mía,” which was very successful internationally, and on Oct. 11 we shall release the science fiction action film, “Awareness.” At Prime Video there’s something for everyone.   

In “Hildegart,” the idea of the woman, especially the perfect woman, is very present, but taken too the extreme. It is, without doubt, a story situated on the edge, the extreme. With regard to Hildegart and Aurora, how have you tackled both ideas, and, how do you relate Hildegart, to woman today, in terms of outlook and life ambitions, and the role of women?

This story is undoubtedly an enormous challenge. Aurora and Hildegart had a very complicated relationship, governed by that concept of the perfect woman that Aurora took to the extreme, as you say. We wanted to place the focus on Hildegart and the ideas she brought to the table to Spanish society of the 1930s, and which was no doubt a stepping stone towards feminism in Spain as conceived today. Unfortunately, I think that women of today, 100 years later, will see themselves in Hildegart’s words and her final struggle for freedom and independence.

After the success of “Alcarràs” and the great boost given to Prime Video by “Argentina, 1985”, what can we expect from “Hildegart” and the Elástica/Avalon tandem? And, most of all, why bet on Paula? 

Paula’s personal vision was one of the things that most appealed to us about this project and she’s done an incredible job. Hildegart is a great period production and Paula was very meticulous about every little detail of this incredible story. She is a great director and we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with her. The same can be said about María Zamora and the entire Elástica/Avalon team. They are great travel companions, with whom we got along perfectly and we worked very well together. From the get-go, Paula and Maria infused in us their passion for this project. Hildegart is a big production, that tells a story full of nuances and which required a team that could convey all that ambition, and I’m glad to say we’ve been able to achieve that. This film is a very important project for us and we hope international audiences can connect with this story as they did with “Argentina 1985,” a project that brought great joy to us. 

John Hopewell contributed to this article.


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