‘The Platform’s’ Mr. Miyagi Unveils ‘Restless Waters, Shivering Lights



An idyllic getaway goes awry after a freak accident leaving teen Lidia (Zoe Arnao) and her father, Pablo (Hugo Silva) to mourn the loss of the family matriarch (Paula Echevarria) by escaping to their isolated lighthouse where the paranormal flirts with their fragile dispositions while a troubled family friend (Sergio Castellanos) stirs the pot on the periphery.

A lot’s at stake in “Restless Waters, Shivering Lights,” (“Faro”), a tension-laden thriller from Ángeles Hernández that plumbs depths of despair, examining the deterioration of once-tight bonds distorted by overwhelming grief, the perfect emotional foundation for descending fright.

“Our own insecurities let loose the horror. Those ghosts sneak into the father–daughter relationship and try to destroy it. One of the more complex exercises when shooting is to keep the pulse and balance between Lidia’s dream world and how it affects her reality. And, on the other hand, a father who loves his daughter but is incapable of overcoming guilt and getting closer to her. To me, building the characters through their fears, traumas and weaknesses was key. But always with a halo of hope,” Hernández told Variety.

Psychological battles are hard-fought as the two begin to doubt the reality of the situation at hand, leaving the door open for human-bound mischief to cling to an already fractured mental landscape.

“In a depressive process where you deal with pain and guilt, you can end up seeing your loved ones as your enemies. Lidia’s growing doubt towards her father increases the tension and suspense as we end up getting into her head and confusing reality and fantasy. The terror that arises from everyday life is much more distressing because it arises from your inner self and slowly transforms what is real into the paranormal, and turns ghosts into real entities.” Hernández explained.

Shot on the impactful Balearic Islands, the film goes to great lengths to incorporate the surroundings into the narrative, scenic attributes become dueling protagonists. The depths of the murky water, the crumbling facade of the abode and the eerie offseason charm of an otherwise bustling shore work to paint a dismal picture that erodes the viewers own equilibrium in due time.

“Menorca and Mallorca, those wonderful places I’d gone on vacation, became an incredible ally to tell my story. Precisely because no one expects something bad to happen there, in paradise. Their landscapes are less traveled in the audiovisual, even less in the horror genre. They’re spaces that end up becoming another, omnipresent character, which was perfect to highlight and accompany the emotional state of my characters, apart from a local folklore that helps with the most magical story,” Hernández mused.

The project debuts within this year’s Blood Window Screenings and is an ambitious co-production between Hernández and David Matamoros at Barcelona-based Mr. Miyagi Films, who co-produced Netflix’s second most watched non-English language movie of all time. “The Platform,” and Argentina’s Vista Sur (“Dalia And The Red Book”). 

The team were easily lured into filming in the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Menorca thanks to generous incentives and a captivating landscape.

“Producers found in the Balearic Islands of Mallorca en Menorca two strategic partners as well as Buenos Aires. Through incentives from the Fundació Mallorca Turisme/Mallorca Film Commission and the Menorca Film Commission the film was able to close financing,” Matamoros stated.

“In combination with the rest of the Spanish tax incentives and funds, both Mallorca and Menorca offer, on top, financing considered as a sponsorship collaboration, which isn’t considered as public funding. It doesn’t add to the top limits of public funding intensity in Spain, which is great news. As a sponsorship support, the Fundació Mallorca Turisme created a very sophisticated scheme to attract shoots from all over, including the Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson title ‘The Hustle,’” he added.

“The film began to rise and get momentum when the Fundació Mallorca Turisme, the Mallorca Film Commission and the Menorca Film Commission suggested that we use their islands as the main location for the film. Transferring the terror to a bright, Mediterranean space has given the film an incredible personality. Without the help of their tax incentives perhaps we would not have considered filming there. And now, thanks to them, it adds something distinctive to the film and gives it a great production value,” Hernández admitted.

Pedro Barbadillo, head of the Mallorca Film Commission and Tourism Board, reiterated that it was a mutually beneficial production arrangement.

“When David presented the project to us, a story that takes place in coastal and maritime locations, where the sea is another character, it seemed to us that the ideal place to film was the Balearic Islands. Especially Mallorca and Menorca, where we have some of the most spectacular lighthouses in the Mediterranean, and seascapes of impressive plastic beauty,” said Pedro Barbadillo, head of the Mallorca Film Commission and Tourism Board 

“With the support of the Mallorca Tourism Foundation and the film commissions of Mallorca and Menorca, we arranged filming on the islands. With the great actor Hugo Silva, director Ángeles Hernández and their entire team, it was a pleasant experience for everyone. We’re certain that ‘El Faro’ will serve to publicize the great film set that is Mallorca and entice other productions to film on our island,” he added. 

“Faro” is sold globally via Guido Rud’s FilmSharks and distributed in Spain by Alfa Pictures with an expected release date of Jan. 26. On top of the sponsorships and Spanish state funding the project was supported by Argentina’s INCAA, with financing that will extend to Hernández’s next film “The Trail Of The Wolf,” shot partly in Mendoza in February.


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