Daniel Sánchez Arévalo is returning to feature films for the first time in five years, and he’s doing so at Netflix.
Having won 90 international awards and 30 Goya nominations so far, the filmmaker is stepping back behind the camera for Diecisiete. After the award-winning DarkBlueAlmostBlack, Cousinhood, Fat People and Family United, his return follows a period away from cinema, during which he successfully debuted his first novel, Alice’s Island (soon to be released in the United States).
The film marks the fourth Spanish original film for the streaming giant and is produced by Jose Antonio Felez’s Atipica Films. The movie stars Nacho Sanchez (the youngest actor to receive the most prestigious stage award in Spain – Premio Max) in the role of Ismael, and Biel Montoro as Hector. Hector (17) has been in a youth detention center for two years. With social and communication difficulties, he barely interacts with anyone or anything until he is encouraged to participate in a reintegration therapy with an animal rescue center and finds a dog as shy and elusive as him.
Throughout the twice-a-week sessions, Héctor and his dog Oveja develop a very strong bond. Until one day, a few months later, Oveja doesn’t show up. Oveja has finally found a new home but Hector, far from rejoicing, is unable to accept this circumstance and even though he has less than two months to complete his internment, he decides to run away to find his dog.
The detention centre contacts his brother Ismael (26), his legal guardian, who finds Hector hiding in the assisted living facility where his grandmother Cuca lives. He tries to drag him back to the center, but Hector refuses: nothing is going to stop him until he finds his dog. Ismael is forced to accompany him in this quixotic odyssey, to make sure he does not get into trouble, because Hector is two days from turning 18 and from then on, any crime he commits will not send him back to the reformatory, but straight to jail.
Daniel Sánchez Arévalo says: “I decided that the best way to move forward was by taking a step back. I discovered my need to go back to the beginning, to the point of departure, but with the experience and baggage gathered along the way. Back to the little things, which are the ones that interest me. Those small but great everyday stories. And that is when I realized that I felt a very intimate connection with this story of abandoned dogs lacking an emotional leg with an imperative need to have a home… to find their place in the world.”
Diecisiete will be released globally on Netflix in 2019. Production is now underway on location in Cantabria.