"Pitahaya", a story about learning to be brave, shot at Mercabarna

"Pitahaya" is the first short film from the film, theatre and television writer and director Albert Espinosa. A human story, full of emotion, it takes place in the streets and facilities of Mercabarna and will undoubtedly lead to many people finding out about this food polygon.

It is not the first time that Mercabarna has turned into a film set. The enclosure has seen the shooting of scenes from films such as "Angustia" by Bigas Luna, "Tapas" by José Corbacho and Juan Cruz, "Animales Domésticos" by Xavi Giménez and, most recently, "The Pelayos" by Eduard Cortés.

However, in "Pitahaya" Mercabarna is much more than a simple backdrop. It is another actor in the short film. It is a space that helps to convey the emotions and thoughts of the main characters. "When I first went to Mercabarna I fell in love with it and I knew that it had to be the setting for the story that had been in my head for three years," explained Albert Espinosa. 

The story is about a 10 year old child, played by the young actor Rubén Sánchez, who during a school trip to Mercabarna has an experience that makes him escape and hide from everyone. Lost in the enclosure, he meets the other star of the film, a business man from the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market, played by Francisco Garrido. From there, they establish a special relationship where they reflect on fear and the need to be brave in the face of various life problems (love, growing up, family, etc.). 

In just over 14 minutes, the short film takes us into different facilities in the enclosure, the Central Fruit and Vegetable Market, the Fish Market, the Slaughterhouse, the nursery, etc. However, above all it provides an overview of an area that is key to Barcelona but for many viewers still a complete unknown. "This film is an opportunity to raise awareness about this 'city' of Mercabarna, so full of activity and life. It is also a tribute to the more than 700 companies and almost 7,000 employees who with their daily work feed Barcelona, Catalonia and other parts of Spain and the world" said the Deputy Mayor of Barcelona and President of Mercabarna, Sònia Recasens.

A film première
The long awaited première of "Pitahaya" took place on 21st October at the Cultural Centre el Born. The official première, hosted by the journalist Xavi Coral, brought together more than 250 people, including representatives of Barcelona City Council and Mercabarna, board members of the business associations at the Food Unit, the cast and crew of the short film and people from the world of cinema. 

After the screening, the president of the Fruit and Vegetable Wholesalers' Association (AGEM), Casimir Llorens, declared that this film production would help give more visibility to Mercabarna. In the same vein, Leandre Serra, president of the Fish Wholesalers’ Association (GMP), stated that the film made clear the importance of Mercabarna for the city and its surroundings. The president of Assocome, Joan Llonch, stated that "it is a good initiative, although we know that in 14 minutes it is hard to show what Mercabarna is". 

The next day it was time to show "Pitahaya" to the employers and employees at Mercabarna who were invited to the exclusive première of the short film in Aribau cinemas and it was watched by about 600 people. The release to the general public was on 23rd October on 8TV, with the short film being broadcast in the prime time slot, and it was watched by 271,000 viewers. 

Since the 24th, this production by Albert Espinosa has been available to be watched on the website www.pitahaya.cat. Watching it also means doing your bit for charity, since for every ten times that the short film is watched, Mercabarna will give 1kg of fresh produce to the Food Bank.

Pitahaya, nominated for the Oscars
Not even Albert Espinosa himself expected this, as he made clear in the different interviews he did during the week of the première of his film. For him it was a complete surprise and great news that "Pitahaya" was named best short film at the Urban World Film Festival in New York. 

This development, in addition to bringing great prestige, has meant that this short film, shot at Mercabarna, is one of the 46 productions nominated for the Oscars. This is great recognition but it can still go further if, at the end of January, "Pitahaya" is chosen as one of the five productions that will compete for the prized statue awarded by the Hollywood Academy. 

The short film, which over recent months has been shown at different national and international film festivals, has also received another award, in this case at the L'Alfas del Pi Film Festival (Alicante), where it won the award for best Cinematography.

Follow "Pitahaya" at www.pitahaya.cat.

Visit Pitahaya's photo gallery - Mercabarna's Flickr