Spanish-Franco Buying, Producing Group Formed

A potent new film and tv acquisitions and production group called Esicma was unveiled here Feb. 5. The new banner is a joint venture between Spanish and French financial and film interests.

Group is headed by producer Elias Querejeta, and director general is Carlos de Muns, who switched over from Cinepaq, which also is active in the tv stockpiling biz.

Esicma was formed to buy product for the national and international markets and to produce films. A majority 66% of shares are controlled by Spanish partners.

Jean Cazes, one of the majority shareholders, told VARIETY that Esicma expects to spend some $12 million this year picking up Euro and Yank product and in possibly producing films in Spain, availing itself of the usual government subsidies, tv presales and other standard forms of financing.

Esicma’s aims largely parallel those of two other groups in Madrid and one in Barcelona. Cinepaq, a banner run by Jose Vicuna and Alfredo Matas, also is striving to stockpile product for Spain’s burgeoning tv market. Cinepaq, 51% controlled by Canal Plus in France, has some 600 European and Yank titles.

Also joining the fray is the recently created Idea group, managed by Juan Ruiz de Gauna. Idea was set up late last year with some $12 million to purchase packages for tv and to produce some features in Spain.

Main shareholders of Idea are Sogetel (linked to Prisa, the publisher of Spain’s largest daily newspaper, El Pais), which has 51%, and Iberoamericana Films, which has 30%.

Francisco Gratacos’ Luk Internacional banner in Barcelona, a major stockpiling outfit, recently bought 77 features from the Samuel Goldwyn company. Luk has an inside track with George Lucas and Francis Coppola, many of whose big films were sold to Luk.

All of these companies expect to be sending reps to the AFM.

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