Alameda Films hopes ‘Crime’ will pay off

Alameda Films is set to follow up “El Callejon de los Milagros,” the runaway domestic Mexican hit of 1995, with another literary adaptation: “El Crimen del Padre Amaro” (The Crime of Father Amaro), from 19th century Portuguese author Jose Maria Eca de Quieroz.

Felipe Cazals will direct from a screenplay by Vicente Lenero.

His adaptation of “Callejon,” from the novel “Midaq Alley” by Egyptian Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz, garnered a special mention “for exceptional quality in storytelling” at this year’s Berlin Film Fest.

Since Berlin, “Callejon” has been invited to 40 international events, including the Toronto festival.

The pic, starring Salma Hayek (currently opposite Antonio Banderas in “Desperado”) is now in its 17th week at the Mexican B.O., a domestic-feature record surpassed only by “Like Water for Chocolate.”

“El Crimen,” a social realist tale of the trials of a small-town priest, is budgeted at $1.2 million. Alameda CEO Alfredo Ripstein Jr. hopes once again to cast Hayek in a leading role.

The 47-year-old Mexican production house is seeking partial financing from Canada and Spain, with three Spanish producers already interested.

Mexican film institute Imcine is set to sign co-production accords with both countries in September; the Spanish accord should facilitate access to the European market.

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