Strand secures rights to Catalan helmer's pic

TORONTO — Strand Releasing has bought North American rights to Catalan director Ventura Pons’ “Beloved/Friend,” starring Josep Maria Pou and Rosa Maria Sarda.

The Spanish-lingo drama, an adaptation of the play “Testament,” centers on a group of fragile relationships and shows how easily they can break down when suppressed emotions and desires spring to the surface. It is screening in Toronto in the fest’s New Spanish Cinema section.

“We haven’t had many Spanish-language films, although we’ve been trying for quite some time,” Strand co-prexy Jon Gerrans said. “We’re particularly looking forward to distributing this title, which will hopefully open the door for any other (Spanish-language) titles.”

Josep Maria Benet I Jornet wrote the screenplay, based on his own dramatic work. Pons produced through his Els Films de la Rambla banner.

Pic also stars Mario Gas, David Selvas and Irene Montala. Madrid-based sales agency KWA, headed by veteran sales and distribber Kevin Williams, is handling international sales on the pic and concluded the pact with Strand.

(Vanessa Torres in Los Angeles contributed to this report.)

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