Boca eyes European partnership

Co. brings strong entry into Spanish TV, film prod'n

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands — One of Spain’s biggest indie production houses, Cesar Benitez’s Boca Group, is in talks to partner with several European communications groups.

The negotiations turn on a foreign partner taking a stake in film and TV producer Boca.

British-based TV giant Pearson TV is among those in the frame. Pearson TV execs were not available for comment.

Having received several approaches from wannabe international partners, Benitez aims to close an equity deal in Boca late 2000 or early 2001.

“We are studying various offers. We’ll chose the partner which meshes best with our growth strategy, although we don’t rule out continuing completely independent,” Benitez adds.

Proven player

For a foreign partner, Boca affords a strong entry into Spanish TV and film production just as the launch of multiple DTT channels and cable outlets is set to hike significantly the demand for proven producers of domestic TV and movies.

Boca has long track record producing series, gameshows and pics for broadcasters, most particularly Tele 5. It is currently producing additional episodes of hit afternoon teen soap “Leaving School” and primetime cop series “The Commissioner,” both for Tele 5, and top-rated gameshow “Pasapalabra” for Antena 3.

Scaling up

But now, says Benitez, bigger is better for Boca.

“Spanish film and TV will soon be dominated by five or six big players accounting for 90% of production,” he observes. “Either you’re one of them or you could have problems.”

Benitez’s international partnership talks come as top TV producer Cartel has fused with post-production house Telson under the umbrella of high-tech and media conglom Radiotronica. Part of Telefonica Media, Dutch TV giant Endemol owns both Gestmusic Endemol and Zeppelin, two top TV producers in Spain.

Boca is currently prepping a pic production slate whose pics are aimed at either teen cinemagoers or wider TV audiences. Upcoming projects, all in pre-production, are:

  • “Nos miran,” a psychological chiller by first-timer Norberto Lopez Amado, from a screenplay by Jorge Guerricaecheverria (“The Day of the Beast”).

  • A feature spinoff from “Leaving School,” slated to bow in summer 2001.

  • “Perfect,” from Felix Sabroso and Dunia Ayaso, who debuted strongly with “Sorry Darling, But Lucas Loved Me.”

  • “Una mentira de pareja” from Nacho Machado, and comedy “Divorciadas” by Pepa Sanchez Viezma, both new directors.

Boca’s Internet arm, Boca Interactiva, is shooting its first net project, a 13-episode, four-minute comedy “Wanted: A Corpse.”

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