'Gaudi,' 'Girl From Rio' see applause

LANZAROTE, Canary Islands — Spain’s only customized international mart for local films, the Spanish Film Screenings for Europe, pointed squarely to the main bane of local filmmaking this year: the lack of big new films to drive local B.O. and international dealmaking.

Held on the volcanic Atlantic isle of Lanzarote, screenings ran Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. The second and improved edition of the Screenings saw applause for Susan Seidelman’s “Gaudi Afternoon” and Chris Monger’s “Girl From Rio,” both Lolafilms productions. But the two pics had already drawn ample audiences at the London Screenings and Mifed.

Per many distribs, standouts among newer or lesser-known pics included magic-realist fable “Compassionate Sex” (now selected for Sundance), neighbors-from-hell farce “Common Wealth,” quirky teen drama “Krampack,” contempo relationship tale “Friends Have Reasons” and romantic old-flame dramedy “What You Never Knew.”

The Screenings attracted all Spain’s top sales companies and 48 buyers from Europe, Asia and the U.S., including execs from Kirch Media, Flach Pyramide Intl., Miramax Intl., Samuel Goldwyn Films, Helkon Media, Israel’s Noah Communications and Warner Bros.

The Spanish pic mini-mart proved far more focused than in 1999, being centralized around four DVD projection rooms at a local hotel.

Most sellers used the Screenings for networking. But they also produced a modicum of business news.

TF1 Intl. picked up international outside co-producers’ territories on the Penelope Cruz starrer “No News From God,” the second film from Spaniard Agustin Diaz Yanes.

Co-starring Victoria Abril, Fanny Ardant and Bruno Bichir, pic turns on two femme angels fighting for a boxer’s soul. A U.S. male lead will be cast shortly.

“God” is co-produced by Tornasol, Flamenco and Cartel in Spain, France’s DMVB, Germany’s Road Movies, Italy’s Eyes Screen and Mexico’s Altavista.

KWA’s Kevin Williams announced the U.S. sale of comedy “San Bernardo” to HBO and closed four pics, including “Bernardo,” with pubcaster Romanian Television.

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