Portuguese b'caster SIC pacts with Morena

Portuguese broadcaster SIC has made its first major move into international production and overseas investment, taking a 10% stake in top Spanish indie pic and TV production house Morena Films.

The free-to-air net will also co-produce two upcoming Spanish-lingo movies from Morena — Jorge Iglesias and Mauro Entrialgo’s $2.2 million young-generation comedy “Fish People,” and an “After Hours”-style comedy from short-film directors David Blanco and Jose Semprun, “The Best is Yet to Come.”

SIC has also boarded “Only Caballe,” a feature-length docu about Spanish opera diva Montserrat Caballe.

Portuguese acquisitions

Beyond this, SIC has acquired Portuguese rights to Morena’s “One of the Hollywood Ten,” starring Jeff Goldblum and Greta Scacchi, as well as the Fireworks/Morena Films/Telefonica Media action series, “Queen of Swords,” and a 39-episode kids’ TV series, “Big Bad Wolf,” co-produced with Belgium’s Duffelcoat.

Headed by chairman and CEO Francisco Pinto Balsemao, who is a former Portuguese prime minister, and managed by general manager Emidio Rangel, SIC is Portugal’s highest-rating TV net.

But to date its ratings success has come largely from acquisitions, especially Brazilian telenovelas tapped from shareholder TV Globo.

Move toward production

Teaming with Morena Films, run by Juan Gordon and Alvaro Longoria, SIC now moves into inventory-creating production of high-end, internationally skewed film and TV fare.

For the eight-month-old Morena, the SIC accord adds another string to its financial bow. Last month Telefonica Media inked a first-look production and distribution option on Morena’s TV series co-produced with Canada’s Fireworks.

Morena has tapped Pedro Uriol as a producer on a number of its rapidly expanding film projects.

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