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Col TriStar to bow pic prod’n in Spain

Move expected to be announced Monday

SAN SEBASTIAN — Columbia TriStar looks set to enter movie production in Spain following its incursion into local production in Hong Kong, Brazil and the U.K.

Move, which set industry tongues wagging over the weekend at the San Sebastian Film Festival, will be announced today at the Basque resort by a heavyweight combo of Col execs led by Gareth Wigan, prexy of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

As in its other local operations, Columbia is expected to target local lingo production — in the case of Spain targeted at Spain and Latin America.

Col’s local pic production thrust looks like part of a double whammy. This summer, Columbia TriStar Intl. Television promoted Nathalie Garcia to VP, sales and production, to power CTIT into Spanish TV production.

In separate fest news, the largest film/TV sales rights-broker in the Spanish-speaking world, Grupo Productores Independientes (Grupo Pi), announced it has created its first management team, and established the movie highlights on its first sales slate.

Baking a new Pi

Pi was formed this March by Spanish prodcos Globomedia, BocaBoca Producciones, Cartel and Video Mercury Films.

Backed by Spain’s ICEX export board, Pi handles select international rights on 6,000 pic titles, nearly half of which are Spanish, plus docus, chatshows, toonworks and top-rating Spanish dramas such as “Family Doctor” and “La casa de los lios.”

Former Sogepaq exec Geraldine Gonard has been tapped sales director, reporting to Pi general manager Pepe Huertas. Alvaro Escribano is Pi sales manager and Mercedes Segura its marketing director.

Titles leading Pi’s first sales slate include “You’re The One” from Oscar winner Jose Luis Garci, Hector Oliveira’s “Antigua Vida Mia,” Gerardo Vera’s “El lugar donde estuvo el paraiso,” and Joaquin Oristrell’s “No Shame.”

Pi aims to lever volume deals, sometimes using the international distrib network of Avanzit and Promofilm in Latin America. It also envisages entering local co-productions.

Meanwhile, vet Spanish helmer Carlos Saura, whose latest pic, “Bunuel and King Solomon’s Table,” will close the fest Saturday, is prepping a dance film, “Salome.”

Skedded to shoot in December, pic is Saura’s personal take on the Salome myth and will feature Aida Gomez’s Spanish National Ballet. Saura is scripting the film as former Antonio Gades dancer Gomez works on the choreography. Gomez will star in the film.

“Salome” is the first collaboration between Carlos Saura and son Antonio Saura, who will produce the film at his Madrid-based banner Zebra Producciones.

Antonio Saura describes the film as rather like Carlos Saura’s 1979 hit “Blood Wedding” — “part fiction, part docu, part dance.” Zebra is in talks with an international sales agent.

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