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A big buy at San Seb

Ocean swallows Gallic rights to 'Minimas'

SAN SEBASTIAN — In the first sizable deal to be closed at the San Sebastian Intl. Film Festival, Ocean Films has acquired all French rights to the three-part tale “Historias minimas.” Set in Patagonia, film is directed by Argentina’s Carlos Sorin.

Spanish co-producer Wanda Films, which has taken on worldwide sales duties, is in talks on deals for Italy and Germany and is fielding concrete offers from the U.S., Wanda’s Jose Maria Morales told Daily Variety.

Some sales deals look set to close before Mifed, as could well be the case on two other well-received Spanish-lingo films at the fest, Fernando Leon’s unemployment drama “Mondays in the Sun” and Adolfo Aristarain’s “Common Ground,” turning on an aging couple in contempo Argentina. “Common Ground” co-producer Tornasol, which is handling foreign, is fielding various offers on Aristarain’s competition pic.

In a separate deal unveiled at San Sebastian, producer Tesela has initiated an international sales pact with Madrid-based sales company Kevin Williams Associates, ceding KWA sales rights to San Sebastian player “El traje” and “Noviembre” from best pic Goya winner Achero Manas.

KWA also picked up “La habitacion azul,” co-produced by Mexico’s Argos and Videocine and Tesela’s Spanish owner, Plural.

‘Crime’s’ appeal

Early in the fest, Columbia TriStar confirmed its worldwide pickup of Mexican sinful priest tale “The Crime of Padre Amaro.”

This biz suggests that San Sebastian is taking on a new role. Powered by increasing interest in Spanish-lingo films and the perception that San Sebastian is the place to see them, the fest has acquired the makings of a market.

One sign of this development was the presence of acquisition execs attending for the first time this year, or for the first time in some years. These included Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker, Focus’ Amy Kaufman, Arenas Entertainment’s Santiago Pozo, HBO Enterprises’ Perry Schneider, Lightning Entertainment’s Richard Guardian and Pony Canyon’s Naoko Tsukeda.

New initiative Films in Progress, which saw 10 producers from Spain and Latin America seeking finance on near-finished projects, won high praise from participants. Several producers claimed they were confident of tying down completion coin rapidly after their projects’ rough-cut screenings.

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