Spain to nix U.S. pix

Gov't plans to tighten quotas, buoy local films

LANZAROTE, Spain — The government looks set to introduce new pic exhibition measures to curb the deluge of U.S. pics on Spanish screens.

It will shortly approve a ban on dubbed non-European Union films unless they have received theatrical distribution in their country of origin, the director of Spain’s ICAA Spanish film institute, Jose Maria Otero, said at the fourth Lanzarote Spanish Film Screenings on Friday.

The legislation is designed to “limit films that are essentially TV movies from opening in Spain,” Otero told Daily Variety.

Distributors in Spain have often bowed small U.S. pics to hike their value for pay TV sales.

The ICAA is also holding talks with reps of Spain’s production, distribution and exhibition sectors to create a rule that would impede exhibs from taking a Spanish film out of a cinema if that film maintains a certain minimum B.O. gross at the theater.

The limitation on dubbed TV movie openings in Spain should go into effect within the next three to four weeks, said Otero.

The screen quota count for Spanish films that play for more than 17 days at a cinema is also to be doubled. Exhibs now have to screen one day of local films for every three days of non-EU (read U.S.) movies.

The Lanzarote Screenings wrapped Saturday with a record of strong sales, as the number of buyers present increased 50% hike to more than 80 execs and Latin American distribs attended for the first time.

Several sales agents closed pic or package deals, principally with Latin America or Eastern Europe:

  • Filmax Intl. sold Xavier Villaverde’s Freudian suspenser “When the Bell Chimed 13,” “Conan” spoof “The Heart of the Warrior” and psycho drama “Impulsos” to top Mexican indie Gussi, and “13” and “Warrior” to Venezuela’s Cines Unidos and Movie-Movie.

  • Aurum Producciones closed deals for Latin American pay TV rights on fisherman’s tale “Knots” with Lap TV, “It Could Never Get Worse” with Mexico’s Televisa and two pics with Romanian TV.

  • KWA sold “Ibiza Dream” and Mexican pic “Perfume de violetas” to France’s Colifilms and six pics to Romanian TV.

  • Lola Films concluded group-pic deals for Mexico and several Eastern European countries.

Pics currying a generally upbeat response from buyers included Sogepaq’s “Mondays in the Sun” and “Box 507”; Boca-Boca’s “They Watch Us”; Lola’s “Desire”; Uruguayan Oscar candidate “El Ultimo Tren,” co-produced by Tornasol; and “Torremolinos 73,” a kind of comic Spanish “Boogie Nights” from Telespan 2000. The trailer for Sundance possibility “Song for a Raggy Boy” also generated good buzz.

The three-day Screenings are firmly established as Spain’s winter pic showcase.

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