BocaBoca feeds pipeline

Spanish house beefs up slate with new coin

MADRID — In a sign of a renewed confidence in local film financing possibilities, at least among Spain’s strongest production comapanies, film and TV production house BocaBoca has unveiled its 2003-’04 pic production slate, which marks a significant rise in its production levels.

Some producers have pulled back from production or slashed budgets as pay TV operators Sogecable and Via Digital slowed pre-buys while pushing through their digital platform merger.

One of Boca’s projects, romantic comedy “Cosas que hacen que la vida valga la pena” (Things That Make Life Worth Living), has nabbed coin from both Sogecable premium service Canal Plus Espana and pubcaster TVE.

With the Sogecable-Via Digital digital merger formally finalised Wednesday, producers are sensing that Canal Plus will begin upping its pre-buys of local pics for Sogecable, although its acquisitions will never return to the levels of the previously competing Sogecable and Via Digital.

Another reason for BocaBoca’s renewed film ambitions, said prexy Cesar Benitez, “is that we’ve got the talent: recognised directors, great screenplays and name actors, and that combination will interest

broadcasters.”

The new slate confirms BocaBoca’s re-teaming with helmer Manuel Gomez Pereira, who directed the company’s biggest B.O. hits in the ‘90s, including “Boca a Boca” (Mouth to Mouth), which grossed 2.3 million

euros ($2.7 million) in Spain and was distributed by Miramax in the U.S.

Gomez Pereira will first helm “Things,” toplining Ana Belen and Eduard Fernandez, before moving into pre-production in early 2004 on Boca’s biggest upcoming pic, the $12 million “El hijo enamorado,” which will shoot in Tunis and is being co-produced by the U.K.’s Film and Music Entertainment (FAME) and Germany’s Daniel Zuta Film Produktion. Pic is a coming-of-age tale with a slight difference in that it features a young Jesus (Juan Diego Botto), who accompanies his cousin (Pilar Lopez de Ayala, “Mad Love”) to her arranged wedding in Jerusalem.

Boca’s new slate also includes second pics from successful first-time helmers Norberto Lopez Amado (“Nos Miran”), who will direct an as-yet-untitled chiller; and Ines Paris and Daniela Fejerman’s “Semen (Una historia de amor),” which is billed as a magical comedy about paternity and maternity. Paris and Fejerman’s Sapphic comedy “My Mother Likes Women” posted an upbeat $2.3 million at the Spanish B.O. last year.

Boca will also co-produce Argentine helmer Jose Totti Glusman’s urban comedy “Solos,” while Boca’s director of contents Xabi Puerta is prepping a screenplay on Spanish boxer Morrosko Urtain.

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