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Bavaria picks up ‘Obaba’ rights

Pic to world preem September 15

MADRID — Maintaining its strong line in Spanish-language films, Bavaria Film Intl. has picked up worldwide rights outside Spain and German-speaking territories to Montxo Armendariz’s “Obaba.”

A potential crossover arthouse film in Spain this fall, pic will world preem Sept. 15 as the opening film at the 53rd San Sebastian Film Festival. It plays in competition.

With Latin America boasting few homegrown sales shingles, Bavaria has moved into a relatively under-represented territory. “Obaba” reps its highest-profile buy to date of a film from a Spanish director.

Bavaria has conducted sturdy sales business with a string of Spanish-language films, most recently Daniel Burman’s double Berlin Silver Bear winner “Lost Embrace”; Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll’s “Whisky,” which won the Prix Originale Regard and the Fipresci Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes in 2004; and Carlos Sorin’s “Bombon — El Perro,” a breakout title at Toronto and San Sebastian last year.

Starring Pilar Lopez de Ayala (“Mad Love”) and Juan Diego Botto (Armendariz’s own “Broken Silence”), “Obaba” lends a magical realist heft to the gentle rural world of northern Spain that the helmer evoked in “Secrets of the Heart,” which was nominated for a foreign-language Oscar.

Set in a mythical region of Obaba in the northern Spanish countryside, it charts the efforts of a young femme filmmaker to capture the essence of Obaba in a video film.

The film is based on “Obabakoak,” a novel by Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga.

“Obaba” is produced by Spain’s Oria Films and Pandora Film and Neue Impuls Film in Germany.

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