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Sony Euro prod’n under de Macedo

Exec gets senior veep stripes

Iona de Macedo has been promoted to senior VP of European production for Sony Pictures Entertainment and will oversee the studio’s newly re-arranged European production operations. De Macedo was formerly president of Columbia’s production unit in Spain.

Rather than having separate units in countries such as Spain and Germany to develop and oversee local-language co-productions, Sony has widened its focus to include all of continental Europe under one banner, with de Macedo heading the operation out of Madrid.

Sony’s U.K. entity will remain separate.

The first films to be released under this new Euro structure will be “Melissa P.,” an Italian co-production, and “Un ticket pour l’espace” (A Ticket to Space), the first film released under Sony’s pact with Gallic distrib Gaumont.

In Europe, Sony has standalone local production units in Spain, the U.K. and France. (The studio’s office in Germany closed a few years ago). Since the restructuring, however, films from other European territories, such as Italy’s “Melissa P.,” are possible.

De Macedo will work closely with Sony Pictures Intl.’s European general managers to oversee the company’s efforts to acquire and produce films for local markets, as well as for possible international distribution.

She recently oversaw Col’s Spanish local-lingo pic “Di Que Si” (Just Say Yes), starring Paz Vega (“Spanglish”). Pic was developed and produced by de Macedo in conjunction with local Spanish production company Zebra Producciones.

De Macedo will next coordinate the releases of “Melissa P.” and “Un ticket pour l’espace.”

“Melissa P.” is the film adaptation of the international bestselling novel “100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed,” by Italian author Melissa Panarello. Book sold a million copies in Italy and 1.5 million outside of Italy. Production begins March 7; pic will be released via Sony Pictures Releasing Italia.

De Macedo will work in conjunction with Eric Brune, general manager of Gaumont/Sony Pictures Releasing France, on “Un ticket pour l’espace.” The film, which French production company LGM is co-producing, is directed by Eric Lartigau and stars the French comedy duo Kad Merad and Olivier Barroux.

The film follows the escapades of two ordinary citizens who win a lottery to join a crew of astronauts on a voyage to the French space station. Principal photography began Jan. 13.

Candice Zaccagnino, who manages production in France, will join the European production team as VP of production and work with de Macedo on this and future French projects.

Prior to heading Spain’s production group, de Macedo served as VP of production for Columbia TriStar Intl. Television in Latin America, where she was responsible for TV production in the region, as well as for feature-film production in Brazil. Movies produced under her supervision include “Castelo Ra-tim-Bum,” “A Partilha” and “Carandiru.”

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