Bumper sales crop

Venevision picks up 25 Spanish pix

MADRID — In what was the most eye-catching deal closed at Madrid’s first Spanish Film Screenings, Miami-based Venevision Intl. acquired U.S. TV rights to 25 movies from Spanish sales and distribution company Sogepaq.

The three-day mart for Spanish films shuttered Tuesday after a flurry of fiestas and international film deals, many in the works since Cannes.

The package picked up by Venevision includes David Serrano’s soccer comedy “Football Days,” Ricardo Franco and Fernando Bauluz’s meller “Black Tears” and Manuel Gomez Pereira’s machismo critique “You Men Are All the Same.” Venevision already held DVD/video rights to many of the films.

The nearly 100 buyers at the event included execs from Miramax, New Line, the Weinstein Co., Magnolia Pictures, TLA Releasing, France’s MK2 and Ocean Films, Euro buyers consortium Indie Circle, Germany’s Kinowelt and Tobis and Italy’s Lucky Red.

The only major carp from buyers was that the screenings lacked big new films to get pulses racing. Neither Guillermo del Toro’s Cannes competish player “Pan’s Labyrinth” nor Agustin Diaz Yanes’ Viggo Mortensen starrer “Alatriste” screened in Madrid.

“It was great to catch up with titles which I’d missed at other markets, but it would have been good to have some bigger premieres, although I understand it’s not easy to prepare new material when the Screenings come right after Cannes,” said Pony Canyon’s L.A. rep, Naoko Tsukeda.

But Spanish sellers were generally gung-ho about the mart. “They have helped us consolidate our relations with buyers and spend quality time with them,” said Dygra Films’ exec producer Tania Pinto Da Cunha.

Further deals finalized by Sogepaq in Madrid included:

  • Colifilms’ purchase of French rights to third-age comedy “Elsa & Fred;

  • first pre-sales on Antonio Banderas’ second film as a director, coming-of-ager “El camino de los Ingleses” (Summer Rain), which went to Cathay for Singapore and Strada for Greece;

  • the first sale on Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s award-winning debut “DarkBlueAlmostBlack,” bought by Budapest Film for Hungary; and

  • MCF taking “7 Virgins” for Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia.

Also, Quality Films bought rights to Alejandro Amenabar’s first pic, “Thesis,” for Mexico; Multivision picked up 12 films for Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia, led by “The Two Sides of the Bed”; and DMC purchased “Real: The Movie” and “Princesses” for the Czech and Slovak republics and Hungary.

KWA licensed Pedro Almodovar’s earlier pic “Labyrinth of Passion” to Nonstop Entertainment for Sweden.

A Monday roundtable on Euro co-production and new media pointed to regional funding in Europe as one rare source of increased coin for an industry increasingly ravaged by online piracy.

Underscoring this, Olivier-Rene Veillon, director general of the Ile de France Film Commission, told Daily Variety that Berlin-Brandenburg would be joining Paris-Ile de France and Rome-Lazio in creating a joint co-production fund.

“The idea is to target bigger-budgeted films costing $12 million or more and involving a minimum of two partners from the cities,” he said.

The three regions already partner in the Capital Regions for Cinema network.

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