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Monfort and Lazennec eye ‘Ojo’

Duo team on $9.7 mil sci-fi thriller

MADRID — Young Spanish producer Iker Monfort has linked with France’s Lazennec to co-produce the Euros 8 million ($9.7 million) sci-fi thriller “El ojo descarnado.”

Pic will be directed by Chile’s Giordano Gederlini, who debbed in 2002 with the French kung-fu comedy “Samourai.”

“El ojo” reteams Spanish thesps Eduardo Noriega and Fele Martinez, the male leads of Alejandro Amenabar’s first two pics, “Tesis” and “Open Your Eyes.”

Pic’s producers are Iker Monfort and Lazennec’s Jerome Vidal.

“El ojo” follows a Spanish exec who travels to Thailand on business. After one wild night, he discovers that he’s lost one of his eyes. Back in Barcelona, he begins to have strange visions, which suggest the whereabouts of his eye. Spanish-language shoot rolls first half 2006, kicking off at Alicante’s Ciudad de la Luz film studios before moving to Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro and Bang-kok.

The 32-year-old Iker Monfort is one of the most internationally ambitious producers in the Spanish film biz. In this, he’s making a virtue out of a necessity. “It’s highly complicated now to finance purely local Spanish fare, so we attempt to open markets making exportable films,” he told Daily Variety.

Via his shingle Monfort Prods., launched August 2004, Montfort co-produced the $5.5 million rural thriller “The Backwoods,” toplining Gary Oldman, and the romantic actioner “Arritmia,” with Blighty thesps Derek Jacobi and Rupert Evans. Both pics are in post.

Monfort is also co-producing the bittersweet social comedy “Regreso a Saturno,” from new Argentine helmer Hernan Belon, a Cannes film fest Cinefondation alum.

Lensing is skedded for August-September in Buenos Aires.

With “Regreso,” Monfort will try to repeat the results of Carole Bouquet-starrer drama “Nordeste,” the first work of another Cinefondation grant recipient, Argentine helmer Juan Solanas. Monfort majority produced pic. A Cannes 2005 Un Certain Regard screener sold internationally by TF1, pic won best film and best actress (Carole Bouquet and Aymara Rovera) at the Stockholm Intl. Film Festival in November. Pic bows next March in Spain, distributed by Sorolla Films.

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