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Spanish Film Screenings off to a flyer

Venevision strikes major TV rights deal with Sogepaq

MADRID — Miami-based Venevision Intl. has acquired U.S. TV rights to 25 movies from Spanish sales and distribution com-pany Sogepaq.

Deal was the most eye-catching to be closed at Madrid’s first Spanish Film Screenings. The three-day mart for Spanish films shuttered June 20 after a flurry of fiestas and international film deals, many in the works from 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 sales companies still cut swathes of sales, with U.S. niche biz and Eastern Europe figuring prominently. 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 multi-prized debut “DarkBlueAlmostBlack,” bought by Budapest Film for Hun-gary.

* In addition, MCF took “7 Virgins” for Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia;

Quality Films bought rights to Alejandro Amenabar’s first pic, “Thesis” for Mexico; Multivision picked up 12 films for Bul-garia, Serbia and Macedonia, led by “The 2 Sides of the Bed;” DMC purchased “Real: the Movie” and “Princesses” for the Czech and Slovak Republics and Hungary.

In further sales, KWA licensed Pedro Almodovar’s sophomore pic, “Labyrinth of Passion” to Nonstop Ent for Sweden.

A Monday round table 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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