Plural sets up Argentine arm

Prisa subsid teams with Jempsa

MADRID — Plural Entertainment, the production subsid of Spanish media giant Prisa, is teaming with Argentina’s Jempsa to create a Buenos Aires-based production house, making upscale, high-end movies and TV targeting especially the Spanish-speaking world, including the U.S. Hispanic market.

The still-to-be-named company is a 50/50 joint venture that will produce films in English and Spanish. Company’s top-ranking execs look likely to be Plural CEO Jose Luis Sainz and Jempsa prexy Jorge Estrada Mora.

First pic up is a large-scale English-language production on Latin American freedom fighter Simon Bolivar. Budget should surpass $27 million, Estrada Mora told Daily Variety.

Movie could well tap soft money from not only Spain and Argentina but also Venezuela and Colombia, countries Bolivar liberated from Spanish rule.

But pic will be market-driven by cast and director. One key factor will be U.S. distribution, Estrada Mora said. The partners have yet to attach writer, director and key cast. “We’ve had talks, but it’s too early to give names,” he said.

The Bolivar movie will be ready for delivery in 2010.

Spanish and Latin American production companies are increasingly linking. Spanish mini-major Filmax took minority equity in Pablo Bossi’s new shingle, Pampa Films, last year.

But the Jempsa-Plural joint venture looks like the best-capitalized and most ambitious partnership to date.

Plural produced “A Day Without a Mexican” and Univision TV skein “Al Filo de la Ley.” Jempsa’s production credits include Juan Jose Campanella’s “The Son of the Bride” and “Luna de Avellaneda.”

Estrada produced TV drama “Vientos de Agua” via Argentinean shingle Cien Bares.

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