'Hora' sold to U.K., Germany, Japan

MADRID — Licensed by Richard S. Guardian’s L.A.-based sales company Lightning Ent., Spanish helmer Elio Quiroga’s “La Hora fria” (The Dark Hour) has alighted in a bevy of major territories, closing Germany (Splendid Films), Japan (Transformer) and the U.K. (Hi-Fliers).

Skedded for Spanish release this September, “Dark Hour,” a lyrical sci-fi zombie pic, has also sold to Brazil and Portugal (MPA), Russia (Luxor), the Philippines (Pioneer) and Turkey (D-Productions).

The sales come as, doubling her bet on young, internationally-skewing Spanish talent, “Dark Hour” associate producer Margaret Nicoll has associated with Goya short winner Jacobo Rispa to produce his first English-language feature, “Tierra extrana.”

Nicoll shares production duties with Rispa and Leslie Calvo’s label, Salvaje Films.

Exploring immigration issues, the action-packed, romantic mystery-thriller turns on a young woman’s odyssey to find out how her truck driver husband ended up in jail, convicted of killing two immigrants.

Set in Tangier, Morocco, and now entering pre-production, “Tierra” is structured as a Euros 2.5 million ($3.3 million) European co-production.

Spain will provide majority finance. Film will feature a multicultural cast.

Rispa’s background as a TV director, helming episodes of top-rating Spanish skein “Hospital Central,” is a plus, Nicoll said.

So is the Internet, she added: Web buzz on “Dark Hour” had powered interest from festivals and companies abroad.

“Films based on internationally viable commercial objectives build more industry in Spain,” Nicoll said.

Quiroga himself has chiller “No Do” in post, which is also associate produced by Nicoll.

Quiroga is hesitating between two projects — “Tesla” and “La Corte…” — to make his English-language debut.

This will be financed from the get-go by international coin, Nicoll told Daily Variety.

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