Tornasol pacts with Alicante studio

At least 16 pics to shoot at Ciudad de la Luz

MADRID — Prolific Spanish production house Tornasol Films will shoot at least 16 feature films at Alicante’s Ciudad de La Luz mega- studios through 2011, spending Euros 18 million-Euros 30 million ($26.4 million-$43.9 million) a year at the complex or in the surrounding Valencia region.

Tornasol has created Castafiore, a Valencia-based film production company, to develop its film projects in the region.

Tornasol’s ambitious pic production plan has been announced by Tornasol partner Gerardo Herrero after inking a deal with the Valencia regional government and the Ciudad de la Luz studios.

In 2008, Tornasol will lense five pics at the Ciudad de la Luz studios and on location across the Valencia region.

Deal kicks in January with Daniela Fejerman’s comedy “Siete minutos.”

This will be followed later next year by Spanish-French co-production “Muchachas,” helmed by French director Philippe Le Guay, Salvador Garcia Ruiz’s erotic drama “Castillos de carton,” “Nacidas para sufrir,” the next project from Spanish helmer Miguel Albaladejo (“Bear Cub”), and Maria Ripoll’s “Laura y Julio,” a drama based on the novel of the same title by Spanish writer Juan Jose Millas.

“The deal will allow us to work like a studio, laying down shoot dates according to longterm plans. We’re aiming in the midterm to also raise the ante on budgets,” Herrero told Daily Variety.

Alicante’s regional authorities offer a 12%-18% rebate on local spend. Students at Ciudad de la Luz’s film school will collaborate on Tornasol shoots.

Headed by helmer-producer Herrero, Tornasol is one of Spain’s best internationally connected companies. Recent credits include Alex de la Iglesia’s $14.1 million serial-killer drama “The Oxford Murders,” toplining Elijah Wood, John Hurt and Leonor Watling, which bows January in Spain.

Bankrolled by Valencia’s regional government and designed by Gary Bastien, Ciudad de la Luz film and TV studios have hosted shoots worth $311 million in their first two years of operation, including big European co-productions such as the $117 million “Asterix at the Olympic Games,” Jean-Jacques Annaud’s $53 million comedy “His Majesty Minor” and Donald Petrie’s romantic comedy “My Life in Ruins,” toplining Nia Vardalos, the first U.S. shoot at the studios.

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