'Patio' kicks off alliance

Warner Bros. Ent. Espana and Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo have inked a joint development and co-production pact for films in Spain, adding to their distribution relationship.

Warner will handle Spanish theatrical and DVD rights on completed pics.

The two-year, renewable alliance kicks off with femme prison drama “El patio de mi carcel,” directed by first-timer Belen Macias. Pathe is handling international sales.

The e3 million ($4 million) pic will be produced by El Deseo’s Agustin Almodovar and Esther Garcia plus WB VP of European productions Simona Benzakein.

Toplining Candela Pena (“Princesses”), Veronica Echegui (“My Name Is Juani”) and Ana Wagener (“Darkbluealmostblack”), “El patio” tells the story of a petty thief and her pals who attempt to adapt to life outside jail.

“Patio” rolls Monday for an eight-week shoot in Madrid and at a jail in Guadalajara.

The El Deseo pact underscores WB’s interest in tapping local production talent. Earlier this year, it signed a distribution deal with Barcelona-based giant Mediapro.

Mediapro co-produced Woody Allen’s Barcelona summer 2007 project, and is also backing future projects by Spanish helmers Fernando Leon and Isabel Coixet.

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