Barcelona company raising capital

SITGES — Jordi Rediu and Norbert Llaras’ Zip Films is readying a new Spanish distribution company and international sales agency, Zip Vision.

Zip, a young film production house based in the Catalan capital Barcelona, is in advanced negotiations with a brace of Spanish capital risk firms for them to back Zip Vision’s launch.

Talks revolve around a multi-million dollar capital increase at Zip Vision, a Zip subsid, Zip partner and producer Jordi Rediu told Variety at the Sitges Film Festival.

Negotiations will be finalized by year end, Rediu said.

According to Rediu, “The new distribution house will handle Zip and third party Spanish films. It will also buy U.S. and European indie titles for domestic distribution in Spain, managing theatrical and DVD distribution.”

Other Catalan and Basque producers are being invited to take minority stakes in Zip Vision, Rediu added.

Zip Vision was created to distribute Jo Sol’s San Sebastian hit “The Taxi Thief” in 2005. Since then, however, it has lain dormant.

The new distrib bows at the toughest time in memory for indie distribution in Spain as online piracy blunts B.O. and homevid returns.

Total admissions in Spain plunged 6.5% year-on-year through September, whammied by illicit P2Ping.

But Zip Vision has several factors in its favor.

Zip itself has a strong line in new directors pics, having produced critically acclaimed titles such as “Thief” and “Jovas.” It is now developing “Mejor vida,” the feature deb of Enrich Folch, who helmed TV movie “Tempus fugit,” an international sales hit.

Spanish producers are desperate for new distribution outlets as incumbent players downsize release slates and refuse to advance P&A on all but the biggest Spanish titles.

Without a theatrical bow, producers cannot receive “advance” project stage state subsidies, nor claim state aid tabbed at 15% of a film’s domestic B.O. performance.

Zip may be given a boost by the Catalan regional government, which is considering raising its support for distribution initiatives that aid regional films.

Catalonia boasts the highest production levels of any region in Europe — it made 71 films last year. But regional film orgs want local films to be seen more in and outside Catalonia.

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