Company to focus on digital 3-D exhibition

MADRID — Spanish movie and music vet Rafael Alvero is launching The Fifth Wall, a pioneering production label specializing in live arts and music content for digital 3-D exhibition in and outside Spain.

The company aims to record eight flamenco shows for distribution to 3-D screens in 2010, Alvero said.

For next year, it also plans feature-length, digital 3-D productions of three World Music events — principally tango shows — and three zarzuelas, flamboyant Spanish light-operas.

Wall will present a digital 3-D pilot, “Flamenco on Screen,” at September’s San Sebastian Film Festival.

“Flamenco” will include excerpts from the new show by Amador Rojas, flamenco’s new young star, to be recorded July 29 at Madrid’s Alcazar Theater.

It will also feature a performance by Mercedes Ruiz, plus parts of “The House of Bernardo Alba,” the flamenco dance adaptation produced by and toplining Antonio Canales, Spain’s best-known flamenco dancer.

Alvero doesn’t rule out live broadcast of key music events. Most recordings will, however, be put through a few days post-production before exhibition, Alvero said.

Financing for productions would forseeably mix Fifth Wall investment, government subsidies and sponsorship from institutions.

Wall will be majority-owned by Atticus Ent., Alvero’s label that produced 2008 musical, “The Diary of Anne Frank: A Song to Life.”

Alvero is in talks with private investors, both companies and individuals, many from Spain’s film and cultural industries. He aims to raise an initial Euros5 million ($7 million) in capital for Wall.

Potential backers include Yelmo, one of Spain’s biggest exhibitors, which has presented a letter of intention to invest, Alvero said.

The Fifth Wall draws together many of the strands in Alvero’s career.

He worked as a record producer at CBS in Spain in the 80s and was named director general of PolyGram Iberica’s Film and TV division in Spain in 1996 and director general of Universal Pictures Spain in 1999. He headed up Spain’s Fece Federation of Cinemas in Spain, its exhibitors’ assn., from 2004 to 2008.

Wall’s launch comes as 3-D movies are enjoyable notable B.O. traction in Spain: “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” grossed a first 11-day $18.8 million from conventional and 3-D screens through Sunday.

Spain’s most spectacular live 3-D transmission to date, co-organized by Orange, was the final of French tennis tournament Roland Garros, which played to a capacity crowd at a Kinepolis 200-seat screen.

“Alternative content” 3-D exhibition is “definitely a strategic interest. We’re committed to it, and it will grow,” said Manu Claessens, general manager, Kinepolis Spain.

Live arts and music screenings will allow Kinepolis to reach niche auds, Claessens added, stressing that one key is for potential auds to be aware of upcoming special-event 3-D screenings,

Alvero said he planned his 14 3-D productions for 2010 as a structured season, affording some regularity in exhibition.

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