Spain's first digital 3-D stop-motion pic greenlit

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain — Galician helmer Fernando Cortizo will shoot Spain’s first digital 3-D stop-motion pic, “O Apostolo.”

A mystery drama, and Cortizo’s feature film debut, toon feature “Apostolo” turns on an apparently sleepy Galician village just off the Way of St. James, which lives under a 600-year curse.

The decision to go stereoscopic 3-D was made in part at the request of potential distributors, who are seeing a 3-D boom in and out of Spain, said Cortizo.

It has also been facilitated by the presence on the Galician indie pic’s production team of U.S. animators from “Coraline.”

Matthew Hazelrigg, a “Coraline” gaffer, is now in Galician capital Santiago de Compostela, where he will serve as “Apostolo” cinematographer. Misha Klein, a “Coraline” animator, is animation director.

“Apostolo”‘s lead producer, the Santiago-based Artefacto Producciones, also aims to incorporate “Coraline’s” Tim Taylor for motion control and stereoscoping.

Coming off Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Georgie Everard will head up puppet modeling.

Voice talent includes Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice”) and Geraldine Chaplin (“The Age of Innocence,” “Hable con ella”). The soundtrack will include original compositions by Philip Glass, Xavier Font and Arturo Vaquero.

“Spain has animation talent, but is behind in stop-motion. The idea is for the key foreign technicians to pass on their expertise, which can serve as a good base for the future,” Cortizo said.

Though the producers are still running the maths, the upgrade to 3-D looks set to add around 25% to a Euros2 million ($2.8 million) budget, Hazelrigg added.

Pic is co-produced by Rosalia Mera’s ROSP Coruna.

Going into production in August, the Spanish and Galician-language “Apostolo” is “an Agatha Christie-like suspenser, which drops clues to what’s really happening in the village,” said Cortizo.

Pic will world preem July 25, 2010, as part of the Xacobeo 2010 celebrations of Santiago’s Holy Year.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more