Barcelona company takes 20% equity stake

SAN SEBASTIAN — Barcelona-based shingle Zip Films will be a minority co-producer on Henning Carlsen’s big-screen adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short novel “Memoria de mis putas tristes” (Memories of My Melancholy Whores).

Zip takes Spain, Portugal, Israel and Andorra rights on “Memories” against a 20% equity stake in the project, Zip CEO Jordi Rediu said at the San Sebastian Film Festival.

Budgeted at $7 million, pic’s also financed by Mexico’s Memorias del Sabio Production and Mercer Films and Denmark’s Crone Films.

Shooting is set to begin Oct. 26 in Puebla, Mexico. Cast, still not unveiled, will be entirely Spanish-speaking and from all parts pf the Spanish-speaking world, Zip chief finance officer Norbert Llaras added.

The 82-year-old Danish auteur Carlsen (“Hunger”) has teamed with France’s Jean Claude Carriere to pen the screenplay.

Published in 2004, “Memories” turns on El Sabio, a journalist who decides to celebrate his 90th birthday buying the services of a 14-year-old prostitute, with whom he falls in love, for the first time in his life.

Producer credits include Zip’s Rediu and Llaras, Memorias’ Raquel Guajardo, Vicente Aldape and Leonardo Villarreal, and Crone’s Nina Crone.

Mexican producer Ricardo Del Rio (“Kill Bill Vo.2,” “Fast and Furious”) exec produces and also co-directs.

David Castellanos and Manuel Yebra, at Madrid-based Cinema Republic, figure as associate producers. Postproduction will take place at the Cromosoma group’s Digital 360 in Barcelona.

After taking a co-production stake on Al Pacino’s $20 million film project “Betsy and the Emperor,” the bet on “Memories” confirms Zip’s big film ambitions, which have seen it evolve from producing low-budget, indie movies to dealing with established film companies or recognized filmmakers.

“Memories”‘ release date in Europe and Latin America is set for late May, while the U.S. launch is scheduled for November 2010.

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