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Banderas opens up U.S. ‘Cafe’

Actor to produce American version of comedy

Antonio Banderas will exec produce a U.S. version of “Camera Cafe,” the hit French short comedy format.

David E. Saltzman will helm the first season of 35 3½ minute episodes about life in an office as seen from the point of view of a camera hidden in the coffee machine.

Banderas will make a cameo appearance in the pilot as a delivery guy.

Series will start shooting this month to air on Web platform Mio.TV. Execs hope to package it for TV for a second run.

“Banderas knows the show from Spain, and we’re very excited to have him as our ambassador,” said Nicolas Coppermann, managing director of Robin & Co., parent company of Paris-based Calt Distribution, which created “Camera Cafe.”

Mio.TV, run by Manuel Garcia-Duran, former manager at Spain’s Telefonica Media, financed the first 20 episodes and is negotiating with coffee brands to finance the following episodes. Mio.TV offers free, advertising-supported content for the bilingual Latino community in the U.S.

Calt has sold localized versions of “Camera Cafe,” a pun on the French term camera cachee, which means hidden camera, to 55 territories including China. Other sales inked at the Mip TV market in Cannes included those to Lebanon’s MTV and Romania’s MVM.

Each version of “Camera Cafe” runs on various platforms, including terrestrial webs, at lengths ranging from a few minutes to a full half-hour. A Gallic movie spinoff, “Espace detente,” was released in 2005.

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