Film stars Mexican thesp Eduardo Verastegui

MADRID — New Spanish distrib-producer European Dreams Factory has taken key European territory rights to Alejandro Monteverde’s “Bella.”

Pic turns on a Jose, a former soccer star (played by Mexican thesp Eduardo Verastegui) and Nina (Tammy Blanchard), a pregnant woman trapped in a bad marriage, who open up to each other during a day spent wandering through New York City.

Produced by U.S.-based Metanoia Films — whose owners include Monteverde, Verastegui, and Sean and Eustace Wolfington — “Bella” won the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.

The deal, inked with California-based sales agent Inferno Ent., allows EDF to negotiate “Bella” rights with local distribs in France, Germany and the U.K. French- and German-speaking Europe, Scandinavia outside Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Greece and Turkey are also included in the deal.

Alejandro Bana, EDF managing director and partner, told Variety that EDF will oversee the marketing and distribution strategies in all territories.

Pic’s launch on Nov. 7 in Spain marked EDF’s Spanish debut. It saw strong B.O. for an indie pic, garnering Euros 1.77 million ($2.32 million) after 10 weeks, and still counting.

EDF aims to employ the same marketing strategy it used in Spain in Europe, targeting Catholic and anti-abortion associations, and seeking support from the Catholic Church.

Company’s shareholders include exhibitors Filomeno Martinez de Aspe and Juan Chiclana, who are also partners with Antonio Banderas in the Spanish exhibition circuit Arte Siete.

With offices in Madrid and Seville, EDF aims to distribute three to four pics a year, but the company will keep its operations as lean as possible.

“In these difficult times for Spanish distribution, to survive you must scythe overheads and P&A costs,” Bana said.

Another strategy it has adopted is to invest in international co-productions. It has teamed with Argentine studio Manos Digitales to co-produce Daniel De Felippo’s toonpic “Plumiferos,” taking Spanish and some Italian rights.

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