French companies listen to project pitches

MADRID — Denis Rovira’s “Worms,” Ivan Sainz Pardo’s “Therapy” and Andoni de Carlos Yaza’s “Una noche cualquiera” are three of the standouts at Paris’ New Spanish Fantasy Film Meeting.

A mouth-watering showcase for debut feature projects from 10 young Spanish genre directors, the Meeting is organized by Espagnolas en Paris, and takes place Friday.

Wild Bunch, StudioCanal, Canal Plus, MK2, Wild Side and Le Pacte feature among companies that will attend to hear the filmmakers pitch their projects, looking for co-prod or sales agent coin.

Deals look likely to be done. In the wake of the success of “The Orphanage” and “REC,” Spanish genre films enjoy buoyant international sales and large cache.

Rovira has been lauded for his eyecatching shorts, “Angel” and “Lazarus Taxon.”

“Worms,” a social-issue survival thriller, is produced by Jordi Rediu and Norbert Llaras’ Zip Films.

Based on a German best-seller, “Therapy” is one of the more mainstream projects at the Meeting, a psycho-thriller from Sainz Pardo who arguably emerged too soon, over 2002-03 with shorts including “El laberinto de Simone.”

Meetings’ projects underscore the wide gamut of current genre production in Spain, said the Meeting’s curator, Javier Martin, a member of Espagnolas en Paris.

Two projects venture into sci-fi. “Aurora,” from Cesar Velasco Broca, whose “Avant petalos grillados” played 2007’s Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, is experimental sci-fi. The outer space-set “Outfinite,” from Javier Chillon, who made Sitges 2008 standout “Die Schneider Kranheit,” pays tribute to sci-fi B movies and blaxploitation pics.

Produced by Out of Box’s Kerry Fulton, “El sol oscuro” is a psychological thriller from Jorge Dorado, who co-directed the first shorts of Luis Berdejo (“The New Daughter”).

Another project, Julien Zenier’s “Taxi Driver”-ish “Child of Rage,” adapts Jim Thompson’s novel. “Presa de los muerto” is a submerged village chiller from one of Spain’s latest breakthrough genre auteurs, Chema Garcia Ibarra, whose “The Attack of the Robots from Nebulosa-5″ won a honorable mention in short filmmaking at Sundance.

The showcase emphasizes the influence on many young Spanish genre helmers of John Carpenter and 1980s horror films in general.

“Noche,” from TV director Carlos Yarza (“Pim Pam Pum”), is a Western-ish child vampire pic, with echoes of Carpenter’s “Village of the Damned.” There’s a good buzz on the screenplay.

Produced by Fernando Victoria de Lecea at Iberrota Films, Jorge Arenillas’ “Living Dead Cowboys” weighs in as a spaghetti zombie western, echoing Carpenter’s “Assault on Precinct 13.”

Inspiration for alien possession schlocker “Transgenia” include Alexandre Aja, Rob Zombie, George A. Romero and — again — John Carpenter, according to its director, Haritz Zubillaga.

The showcase is backed by Spain’s ICEX Foreign Trade Institute, Universcine and the Ile de France Film Commission.

The directors’ shorts can be viewed in France on Universcine’s indie production VOD site. Showcase forms part of Espagnolas’ Different 2! Spanish film season, organized by a group of Paris-based film professionals, including Jose Maria Riba and Alain Coiffier.

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