Kinowelt takes ‘Julia’s Eyes’

Pre-sales surge on key Spanish title

PARIS — In a weighty sales deal, Barcelona’s DeAPlaneta has sold all German-speaking Europe on Guillem Morales’ “Julia’s Eyes,” to StudioCanal’s German distrib op Kinowelt.

In further sales, wrapped up off Cannes, Dark Light Media has closed China, Independenta Film for Romania, Duka Film in Turkey and Film Depot for CIS, excluding the Baltic states.

Produced by Guillermo del Toro, Universal Pictures Intl. and Rodar y Rodar, “Eyes” is building up as one of the biggest — if not the biggest — Spanish releases of second half 2010.

The sophomore pic of Morales (“The Uncertain Guest”), “Eyes” should be ready for presentation at a major fall fest, said Rodar’s Joaquin Padro, who produces with Rodar partner Mar Targarona and Del Toro.

Spain’s Antena 3 Films, Mesfilms and Catalonia’s TV3 also produce.

“Eyes” is also tipped for a standout berth at October’s Sitges fest, Europe’s biggest genre pic fanboy confab.

Starring “Orphanage” lead Belen Rueda, who also toplined Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Sea Inside,” “Eyes” unfolds in a Spanish hamlet, where a young blind woman’s sudden death provokes a local blackout.

Her sister (Rueda), an astronomer, investigates. But her sight is failing as well.

The Kinowelt deal marks a sales campaign watershed for “Eyes,” which will next be seen at the Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings in a 15-minute promo screening on Monday.

UPI has already closed rights to France, Spain and Latin America.

At Berlin, Will Clarke’s StudioCanal-owned Optimum Releasing, another blue-chip distributor, also took the U.K. off the table. With Kinowelt sealing Germany, DeAPlaneta has now pre-sold over half the world’s major territories.

As is his custom, Del Toro is doing far more than lending his name and seal of approval to a project.

Morales and editor Joan Manuel Velasco flew out recently to New Zealand to work on the post-production with Del Toro, who also mentored Juan Antonio Bayona on “The Orphanage.”

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