Company nabs U.S. rights to Spanish pic

Magnolia Pictures has taken all U.S. rights to Alex de la Iglesia’s “Sad Trumpet Ballad,” one of Spain’s flagship productions for 2010. Mikado has bought Italian rights and joined “Ballad” as an associate producer; Warner Bros. will distribute in Spain.

Now in post, Spanish-language “Ballad” is produced by Gerardo Herrero and Mariela Besuievsky’s Madrid-based Tornasol Films and sold internationally by Paris’ Films Distribution. France’s Backup Films co-finances and La Fabrique de Films co-produces.

Tragic story moves from early scenes in the Spanish Civil War to 1973 when two clowns fall in love with the same femme trapeze artist at a circus in Spain.

Pic’s budget is high-end for Spain, around E7.0 million ($8.9 million), said Besuievsky.

“Ballad” underscores a new Spanish cinema, especially after recent subsidy regs were enacted in February to boost movies that are auteurist genre blenders, made by ever more mainstream-minded producers, framed as international co-productions, and tax breaks: “Ballad” drew finance from Belgium’s Motion Investment Group.

Magnolia’s pickup has a theatrical commitment, Besuievsky said. Tornasol is aiming for a December commercial release in Spain.

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