Pic is a potential standout at Sitges co-prod'n meet

SITGES — Zentropa Intl. Spain is teaming with Spain’s Public Frame, Canary Islands-based Muak Canarias and Chile’s Goa Films on “Red Dog,” a sci-fi psychological thriller.

“Dog” will mark the feature deb of David Pantaleon, who is polishing the screenplay with fellow-Spaniards Aitor Guezuraga and Enrique Martinez.

Zentropa joint venture Trust Nordisk will handle international sales.

Feature is based on Pantaleon’s short of the same title, which competes in the Sitges fest’s Brigadoon section this year.

The feature version is budgeted at just Euros800,000 ($1.1 million), a scale that can make it more, not less attractive for buyers.

Despite that, “Dog” spins an ambitious tale, being set in the 23rd century, 200 years after a lethal virus has forced mankind to shelter in Egas, an underwater base on the Atlantic Ocean floor.

Encouraged by tests suggesting the virus has cleared, an exploratory mission travels to the surface. There, however, a member of the expedition disappears. And the others start receiving strange images on their cell phones.

“This is sci-fi, in the style of ‘Moon’ or ‘Let the Right One In,’” said Zentropa Intl. Spain manager David Matamoros.

Skedded to roll fall 2011, and most probably shooting in English, “Dog” will lense in the Canary and Easter Islands and quite possibly Brazil, according to Matamoros.

The Canary Islands’ regional government has put up development coin, he added.

A Brazilian production partner would open the door to Ibermedia co-production funding, Matamoros said.

“Dog” looks like one potential standout at a Brazil-Catalonia-Italy Co-Production Meeting held at the Sitges Festival, which opened yesterday with “Julia’s Eyes.”

The meeting takes place next Thursday.

A score or more of producers — six from Italy, 10 from Catalonia and six from Brazil — will pitch projects.

Among distributors also invited, execs from Brazil’s California Filmes and Imagem Films and Italy’s Bolero, Moviemax and Mikado will also attend.

The Co-Production Meeting is backed by Cinema do Brasil, Catalan Films and TV, and Italy’s Cinecitta Luce-Filmitalia.

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