Exec ends 13 years at the company

One of Spain’s best-known sales agents, Vicente Canales, is ankling as head of Filmax’s international division.

He will be replaced by Ivan Diaz, an international sales exec at Filmax over the last 10 years. Eva Gutierrez and Irene Airoldi will become international sales executives.

Canales’ departure ends 13 years of service at Filmax, Julio Fernandez’s Barcelona-based production, distribution and sales combo.

Canales joined Filmax Intl., Filmax’s overseas sales arm, with its 1999 launch, heading up international sales from 2005.

Filmax Intl. was a key part of the success of Filmax’s Fantastic Factory, which kick-started Catalonia’s modern genre production boom, rolling off foreign sales to finance productions.

Canales declined to comment on his future.

As one of Europe’s most prominent genre sales specialists, however, there will be inevitable speculation that he will now create his own international sales shingle.

His exit follows Filmax’s filing with a Barcelona court in March to seek protection from creditors. In sales terms, however, Filmax Intl. has rarely performed better than in 2010, posting stellar returns — by Spanish-language film standards — on “Agnosia,” “Kidnapped,” “REC Genesis” and “REC Apocalypse.” “Agnosia” alone ran up a reported $1.5 million in international licensing pacts.

Under Canales, Filmax Intl. has driven into third-party pickups of non-Filmax productions, constructing project-by-project alliances with some of Spain’s most powerful production operations.

Four films on its 2010 sales slate — “For the Good of Others,” “Agnosia,” “Verbo” and “Spanish Movie” — were co-produced by Telecinco Cinema; “Kidnapped” was tapped from “Cell 211″ producers Vaca Films.

Canales and Diaz even managed to place “Spanish Movie,” a seemingly local spoof of Spanish films, in more than 30 territories.

“I am very grateful to Julio and Carlos Fernandez for the great opportunity they have given me all these years and for the confidence they have always shown in me,” Canales said in a letter to distributors.

“Ivan Diaz has an impeccable history at Filmax and it is always a pleasure for us to see people like him coming up through the ranks,” said Filmax CEO Carlos Fernandez.

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