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Karma in the ‘Undertow’

Indie distrib closes Spanish rights on film

Madrid-based indie distributor Karma Films has closed all Spanish rights on Sundance audience award winner “Undertow,” Peruvian helmer Javier Fuentes-Leon’s film debut.

With doses of magic realism, drama turns on a love triangle in a small coastal town in Northern Peru.

Pic was produced by Fuentes-Leon’s Los Angeles-based Elcalvo Films and Colombia’s Dynamo.

U.S. company Shoreline Entertainment handles international rights.

“Undertow,” which opens in Spanish theaters July 16, is among a long list of recent Karma acquisitions, underscoring its growing appetite for indie movie distribution, often of fest-winner titles, despite the difficulties of Spain’s market.

Launched in 2003 by journalist and screenwriter Miguel Angel Perez, Karma rapidly positioned itself as a buyer of left-of-field pics and spiritual documentaries, such as Philip Groening’s “Into Great Silence.”

Karma is now trying to expand its market niche, buying bigger-budget titles.

The distrib has just acquired from California-based Lightning Entertainment Mexican helmer Carlos Carrera’s thriller “The Backyard,” Mexico’s entry in Oscars’ foreign-language film race.

Karma has taken from Bavaria Film Intl. Maren Ade’s romance story “Everyone Else,” the 2009 Berlin Grand Jury prizewinner.

From Wild Bunch, Karma bought French director Kim Chapiron’s “Dog Pound,” a drama set in a youth correctional center in Montana. Also from France, Karma inked Frederick Wiseman’s docu “La Danse: The Paris Opera Ballet,” sold by Paris-based Doc & Film Intl.

Another sign of Karma’s growth is its appointment as acquisitions exec of Sarah Calderon, a former head of sales at Paris-based Coproduction Office.

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