'Origin' also pulls down $2 million Catalan grant

BARCELONA — In early Xmas gifts, “Painless,” “Second Origin,” “La maquina del mon” and “Snowflake” have all pulled down super-subsidies, worth about $2 million a movie, from the Catalan government and pubcaster TVC.

The grants position the four movies as the potential crown jewels of Catalan 2011 pic production.

The cash awards are split 50/50 between regional state network TVC and Catalonia’s ICIC Institute of Cultural Industries. The incentives are Spain’s biggest market-driven cash aid aimed at promoting local culture. All features will be shot in Catalan.

Produced by Cromosoma, and helmed by auteur Cesc Gay (“Fiction”), toon feature “Maquina” is inspired by Catalan TV series “The Triplets,” a worldwide sales hit. Also targeting family-tyke demos, live action, 2D/3D mix “Snowflake” chronicles the adventures of Floquet, Barcelona Zoo’s much-loved albino gorilla. Filmax produces; Andres Schaer helms.

Directed by vet auteur Bigas Luna (“Jamon, Jamon,” “My Name Is Juani”), “Origin” is a 3-D post apocalyptic love-story parable.

Catalan genre muscle is seen in “Painless,” a psychological thriller from debutant Juan Carlos Medina, produced by Roxbury Films.

The four pix nabbing the super-subsidies will be among the highest-bracketed features produced next year in Catalonia. “Snowflake” budget is set at $9 million, “Origin” at $13 million.

A second subsidy line for pics not necessarily shot in Catalan will grant around $1.3 million to six features, including Robert De Niro and Sigourney Weaver starrer “Red Lights,” from Versus Ent., “Los Pelayos,” an Alea Docs & Films production, and “Cronica de otro confin,” produced by Luis de la Madrid.

The Santa coin reps Catalonia’s second super-subsidy award round.

The first took in Pau Freixas’ “Heros,” Agusti Villaronga’s “Black Bread,” Daniel Benmayor’s “Bruc” and Kike Maillo’s “Eva.”

Art pic “Bread” has delivered satisfactory B.O. and, like “Heros,” has received upbeat reactions from crix and at local fests. Sci-fi tale “Eva” opens in 2011; on Wednesday, UPI released actioner “Bruc” on a generous 300 print-spread.

Catalonia’s Nov. 28 elections were won by Convergencia I Unio, a nationalist center-right party. According to sources, cinema will form part of the new government’s industry department, rather than, as currently, its culture org.

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