Re-booted Valencia fest attracts large crowds

TV miniseries “Alakrana” and features “Stone” and “Jerry Cotton” proved standouts over the first three days of the rebooted Valencia Mostra fest.

Formerly showcasing pics from the Mediterranean, Valencia’s new mix of action movies and TV fiction attracted a large turnout from press and auds, auguring a promising future for the fest, now in its 31st year.

Prison-drama “Stone,” starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton, kicked off the Mostra on Friday with director John Curran present for its European preem.

The world preem of “Alakrana,” a two-part action miniseries about a Spanish fishing boat captured by Somali pirates, played to an SRO crowd and standing applause Saturday night. It’s produced by Zentropa Intl. Spain for broadcaster Telecinco,

With “The Pacific” and “Spartacus” repping two of Europe’s highest-profile TV programs this year, the presence of TV series at Valencia has helped draw media coverage by playing to current market strengths.

“TV fiction miniseries are among the most exciting programs for audiences,” Telecinco Cinema producer Alvaro Augustin said in Valencia. “They are profitable and form a large part of what broadcasters are investing in these days.”

Lead-produced by Constantin subsid Rat Pack, “Jerry Cotton,” sold by Germany’s Beta Cinema, was Sunday’s breakout. Adapting popular German ’60s pulp fiction novels, the over-the-top action and comicbook villains played to upbeat response, riffing off a classic scenario of two wildly different detective partners.

Budgeted at e1.8 million ($2.5 million), fest’s first-four-day attendance has surpassed total spectators for entire past editions, said Mostra director Salomon Castiel. “We’ve given the festival a stronger focal point, and its specialization marks it apart from other events,” he said.

The fest closes Oct. 31. In a crowded fall calendar, next year’s event will move from its traditional mid-October berth to spring.

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