Sam Shepard starrer competes at Tribeca

MADRID — Alta Films, Spain’s top arthouse distrib-exhibitor, has taken theatrical distribution rights to helmer-writer Mateo Gil’s Western “Blackthorn,” a reprise of the Butch Cassidy legend toplined by Sam Shepard.

“Blackthorn” will bow in Spain July 1, in what looks like one of Alta’s most ambitious Spanish releases for 2011.

Eduardo Noriega (“Vantage Point”), Stephen Rea (“V for Vendetta”) and Magaly Solier (“The Milk of Sorrow”) co-star.

Shepard plays an incognito Cassidy, living peacefully in Bolivia 20 years after he was supposedly gunned-down by the police. He plans to return to the U.S., but a Spanish cowboy (Noriega) forces him into one last adventure.

Pic marks the English-language directorial debut of Spain’s Mateo Gil, Alejandro Amenabar’s habitual co-scribe.

Budgeted at Euros5 million ($7.2 million), “Blackthorn” is produced by Andres Santana at shingle Ariane Mararia and Arcadia Motion Pictures’ Ibon Cormenzana.

About 25% of the budget has been financed with Spanish tax-break coin via tax break vehicle Manto Films AIE.

French producer Jerome Vidal’s Noodle Prod. co-produced and inked France’s distribution rights with distribbery Bac Films.

London-based sales and acquisition agency Quickfire Films also co-financed.

Madrid-based 6 Sales handles international rights.

“Blackthorn” competes in the World Narrative section at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs April 20-May 1.

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