Spanish firm partners with Gaumont for Jean Reno pic

MADRID — Spanish indie distrib-producer A Contracorriente Films is partnering as a minority co-producer on Gaumont’s gastronomic comedy ”The Chef,” toplining Jean Reno.

Shooting in France, and budgeted at around EUR 12 million ($17 million), project also stars Michael Youn (”Around the World in 80 Days”) and Spaniard Santiago Segura (”Torrente 4”).

Helmed by French actor-director Daniel Cohen, ”Chef” is set in the haute cuisine world, focusing on a French chef who faces off with the owner of a three Michelin star restaurant.

A Contracorriente has also picked up local distribution rights.

”This feature fits exactly into the more mainstream European cinema style that we are looking for as film distributors,” said Adolfo Blanco, A Contracorriente Films founder.

”Chef” marks A Contracorriente’s biggest international co-production bet to date.

Launched in early 2010 as an accessible arthouse distribbery, the Barcelona-based company is consolidating its first movie production slate.

It has teamed with Madrid-based niche distribbery Karma Films to co- produce ”Tres Mil,” a road-comedy lensed across the Spanish Pyrenees.

Helmed and penned by Karma execs Miguel Angel Perez and Javier Asenjo, ”Tres mil” represents Karma’s earliest attempt at scripted feature film production. A Contracorriente distributes in Spain.

It’s also co-producing Juan Carlos Medina’s psychological thriller ”Painless” alongside Spain’s Roxbury Pictures, France’s Les Films d’Antoine and Tobina Films and Portugal’s Fado Filmes.

Co-penned by Medina and Luis Berdejo (”REC”), film shoots from July 17 in largely Catalan locations. Tomas Lemarquis, Alex Brendemuhl and Juan Diego star.

Internationally pre-sold by Paris-based Elle Driver, ”Painless” will be distributed by A Contracorriente in Spain.

”For a Spanish distributor it’s riskier to handle local films than foreign titles, but since Spanish movies form part of our plans for our lineup, we are trying to commit on projects at an early stage to guarantee our access to distribution rights,” Blanco said.

Via Catalan shingle Copia Cero Prods., a 50% joint-venture with Teresa Enrich’s company Europamerica, A Contracorrriente is also entering TV production, partnering on two Eva Peron-related projects, backed by pubcasters TVE and TV3.

Copia Cero is producing Xavier Gassio’s theatrical documentary ”La sombra de Evita” and Agusti Villaronga’s TV mini-series ”Una carta para Evita,” which is now in pre-production. Sharing shoot and post- production synergies, both projects could form part of a back-to-back TV slot.

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