Madrid de Cine confirms uptick in sales

MADRID — Vicente Canales’ Film Factory has licensed “Primos” (Cousinhood) to Japan’s Only Hearts.

A mordant social comedy directed by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, “Cousinhood” grossed Euros3.5 million ($5 million) from a Warner Bros. release in Spain this February.

Only Hearts is studying a theatrical release for “Cousinhood,” Canales said Tuesday.

Germany, Hungary and a pan-Latin America pay TV deal are now in advanced negotiations on “Cousinhood,” he added.

“Cousinhood’s” Japan sale was one of the major territory deals to go down at the 6th Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings, Spain’s annual national film mini-mart, which wrapped Tuesday.

The Screenings confirmed in both mood and biz announcements and prospects the notable uptick in trading seen almost across the board at last month’s Cannes festival.

That biz boost comes, however, after a decade-long slump in prices paid on all but exception art pic fare, so sales agents were not popping open the cava at Madrid de Cine, and some titles are still tough to shift.

But most major Spanish sales agents — 6 Sales, DeAPlaneta, Imagina, Latido, Film Factory and Vertice Sales — reported major territory sales on top product off Cannes in the run-up to Madrid de Cine.

Citing other reasons for a sober optimism, Spanish sales agents claimed that VOD is finally emerging in countries outside the U.S. as a window to take seriously.

“Upscale Spanish genre pics still exercise a large appeal with foreign buyers,” Vertice Sales’ Gonzalo Sagardia said.

Also, with TV sales at home and abroad making or breaking Spanish production greenlights and foreign distribution deals, Madrid de Cine confirmed Spanish sales agents’ push into wider audience films with foreign TV primetime playability.

Three such pics were “Forever Young,” which 6 Sales picked up just before the mini-mart, and “Red Eagle, The Movie” and “Don’t Call it Love…Call It XXX,” which both received world market preems in Madrid.

With solid-enough DVD biz for art-house and mainstream fare alike and product-avid distributors, Germany is fast emerging as a prime foreign market for Spanish sellers.

As for the rest of the world, biz in Madrid suggested there is a solid appetite among distributors for stronger product:

* Miami-based Venevision Intl. has acquired U.S. DVD, pay TV and video-on-demand rights to an Imagina Intl. Sales four-pic package, led by “Santos” and “After,” plus DeAPlaneta’s “Hector and Bruno” and “Mami Blue.” It has also closed on El Dorado’s “Luna caliente,” “Cosmos,” “Nudos” and “The Best of Me.” From Rios TV, Venevision has taken “El vuelo del Guirre.”

* Only Hearts is in advanced negotiations on two Urban Films titles: “El Ciclo Dreyer” and “The Year of the Flood,” said Urban Films’ Horacio Urban.

* Puerto Rico’s Weisner Distribution closed three Spanish films in Madrid: “Chinese Take-Away,” “Cousinhood,” and “Sleep Tight,” Cynthia Weisner told Daily Variety.

* Also in Madrid, David Castellanos’ Cinema Republic sold all rights to “18 Meals” to Switzerland’s Columbus and Taiwan’s Cineplex. It is in talks on other European territories.

* A pay TV deal will shortly go down on “Alejandro Sanz: The 3D Concert,” Film Factory’s Canales said.

* Urban Films sold docu feature “To Fight or Not to Fight” to Czech Republic’s Ceska Televisa.

Filmax-sold “No Rest for the Wicked,” the latest crime drama from Enrique Urbizu, proved the most-attended film screening at Madrid de Cine.

Other popular players were Pau Freixas’ “Forever Young,” Montxo Armendariz’s well-reviewed “Don’t Be Afraid,” now heading for Competition at Karlovy Vary, “18 Meals,” with Luis Tosar, Ricardo Darin starrer “Chinese Take-Away,” and “Blackthorn,” toplining Sam Shepard, from Alejandro Amenabar co-scribe Mateo Gil.

Of further films, there was a good buzz on Jaume Balaguero’s “Sleep Tight,” already sold in many major territories, and Spanish coup d’etat drama “17 Hours.”

Madrid de Cine ran June 19-21.

Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article.Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article.

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