New company pushes low-cost distribution

Fledgling Catalan distrib Alfa Pictures has nabbed Spanish rights to “Madrid, 1987,” “Pet Pals and Marco Polo’s Code” and “Girimunho.”

The titles join Ventura Pons’ “Year of Grace” and Marcus Dunstan’s “The Collector,” Alfa’s first releases in Spain.

Alfa will handle about 10 pics per year focusing on local product — though not exclusively so, according to CEO David Alfaras.

“Madrid 1987,” which was sold by 6 Sales and directed by David Trueba (“Salamina Soldiers”), played Sundance’s World Cinema Dramatic competition in January.

Brazilian minimalist rural drama “Girimunho,” which was sold by Urban Distribution Intl. and helmed by from first-timers Helvecio Marins Jr. and Clarissa Campolina, proved to be a fall fest favorite, playing Venice, Toronto and San Sebastian.

More mainstream, Sergio Manfio’s family 3D toon pic “Code” is produced by Italy’s Gruppo Alcuni and Spain’s Edebe Audiovisual.

Alfa exploits new market opportunities for cost-conscious niche distribution that have opened up in Catalonia as established arthouse distributors have closed.

“Many Catalan distributors have (failed),” said “Girimunho” co-producer Luis Minarro. “Their problem was that they weren’t able to survive the downturn, owing to too large overheads.”

Alfaras said independent producers need small distributors that aren’t forced to mount large P&A campaigns in order to cover substantial overheads.

Alfaras has an extensive background in cinema distribution, including stints as a programmer and buyer for Sony Pictures Spain, Lauren Films, Notro Films and Savor.

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