Spanish Oscar entry makes good on Toronto buzz

MADRID

Playing off Toronto buzz and San Sebastian kudos, “Blancanieves” is proving not only one of the most singular but also most sellable of foreign-language Oscar entries, rolling out licensing deals over much of the world.

Cohen Media Group acquired U.S. rights early October; Rezo closed France at San Sebastian.

In new deals, Shin Nippon Films Co. has sealed Japan, Rialto Distribution took Australia and New Zealand, D Films Corp. nabbed Canada, and Carmen Film Group/Paradise Film Distribution acquired the CIS and Baltic States.

New Madrid sales, financing and production combo Dreamcatchers has also licensed Pablo Berger’s black-and-white silent movie to Switzerland (Xenix Filmdistribution), Middle East (Italia Film) and airlines (Captive Ent.).

Sales to Italy, Portugal, Greece, Brazil and Argentina are under negotiation, said Dreamcatchers founder Marina Fuentes.

An original riff on the “Snow White” tale, and kitsch celebration of Spanish ways that has drawn comparisons with early Pedro Almodovar films, “Blancanieves” recasts the story in 1920s Seville with Snow White as a feisty bullfighter saved by a traveling troupe of Bullfighting Dwarves and her evil stepmother as a campy socialite.

Cohen Media’s 2013 U.S. theatrical release date depends on a possible foreign-language Academy Award nomination.

Distributed by Wanda, a Dreamcatchers partner, “Blancanieves” has played off rave reviews from Spanish critics to gross Euros742,400 ($959,923) off five weeks in Spain — when any seven-figure dollar B.O. result can these days count as a success for a Spanish film in Spain.

It screens at Santa Monica’s American Film Market, which kicks off Wednesday.

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