MADRID With one eye on the U.S., Spain’s Arcadia Motion Pictures, producer-distrib Wanda Films and sales agent Marina Fuentes are working together under the umbrella title Dreamcatchers to produce, finance and sell primarily English-language fare.
Dreamcatchers’ first slate includes helmer Jonathan Newman’s $25 million teen novel adaptation “Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box,” starring Lena Headey, Michael Sheen, Sam Neill and Ioan Gruffudd. The Victorian London fantasy adventure rolled April 30.
“Mariah” is produced by Arcadia and London’s Entertainment Motion Pics. Arcadia and Fuentes put up a significant part of the financing via Spanish tax breaks and equity, while Fuentes organized pre-sales and put up coin as the minimum guarantee for international rights.
Dreamcatchers’ slate also features “Don’t Cry, Fly,” the English-language debut of Peruvian helmer-scribe Claudia Llosa (“The Milk of Sorrow”).
Wanda’s Jose Maria Morales, Arcadia’s Ibon Cormenzana and U.S. producer Mark Johnson are co-producing “Cry,” a drama about a U.S. senator estranged from her son, set in Minnesota and Canada.
Johnson is closing key cast for “Cry,” which shoots late October, probably in Lithuania, Canada and Spain.
The Dreamcatchers partners have tapped Spanish equity, tax breaks, subsidies, a pre-buy from Spanish pubcaster RTVE and international pre-sales to fully finance the film, whose budget has not been revealed.
Cormenzana, a former exec with international accountants Arthur Andersen, has created Spanish Aie tax brake vehicles for 10-12 films via investment vehicle Arcadia Capital.
“Cry” is a step-up in scale for Llosa.
“It’s not that she wanted to make a bigger film, she wanted to make this film, which happened to be bigger and required an international cast,” Morales said.
He added that there’s a market for arthouse films with mainstream elements, citing Meryl Streep starrer “The Iron Lady,” distribbed by Wanda, which grossed €4.2 million ($5.5 million) in Spain.
Funding is a strength of the Dreamcatchers trio, who will also continue to work separately.
The international pre-sales business took a beating during the 2009 economic crisis as cautious distributors held back on purchases.
But now it is subsidies, slashed 36% in Spain in April, that are wobbling in cash-strapped states while the sales biz has rallied: Witness the flush of new sales company announcements in the run up to this month’s Cannes Film Festival.
For Spain, private equity investment backed by international sales, are the only ways forward, per Fuentes. The Dreamcatchers partners offer both, plus co-production and Spanish distribution, while selling third-party films, Fuentes added.
Dreamcatchers already has a third Arcadia movie: Pablo Berger’s black and white, silent pic “Snow White,” about a bullfighter in the 1920s. Wanda distributes in Spain.