A year after Spain’s biggest producer, Andres Vicente Gomez, inked an epoch-making film production pact with Spanish communications giant Prisa, the indefatigable Gomez has added another 11 titles to his production slate.
With a budget of $50 million-$60 million, the new films push Gomez past the mid-turn in his three-year deal with Prisa.
This commits him and Prisa film production arm Sogetel to produce 24-30 features over 1995-1997 for $135 million, the biggest film-production initiative in Spanish history. Sogetel and Gomez’s production banner Lola films already has two films completed and four in post-production, including the $14 million English-language “Two Much,” staring Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and Daryl Hannah. It is directed by 1994 Academy Award winner Fernando Trueba.
The Prisa/Gomez deal currently represents the principal powerhouse in Spanish production, providing the bulk of Spanish films challenging for international sales, including U.S. niche or even mainstream distribution.
“Spain produces some 50 films a year. We have 21 films in development and figure that some 10 will make it into production in a year,” said Antonio Saura, head of development at Lola films.
“Of those 10, many are above normal Spanish budgets and some more than double the norm. In total they represent some 40%-50% of Spanish film investment annually,” he added.
And the new films clearly indicate the goal that Gomez and other Spanish producers are pursuing: “Our attention is ever more on the international market,” said Gomez.
Trueba’s next project, Gomez told Variety, will be the Spanish/German language comedy “La Nina de Tus Ojos,” a $6 million-$7 million co-production with France and Germany, to be shot in the Barrandorf studios in Prague.
It narrates the attempt of Nazi Joseph Goebbels to seduce a Spanish actress. Shooting is scheduled for spring of 1996.
Other projects now in preproduction or advanced development include:
* The $8 million “Perdita Durango.” Gomez told Variety that director Bigas Luna (“Jamon, Jamon”) is off the project owing to “differences over the screenplay and the underperformance of his last two films ‘Huevos de Oro’ and ‘La Teta y la Luna’ in some foreign territories,” such as France and Italy.
” ‘Bigas’ international value has undoubtedly gone down and I don’t feel capable of (risking him) on a film with a significant budget,” Gomez said.
“My first choice is Roberto Rodriguez to direct,” said Gomez. Victoria Abril (“Kika”) and Antonio Banderas have been approached to star from a new “more mainstream” screenplay, said Gomez, by Fernando Trueba’s younger brother, David Trueba. The remaining cast will be North American. Shooting is scheduled for this fall.
* The $5 million plus “El Violin de Auschwitz.” Pic is a potential larger European co-production set in the German concentration camp from a screenplay by former Buchenwald inmate and Spanish culture minister Jeorge Semprun.
* “Libertarias.” The next project by Vincente Aranda, whose “La Passion Turca” scored heavily at Spanish wickets. It will shoot this July. The $5 million Spanish-lingo picture is a Spanish War drama with an all-star cast of Abril, Adridna Gil (“Belle Epoque”) and Ana Belen (“La Passion Turca”).
* “Gaudi Afternoon.” A $12 million Barcelona-set, English language crime-thriller, with transvestite plot twists. Sogetel and Gomez are in negotiations on the cast and for Susan Seidelman to direct.
* “La Celestina.” “Ultraviolent, Tarantino style, and very erotic,” says Gomez. Spanish film art director Gerardo Vera will shoot the $2.5 million project in August.
* “The Killer Tongue.” An English-language $3 million plus gore thriller, co-produced with British Screen and directed by newcomer Alberto Schiama. Gomez is closing talks with Traci Lords, Robert Englund and Bruce Campbell.