MADRID — Warner Bros. Intl. is advancing on plans to establish local production and overseas acquisitions operations in Spain and Italy.

The Italian division is likely to be up and running first, sometime later this year, although no dates have been fixed for either local production thrust.

In Spain, Warners looks set to co-produce pics with local producers. It does not rule out establishing its own production shingle, Simona Benzakein, WB’s VP of European production, said Wednesday in Madrid.

WB also will move to acquire select international territory rights on local productions, at script stage through to completion.

Pickups will not necessarily be put through WB’s distribution outlets in foreign countries, Benzakein added.

‘Room’ booked

WB moved forcefully to pick up all rights to Spain, South America and Japan on Nanni Moretti’s Palme d’Or winner “The Son’s Room.”

WB’s first Italian and Spanish productions are likely to move in a lowish budget range, rising if these first projects are successful. No projects have yet been identified.

Benzakein reconfirmed Warner Bros. Pictures’ major commitment to local-language production at a seminar, “The International Promotion of European Cinema,” which runs through Friday and was organized by the SGAE Spanish writers’ royalty collection body.