Spain’s Alquimia not ‘Afraid’

Adaptation begins lensing June 3

Spanish production company Alquimia Cinema has signed on as a co-producer of Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores next feature “Io no ho paura” (I’m Not Afraid).

Nicola Ammaniti and Francesca Marciano adapted Ammaniti’s eponymous bestseller, which won Italy’s prestigious Prix Viareggio. Maurizio Totti produces. Shooting begins June 3.

Italian production partners are Salvatores’ Colorado Films, Cattleya and Medusa Film, which will distribute the pic in Italy.

Film takes place during a long, hot Italian summer. Michele, a lonely, 9-year-old boy finds a kidnapped boy buried in cornfield. The two children become friends only to find their loyalties tested when the kidnapper turns out to be someone from Michele’s world.

Salvatores has cast unknown actors and says, “The real star of the film is the landscape.”

Salvatores will segue into his first English-language pic in summer 2003. “For the Love of a Woman” is adapted from Israeli author Meir Shaley’s novel “Judith Loves.” Totti will produce.

Film is about a woman who arrives in Palestine during World War II to work for a widower with three children. She subsequently falls in love with three men and must choose between them.

Salvatores’ “Amnesia” screens in the Cannes market. Pic was included in a package of 10 films sold by RAI Trade to Australia’s Palace Film earlier in the market.

Salvatores won the 1992 foreign-lingo Oscar for “Mediterraneo.”

The director tells Variety that winning the Oscar was a double-edged sword.

“It gave me more power to propose different material,” he says. “But some people think that the Oscar is a microchip that goes into your head and makes you make better films. They expect so much from you.”