LANZAROTE, Spain — Despite a drop in buyers present — down 25% from 2002 to 60 acquisition execs — the fifth Lanzarote Spanish Film Screenings saw a steady flow of deals, pickups and announcements, due in part to Spain’s swelling ranks of sales agents and a few choice movies that unspooled at the event.

Wrapping Saturday, the three-day Spanish pic mini-mart saw overcast skies but upbeat buzz emerging around a clutch of pics.

Filmax curried good word with its ambitious toon feature “El Cid: The Legend,” turning on the famed Spanish medieval knight, with which Spanish animation has stepped up a notch in scale and international sales.

Other standouts: Spanish mob comedy “Two Tough Guys” from first-time helmer Juan Martinez Moreno; San Sebastian hit “The Weakness of the Bolshevik”; 1970s-set, rites-of-passage tale “You’re My Hero”; teen cancer drama “4th Floor”; and domestic abuse drama “Take My Eyes,” a thesping winner at San Sebastian.

The public warmed to both romance/drama “Astronauts,” with its pop-art look and “Sergeant Pepper”-ish soundtrack, and the small-town comedy “Kill Me Tender.”

The Screenings are used to conclude biz from Mifed or broach new deals. Many sales agents closed pic or package deals, principally with Latin America or Europe:

  • Massimo Saidel licensed the Vision Intl.-sold “The Galindez Mystery” to Angel Films for Scandinavia.

  • KWA closed all-rights to Norway on “Astronauts” with As Fidalgo Film Distribution, and free TV on “November” with Hungary’s MTV.

  • Sold by new sales banner Lumina, “You’re My Hero” went to Quality Films for Mexico and Cineplex for Colombia, Ecuador and Central America. Lumina’s animated feature “Midsummer Dream” was pre-sold to France’s Colifilms.

  • Filmax Intl. mopped up one of the few outstanding Euro territories on “El Cid,” closing Hungary with Best Hollywood; “Killing Words” went to Best Film for Poland; and “Romasanta” completed Latin American deals clinching Colombia with V.O. Cines.

Acquisition exec attendance may have been down because of the Screenings’ reportedly tighter budget this year. Event’s clash with the first weekend of the Sitges Catalonia Intl. Film Festival suggests Lanzarote’s dates could be slightly rejigged next year.

Unlike January’s Paris Screenings, the major challenge facing Lanzarote is to attract big premieres. Most agents prefer to keep them under wraps until Sundance or Berlin.

So buyers were keen to view trailers: Filmax drew large spontaneous auds for the trailer of “Romasanta,” a Lions Gate Films pickup for the U.S., and Brad Anderson’s “The Machinist,” which could be the first pristine Spanish pic to be ready for delivery in 2004.

Buyers also warmed to a five-minute trailer of toon “The Three Wise Men,” which bows, like “El Cid” Dec. 19, in Spain.

Sellers continued to be enthusiastic about Lanzarote.

“Lanzarote helps strengthen relationships with buyers. You have far more time to talk, in a magnificent setting as well, and it allows acquisition execs to increase their knowledge of Spanish films,” said Lumina director Marina Fuentes.

Lanzarote Screenings director Teo Rios said he was negotiating a four-year extension to the Screenings with Lanzarote political authorities.