‘Azur’ draw duo deal

S2 Intl and Intuition create prod'n alliance

MADRID — Ele Juarez’s Intuition and Stephane Sorlat’s S2 Intl. have created a project-by-project production alliance.

Their first film is Euro co-prod toon feature “Azur et Asmar,” helmed by Michel Ocelot, director of the acclaimed “Kirikou and the Sorceress.” More projects are expected to be announced early next year.

A former well-known French distribution exec, the Madrid-based Sorlat’s knowledge of the French market and players is un-rivalled in Spain. Juarez’s tenure of top exec positions in the U.S. and Spain gives him peerless contacts in Spain with the corpo-rate U.S. and Latin America.

He established Intuition Media in 2003 as a consultancy and soon launched a film production division Intuition Films, headed by son Patrick Juarez. Its first venture has been a minority stake in the Andres Vicente Gomez’s “Isi Disi,” the second highest grossing Spanish film this year, cuming Euros 7.3 million ($9.7 million).

“Ele Juarez is an expert on the Anglo-American and Latin American market. An alliance with him is natural,” said Sorlat. “Our idea is to expand into France, the U.S. and eventually Asia. Stephane Sorlat is a perfect partner,” added Intuition Films general manager Patrick Juarez.

The Euros10 million ($13.3 million) “Azur et Asmar” is directed by one of the leading-lights of Europe’s burgeoning toon feature production, a sector which is seen as a growth biz for the continent. “Kirikou” took over 1.5 million admissions in France, and racked up just north of $400,000 in B.O. in both Spain and Germany.

The story of two boys who are separated and grow up as a Muslim and Christian before re-meeting, “Azur” is also produced by France’s Nord-Ouest and Italy’s Lucky Red. It recently pulled down $665,000 in equity funding from the Council of Europe’s pan-European co-production fund Eurimages.

Its animators include Kyle Badla (“Monsters Inc.,” “Toy Story 2”) as director of animation and DreamWorks’ Daniel Cacoault as artistic director.

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