‘Cid’ sails to U.S.

Hannover House inks rights to Filmax toon pic

U.S. distributor Hannover House has inked all rights for North America to Filmax Intl.’s flagship animation feature “El Cid: The Legend.”

Pic will be released in the U.S. in September, a bow that marks Hannover House’s entry into wide theatrical distribution.

Filmax has also inked a wide-ranging all-rights distribution deal with Portuguese giant Lusomundo Audiovisuais covering a large number of Filmax films.

Based on the same 11th century medieval knight immortalized by Charlton Heston, “El Cid: The Legend” turns on the Cid’s attempts to defend Spain from a dastardly North African invader, despite being exiled by his own king.

Characterized by sweeping battles, angular characters and a strapping hero the size of a large quarterback, pic was produced at Filmax’s 3-D Bren Entertainment studios in the northern Spain town of Galicia.

It is the first in a line of toon pics big by Spanish standards that Filmax is prepping for international distribution: “Pinocchio 3000,” “Donkey Xote” and “Nocturna.”

Written and directed by Spaniard Jose Pozo, and produced by Filmax prexy Julio Fernandez, “El Cid” has clinched major territory sales worldwide. It won a Spanish Academy Goya for animated pic in February.

“We have been following the production of this film for the past three years. The quality is unsurpassed, even by the standards that audiences have come to expect from Disney and Pixar animated features,” said Eric Parkinson, president of Hannover House, which is a major indie supplier to video retail outlets such as Wal-Mart in terms of the number of titles available through its stores.

Two other Filmax pics that should bow in the U.S. this year are: the Miramax-acquired “Dimension,” directed by Jaume Balaguero; and Brad Anderson’s “The Machinist,” which Paramount Classics bought at the American Film Market.

The all-rights distribution agreement with Lusomundo includes titles such as “The Machinist,” Balaguero’s upcoming “Fragile” and “Capitan Trueno.”

Lusomundo is Portugal’s biggest film distributor.

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