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Filmax moves in

Spanish studio preps L.A., Miami offices

Barcelona, Spain-based ministudio Filmax Entertainment is opening up an L.A. office to advance its push into English-lingo movie production. It also aims to establish an arm in Miami, targeted at furthering TV co-productions with Latin America.

According to Filmax chairman Julio Fernandez, the L.A. op will accelerate casting of Filmax’s English-lingo pics, aid in the sale of films, and explore co-production opportunities for Filmax and third-party U.S. projects.

Filmax has inked an agreement with Catalonia’s COPCA state export board to move into its new premises in the San Fernando Valley.

A specialist in horror pics, Fernandez’s company has produced some of the highest-profile recent English-lingo pics from Spain, including Brad Anderson’s Paramount Classics release “The Machinist,” starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the Calista Flockhart chiller “Fragile,” from Jaume Balaguero (“Darkness”).

As many European production companies have learned, accessing top U.S. talent from abroad is a tall order.

“Having Filmax Los Angeles will raise our profile in the filmmaking community and make many activities far easier,” said Fernandez.

“With Miami, we’d like to work with top Latin American TV players, copying the co-production structure we have with Spain’s Telecinco on (6 Films to Keep You Awake),” he added.

The TV movie series taps into Filmax’s development expertise — all the titles are horror pics — plus some of its stable of young directors such as Balaguero and Paco Plaza. Filmax also handles international distribution.

According to company prexy Carlos Fernandez, a Miami Filmax would further biz for its tune division, Filmax Music.

The launching of operations in Los Angeles and Miami is the latest move in the step-by-step implementation by Filmax of a studio-style operating structure.

A video distribber that moved into theatrical distribution in 1986, Filmax entered feature production in 1995. Since then it has created horror (Fantastic Factory), toon (Filmax Animacion) and new talent (Fantastic Discovery) brands.

It also holds studio-style integrated interests in all-rights distribution for Spain, exhibition, post-production, international sales and toon pic creation (via studio Bren Entertainment). Small-screen production arm Filmax TV bowed in 2002, Filmax Music debuted a year later.

Last month, Fernandez announced that Filmax would establish housekeeping deals for smaller production companies based out of its central offices in Barcelona in a lot-style arrangement.

“There’s lots of talent in Spain. We’d like to help its ideas to be better developed and receive the best distribution possible abroad,” Fernandez said.

At AFM, Fernandez confirmed two new productions: Daniel Monzon’s English-lingo chiller “The Kovak Box,” where phone calls lead to the recipient’s suicide, and “El senor de las tinieblas.” Based on a novel by Alberto Vazquez Figueroa, “Senor” will mark David Carreras’ follow-up to “Hypnos,” which Filmax has picked up for foreign sales.

The latest addition to Filmax’s sales slate is “El habitante incierto” (The Uncertain Guest), a psychological thriller from first-time helmer Guillem Morales, produced by Rodar y Rodar.

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