Catafal sets up shingle, tells Manga adios

Distrib Isaan to hande Asian titles, some Euro pix

Spanish distribution vet Xavier Catafal has ankled indie distributor Manga Films to power up his Barcelona-based boutique distribution house Isaan Entertainment.

Catafal formed Isaan Ent. in 2003 while still at Manga. Through it, he backed the musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

He will now turn Isaan into a film distribution house primarily handling Asian titles, and some Euro pics, he told Variety.

Isaan has already bought Spanish rights to the triptych chiller “Three Extremes,” helmed by Takashi Miike, Chan-Wook Park and Fruit Chan.

Isaan will initially sub-distribute through other distrib ops, Catafal said.

Catafal founded Manga with Luis de Val in 1993 and has served since then as its VP. He leaves on amicable terms in what he describes as an exercise in professional downsizing.

“I realized that when I went to a market, all I did was attend meetings. What I’d like to do is to attend film screenings, seeing completed films and buying smaller titles which I can nurse to pleasing box office,” he said.

Asian titles are a growing attraction in Spain. “Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior,” which Catafal bought for Manga, grossed e1.6 million ($2.1 million) in Spain. Kim Ki-duk’s “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring” made a standout $1.0 million for indie Karma.

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