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Iris Star joins Primer in a cross-pond pact

Barcelona company strikes prod'n, distrib deal

Underscoring the growing links across the Spanish-speaking world, Barcelona-based Iris Star has struck a production/distribution alliance with Buenos Aires’ Primer Plano.

Pedro Domenech’s Iris Star and Primer Plano, headed by vet Pascual Condito, are taking equity on “De quien es el portaligas? (literally: Whose Is the Suspender Belt?), the second feature by Argentine helmer Fito Paez.

Femme friendship comedy is produced by Paez and Fernando Moya at Circo Beat.

Iris Star and Primer Plano have also set up a joint venture to buy Asian titles for DVD/TV distribution in Latin America and Spain.

Iris plans to begin theatrical distribution in Spain in September, most probably with Belgian gore pic “The Ordeal.”

Via subsid Stardis Pictures, Iris entered Spanish TV/DVD distribution in October, often handling Asian fare such as Japan’s “Copycat Killer” or South Korea’s “Ice Rain.”

Iris has also moved from film-by-film to slate production, making around four films a year. Latest productions are Jordi Vidal’s road movie “Road Spain” and Hernan Migoya’s comedy “I’m a Dummy.”

Iris is expanding beyond its core DVD distrib business, according to exec VP Jaume Domenech.

“DVD distribution in Spain is showing signs of exhaustion. We need to diversify, and Asian cinema hasn’t broken through in Latin American like Spain,” he added.

Despite B.O. and international sales success on early pics — notably “Deadly Cargo” — Iris Star hasn’t made the beginner’s mistake of rapidly ramping up budgets. Spanish pics budgets range from $2.5 million to $10 million, said Domenech.

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