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Romandia crosses border

Mantarraya goes global

Mantarraya Producciones, the company founded by Jaime Romandia in association with Carlos Reygadas and his NoDream Cinema label, is going global with its current slate of five films.

Indie Mexican production company has won the backing of Jean Labadie’s Bac Films and is tapping talent from outside Mexico, including Spanish tyro helmer Pedro Aguilera and Russian director Artur Aristakisian (“A Place on Earth”).

Labadie is involved as sales agent, distributor and most recently as co-producer for most of the 2006 slate. “We are beginning a relation with the best French distributor there is, we are very happy,” said Romandia.

Bac Films, which acted as distributor for Reygadas’ “Battle in Heaven,” is co-producing the his next pic, “Stilles Licht” (Silent Light), set in Mexico’s little- known Mennonite community, will shoot this summer. Arte Francia is also co-producing. Bac is also backing Amat Escalante’s “Los Bastardos.” Filming in Madrid has just wrapped on the first feature by Spanish director Aguilera, “La Influencia” (The Influence), about a who plunges into bankruptcy and depression as her children try keep her going.

Aguilera was assistant director on both “Battle in Heaven” and “Sangre.” Bac will handle international sales for the pic. In early 2007, Romandia will also produce Aristakisian’s “A Mexican Story,” which on a cash prize at Rotterdam’s Cine- Mart and also received a grant from the Hubert Bals Fund. Aristakisian and Reygadas became friends on the festival circuit in 2001 while touring with “A Place on Earth” and “Japon.”

Mantarraya is also prepping Pablo Adrete’s period Western “River of Gold” for later this year and looking for partners in the pic.

Branching out to work with directors from other countries, Romandia said Mantarraya wants to define itself by the type of filmmakers they back, not by nationality.

“The only thing important to me is to find good authors, strong authors that have a proposal and it doesn’t matter if they come from Russia or wherever,” he said.

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