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East Europeans nab Spanish fare

First Malaga Market generates sales business

MALAGA, Spain — Eastern European buyers energized Spain’s biggest movie and TV mart, the Malaga Markets, which wrapped Wednesday.

Russian distributor A-One Films inked DVD and TV rights with Sogepaq on Peris Romano and Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s directorial debut, comedy “8 Dates.”

Arthouse Traffic took Ukrainian rights to youth drama “Thieves” and Angeles Gonzalez Sinde’s femme drama, “One Word From You.”

Meanwhile, at the Dec. 1-3 meet on the Andalusian coast, Madrid-based consortium Latido Films announced advanced talks with Duna TV on Hungarian TV rights to a 10-pic package, including titles such as docu “14 Kilometers,” Carlos Saura’s “Fados” and Manuel Gutierrez Aragon’s “Who’s Next.”

Malaga Markets marked a first, merging three previously separate events: the Malaga Screenings, a Spanish and Latin American film market; Mercadoc, focusing on European and Latin American docus; and the Malaga TV Market, dedicated to Spanish fiction and animation.

That mixed format was reflected in the business being pursued at the event.

“Most buyers were negotiating across the three markets. This seems a growing trend, especially in economically difficult times, where probably the most affected sector is film production. You have to diversify,” said Carmelo Romero, Malaga Markets director.

“This situation favors film catalog sales,” said a Spanish seller. “TV buyers from Central and Eastern Europe are interested in Spain because there are still openings on their pay and DTT channels for non-U.S. productions,” he argued.

Malaga’s end-of-year dates had their upside. “TV buyers needed to invest what’s left of their annual budget,” said Madrid-based sales agent Kevin Williams.

Movies most watched by buyers at market cinemas or via vid library screenings included Filmax’s “Diary of a Sex Addict,” Alzheimer drama “Awaking From a Dream,” corporate practice putdown “Bienvenido a Farewell-Gutmann,” “A Bit of Chocolate” and “One Word From You.”

Some TV shows sparking buzz were adventure series “Red Eagle,” sold in Malaga by Imagina; Cuatro-repped comedy “A Matter of Sex”; and preschool educational toon series “Glubi,” produced by Weekend Production.

Whether a huge number of sales deals were signed in Malaga is another matter. The general film market downturn is slowing biz significantly, some sales agents admitted.

Other industry news included:

* Cin TV, the docu producer-distributor arm of conglom Vertice 360, is in advanced talks to sell Mideast rights on doc series “Reino Salvaje.”

* David Castellanos, a former sales exec at Latido Films, launched a new international sales and services company, Cinema Republic, at the Malaga TV market.

* Malaga also marked the market debut of Pilar Garcia Heras, the new head of cultural industries at Spanish export board ICEX, which heavily backs Spanish pics and TV shows’ international distribution. Garcia replaces vet exec Paz Alvarez.

*Catalan toon producer-distributor Motion Pictures has inked with Israel’s Talit Communications to offer production service on three-minute preschool series “Mice,” to be aired worldwide via channel Baby TV.

* Ignacio Varela, manager of Galicia Audiovisual Consortium, announced first-ever cash prizes, under the Docs Galicia ’08 promotion initiative, for “Liste, Pronounced Lister,” “Barreiros, Human Engine,” “Manuel and Elisa” and “Kalapattar.”

Execs praised the Malaga Markets’ organization.

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