Case Study: Road to Santiago

Comedy brings together Spanish film and TV

Roberto Santiago’s romantic comedy “Road to Santiago” illustrates the key role of Spanish broadcast finance in local film production. It also underscores synergies between Spain’s film and TV industries.

Santiago and film-legit production house Lazona’s co-founders, Ignacio and Gonzalo Salazar-Simpson, proposed the project to broadcaster Antena 3 TV’s film division at an early stage in its development.

Santiago was directing some episodes of Antena’s TV drama “Ulysses’ Syndrome.” The helmer’s sophomore feature, “The Longest Penalty in the World” (2005), a hit comedy in Spain, had been co-produced by A3TV.

“Road’s” Fernando Tejero and Malena Alterio were a longtime starring duo in A3TV’s popular primetime series “Nobody Can Live Here.”

The prior relationship added to “Road’s” promise as a feel-good comedy that could easily play in A3TV’s primetime lineup, persuading the broadcaster to back the movie, says A3F CEO Mercedes Gamero.

A3F took a 60% stake, and Lazona entered with a 31% participation, which amounted to E3.1 million ($4.1 million).

Tejero and Alterio play, respectively, a photographer and a journalist who hate each other but pose as a couple to pursue an article about a love guru who resolves relationship crises.

From the beginning, the pic was designed to be entirely shot along the thousand-year-old pilgrimage routes to Galicia’s Santiago de Compostela. This opened the door for the entry of a Galicia-based co-producer, ZircoZine, which brought in the sponsorship of regional public institution Xacobean Plan, thereby providing completion finance.

Film institute ICAA’s subsidies for “Road” are estimated at some $1.3 million, tabbed at 15% of local B.O. and 33% of Spanish producers’ investment.

Warner Bros. Pictures Intl. Spain acquired Spanish theatrical and DVD rights against an advance payment on P&A.

TV rights, valued north of $1 million, were presold to A3TV and Sogecable paybox Canal Plus.

Film makes its world market premiere at Cannes, handled by DeAPlaneta Intl.

Bowing April 8 on 229 prints, “Road” had a strong opening for a Spanish pic, garnering $3.1 million through April 26 and still counting.