Massa d’Or, PJ team on ‘Pa negre’

Broadcaster TVE pre-buys film for Spain

MADRID — Spain’s Massa d’Or Productions is teaming with France’s PJ Production to co-produce “Pa negre,” the next film from Catalan auteur Agusti Villaronga (“In a Glass Cage,” “The Sea”).

TVE, the TV arm of Spanish pubcaster RTVE, has pre-bought “Pa” for broadcast in Spain. It will also handle international sales.

Budgeted at Euros4.5 million ($6 million), “Pa” has become the fourth film to pull down Euros1.7 million ($2.3 million) in funding from a new Catalan super subsidy fund. Targeting market-driven Catalan-language movies, the fund is backed by the Catalan Institute of Cultural Industries (ICIC) and Catalan pubcaster TV3.

Based on an award-winning 2004 novel by Emili Teixidor, which has sold 150,000 copies, the period coming-of-ager is set in a village in Catalonia, in the North-East of Spain, in 1943, four years after the end of the Spanish Civil War.

“Pa” chronicles the life-changing humiliations suffered by a boy whose family supported the defeated Republican cause, and who, growing up, has to choose between joining the war’s victors and the vanquished.

“The film is designed to play in big festivals, targeting cultured audiences and with outstanding developed characterization,” explained Xavier Parache, ICIC film/audiovisual finance director.

Sergi Lopez (“Map of the Sounds of Tokyo”), Eduard Fernandez (“Before the Fall”) and Laia Marull (“Take My Eyes”) co-star.

“Pa” will shoot from July 20. Title refers to the hard black bread eaten by poor Spaniards in Spain’s post-war era. Film will be ready for delivery around February 2010, said Isona Passola at “Pa” lead-producer Massa d’Or, who has also produced Villaronga’s “Sea” and “El Passatger clandesti.”