SAN SEBASTIAN — One of Spain’s foremost femme filmmakers, Iciar Bollain (“Take My Eyes,” “Even the Rain”), is attached to direct “Vicky Sherpa.”
Based on a real-life story, and adapting Vicky Sherpa’s own memoir, the romantic drama turns on a Spanish school teacher who goes to Nepal on vacation and discovers her life’s calling, to establish free-of-charge schools for Nepalese children.
Budgeted at Euros3.5 million ($4.5 million), “Sherpa” is set up at Luis de Val’s Barcelona-based Media Films. It has been 100% financed out of Spain, aided by pre-buys by Catalan pubcaster TV3 and paybox Canal Plus Spain.
Larry Levene co-produces. Screenplay is by Bollain, Javier Moro and Ramon Menendez. “Sherpa” will shoot in Barcelona and Katmandu.
“Sherpa” is one of a clutch of new pre-buys unveiled by TVE, the TV division of Spanish pubcaster RTVE, at a joint press conference with producers umbrella association Fapae, held Thursday at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
Further pre-buys include Alex de la Iglesia’s upcoming “Un Dia de suerte,” Pedro Almodovar’s “La Piel que habito” and Fernando Trueba’s “El Artista y la modelo.”
The acquisitions form part of an even larger commitment by TVE to Spanish cinema.
According to Eva Cebrian, TVE head of cinema, TVE looks set to plow around Euros 43 million ($54.5 million) into feature, documentary and animation investment, a 20% hike in 2009.
TVE has also pre-bought 44 Spanish films this year.
Driving the financing hike are new regs framed in a General Audiovisual Law, obliging TVE to earmark 6% of its annual revenue for local or European production.
Presenting latest stats on the Spanish film industry, Fapae prexy Pedro Perez suggested Madrid accounted in 2009 for 42.9% of film/TV business in Spain, Catalonia 34.8%, a significant rise for the region.
Through Sept. 7, 116 Spanish movies have applied for shoot permits, down on 2009’s 132 through the same period, suggesting the crisis and new ICAA Spanish Film Institute regs are beginning to have an effect on the industry.
Spanish films’ B.O. market share stood at 9.1% through June 30, down on 2009’s 10.3%, which eventually rose to 15.9%.
Local movies’ total 2010 market share doesn’t look likely to reach 2009’s share, a recent highpoint, Perez added.
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this report.