Valencia fest switches to action pics

Event formerly focused on Mediterranean area films

BARCELONA — Under new management, Spain’s Valencia Festival, one of the country’s biggest sprocket operas, is changing gear, revving up as an action and adventure movie film meet.

In one of the earliest programming decisions, fest has pacted with Warner Bros. to host DC Comics strand.

Fest’s competition previously focused on speciality films from Mediterranean rim territories.

The reboot, announced by Salomon Castiel, fest director named last year, aims to regain popular support for the event.

“I was called to change the festival’s direction. It’s spent 30 years trying to build as an art film event with low media coverage,” Castiel told Daily Variety.

Mediterranean pics will now be screened in a panorama section.

The Valencia Mostra, as it is popularly known, will be a non-competitive event, with an audience award worth Euros40,000 ($54,000).

Castiel said: “We want to attract a considerable number of international premieres. We’ve created a network of international contact, especially in Europe and Asia, and aim at a personal selection.”

Commercial broadcaster Telecinco, co-producer of Spanish B.O. hits such as Daniel Monzon’s “Cell 211” and Alejandro Amenabar’s “Agora” and rights owner of an important library of action titles, has signed a cooperation agreement with fest.

Valencia-based helmer Monzon will receive a tribute at this year’s event.

The Mostra has a Euros1.8 million ($2.4 million) budget supplied almost entirely by the Valencia Town Hall.

The Valencia fest’s 31st edition runs October 15-23.

In 2011, event will shift from Spain’s packed fall fest season to late March, when Valencia will also host a TV market linked to the Mostra, Castiel said.

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