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Disney takes ‘Chico and Rita’ for Spain

Film is Fernando Trueba's first animated effort

Disney has taken Spanish theatrical and DVD distribution rights to toon romancer “Chico and Rita,” helmer Fernando Trueba’s first foray into animation.

Spanish graphic artist Javier Mariscal and brother Tono Errando also co-direct.

Disney will release “Chico and Rita” Feb. 25 on more than 100 screens.

Beginning in the jazz-bebop world of Cuba and New York in the late 1940s, toon chronicles the decades-long relationship between budding Cuban pianist Chico and nightclub singer Rita.

Budgeted at around €10 million ($13 million), pic mixes Trueba’s passion for Cuban jazz with Mariscal’s distinctive drawing style.

Cristina Huete at Fernando Trueba Prods. and Mariscal Studio’s Santi Errando produce alongside London-based Magic Light Pictures’ Michael Rose and Martin Pope.

“Chico and Rita” premiered at September’s Toronto Film Festival, with sales handled by the U.K.’s Hanway Films.

It won best feature at the Holland Animation Film Festival in November.

Animated movie continues Trueba’s taste for Latin music, already reflected in three awarded musical docus (“Calle 54,” “Blanco y negro” and “The Miracle of Candeal”) and the creation of a Latin jazz record label.

Pic is dedicated to 92-year-old Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes, who plays Chico’s piano pieces and composed the movie’s soundtrack.

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