‘Juan of the Dead’ stumbles to U.K., Japan

Cuban zombie comedy eyes France, North American sales

BUENOS AIRES — Metrodome has taken U.K. rights and Fine Films has nabbed Japanese rights to Alejandro Brugues’ “Juan of the Dead,” Cuba’s first zombie comedy.

Alfredo Calvino’s Latinofusion, “Dead’s” sales agent, sold the film to Germany’s Panda Storm and Russia’s Cinema Prestige straight off its Toronto world preem.

Calvino is also negotiating France, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, he said.

John Sloss and Bart Walker’s Cinetic Media boarded “Dead” at Toronto to rep a North American sale, which is now in advanced negotiations, Calvino added.

The splatstick fiesta has Alexis Diaz de Villegas as a 40-year-old slacker who, when a zombie outbreak infests Cuba, tries to turn a quick buck slaying families’ undead relatives.

“Dead” segued from Toronto to the Austin, Chicago, Rio, Mar del Plata, Stockholm and Leeds fests, nabbing Leeds’ Fanomenon Audience Award.

The pic makes its Latin American bow at the Havana Film Festival this month.

Despite its barbs, Brugues’ insists “Dead” is a “fun” comedy, not serious political allegory. But Cubans will at last have their own cadaver shamblefest.

“We expect an enormous Cuban crowd, all thirsting for blood,” Calvino enthused.

Latinofusion has also picked up “Expiration Date,” from Mexico’s Kenya Marquez. A non-linear dark comedy/mystery enriched by the acting talents of lead Damian Alcazar, “Date,” was one of the standout hits with the public at Mexico’s Morelia Fest. The former Guadalajara fest director’s helming debut won its audience prize, plus a jury special mention.

James Young contributed to this article.