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‘Pilar and Jose’ closes Italy, Mexico

6 Sales rolls out 'Blackthorn,' 'Forever Young'

MADRID — “Jose y Pilar,” which was produced by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo, Fernando Mereilles’ 02 Filmes and Portugal’s JumpCut, has been sold to Italy’s Feltrinelli and Mexico’s Plan B.

The docu narrates the real-life love story between Nobel Laureate writer Jose Saramago and Spanish journalist Pilar del Rio, against the background of Saramago’s writing “The Elephant’s Journey,” his last but one novel.

Directed by JumpCut founder, Miguel Goncalves Mendes, one of Portugal’s foremost docu filmmakers, “Jose and Pilar” is produced by El Deseo’s Agustin Almodovar and Esther Garcia, 02 Filmes’ Mereilles, Bel Berlinck and Goncalves Mendes.

Deals come as “Jose y Pilar’s” sales agent, Madrid-based 6 Sales, continues to roll out Mateo Gil’s “Blackthorn” abroad and has picked up “Forever Young” (aka “Heroes”), one of a new breed of family-targeted Catalan-language pics.

On “Jose y Pilar,” 6 Sales is targeting distributors that have previously handled high-profile docu features, said Marina Fuentes, 6 Sales founder.

Feltrinelli, for example, distributed “The Cove” and “Inside Job” in Italy.

Fuentes is in negotiations for a U.S. sale on “Jose y Pilar,” she added.

Released by Spectateur Comercio e Gerenciamento, “Jose” played for four months in Brazil. It has also bowed in Portugal and Spain, where El Deseo handled the distribution.

6 Sales has also ratcheted up more territory sales on Mateo Gil’s autumnal Western “Blackthorn,” a Tribeca Competition player.

Buyers include Vendetta Film (Australia), HGC (China), J-Bics Film Co. (Thailand) and Front Row Filmed Ent. (the Middle East).

Magnolia Pictures, which acquired North American rights off Tribeca, releases “Blackthorn” Stateside on Oct. 7.

Spain’s Alta Films plans a July 1 bow.

The Sam Shepard starrer, in which he plays an ageing Butch Cassidy, opens in France via Bac Films on Aug. 28.

“Jose and Pilar” makes its world market premiere at Madrid de Cine — Spanish Film Screening, Spain’s annual national film mart, which kicks off Saturday night. “Blackthorn” also screens at Madrid de Cine.

Set in an idyllic Costa Brava village, “Forever Young” looks back at first love and adolescence, in a style reminiscent of “Stand By Me.”

Directed by Pay Freixas (“Dark Chamber”), it forms part of a first batch of higher-end, state-backed pics coming out of Catalonia that are aimed squarely at wider auds.

“‘Forever Young’ has family appeal, so has TV potential, which is crucial for theatrical distributors these days,” Fuentes said.

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