Horror comedy set to bewitch Spain

TVE unveils 'Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi'

SAN SEBASTIAN — Alex de la Iglesia, Spain’s most prominent black comedy helmer, has teamed with powerful Spanish producer Enrique Cerezo on horror laffer “Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi” (Witching and Bitching), in what looks to be one of the country’s flagship productions for 2013.

Vicente Canales’ sales company Film Factory Ent. has picked up “Witching’s” international sales rights.

“Witching” is one of 25 pre-buys recently unveiled by TVE, the TV division of Spanish pubcaster RTVE, at a joint press conference with Spanish producer umbrella association Fapae. It was held Thursday at the San Sebastian festival.

According to De la Iglesia, “Witching” is a mix of his 1995 groundbreaking hit “The Day of the Beast” with multi-awarded 2000 comedy “Commonwealth.”

“It is an outrageous comedy, in the line of ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,’ but a horror comedy,” De la Iglesia told Variety.

The pic turns on a robber band trying to flee to France after purloining 25,000 gold rings from a Spanish city. A curse falls on them and they fall into the clutches of the witches of the Navarrese town of Zugarramurdi.

Rolling from Oct. 1 on location in Zugarramurdi for two weeks, the production will continue for seven more weeks in Madrid.

“Witching’s” ensemble cast boasts some of Spain’s biggest film and TV stars, such as Mario Casas (“I Want You”), Hugo Silva (“Sex, Parties and Lies”) and Carmen Maura, who earned a best actress award at San Sebastian in 2000 for her role in “Commonwealth.”

Further cast members are Terele Pavez, Carolina Bang, Secun de la Rosa, Pepon Nieto and Jaime Ordonez.

“We have brought together one of the most important casts in Spain in years, along with the best Spanish film director,” producer Enrique Cerezo told Variety in San Sebastian.

“This should be one of the biggest film sensations in Spain for 2013,” he added.

Pic is budgeted at Euros 6 million ($7.8 million). Paybox Canal Plus has acquired pay TV rights, said production manager Carlos Bernases,

Further TVE pre-buys includes two films directed by Isabel Coixet, Aiete Mararia-produced “Nadie quiere la noche,” and “Panda Eyes,” a Tornasol Films co-production with Wales’ Rainy Day Films.

Other TVE acquisitions include Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s “El Pozo,” co-produced with Mediapro, David Trueba’s “Almeria, 1966” at Buenavida Prods., Emilio Aragon’s road movie “A Night in Old Mexico,” with Robert Duvall and Jeremy Irvine, and first-timer Beatriz Sanchis’ dramatic comedy “Todos estan muertos,” toplining Elena Anaya.