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Cannes Market Backs Small Is Biutiful

Paris mini-mart highlights Spain’s new generation of helmers

The Cannes Film Market is teaming with the Paris Region’s Ile de France and Paris-based Espagnolas en Paris on Small Is Biutiful, a launch-pad for Spanish directors and producers seeking French distribution, co-production and sales agents.

A showcase of projects in development chosen by Espagnolas’ Javier Martin and Alain Coiffier, with Jose Maria Riba, which is traditionally attended by dozens of French execs, Small is co-organized by Ile de France Film Commission. The Market will upload directors’ prior pics — both shorts and features — onto Cinando, the Market’s database and networking website, which also operates a VOD service.

Cinando has created a new video library website, http://www.cinandoVL.com, for use by festivals and co-production markets, allowing their participants to view before meeting prior works by selected projects’ directors. The first event will be Cannes Cinefondation’s L’Atelier, said Cannes Market director Jerome Paillard.

Many festivals will use it starting with this year’s Bafici, and soon Deauville, Fantasia and San Sebastian, among many others, Paillard added.

“We’ve followed Small Is Biutiful closely. It is growing year-after-year. Given our involvement with Spanish-language films, our involvement makes perfect sense,” he said.

A co-production and sales market for new Spanish film projects, which takes place June 21 in Paris, Small will showcase seven titles, including four feature film debuts. It could have been sub-titled “New Spanish Cinema.”

Two, the most substantially budgeted, are auteur genre titles — a Spanish film type avidly sought after by sales agent — from first time directors.

“A genre-blending thriller-come-intimate drama” set in an industrial dystopia from which nobody escapes, according to Espagnolas’ Martin, Jose Skaf’s “Vulcania” is produced by David Matamoros for Zentropa Intl. Spain.

Produced by Vaca Films (“Cell 211”), Dani de la Torre’s “El Desconocido” stars Luis Tosar (“Miami Vice”) and is written by “REC” co-scribe Alberto Marini.

Elsewhere, Small Is Biutiful’s films are helmed by a new wave of Spanish directors whose movies — in budgets, artistic control, settings and creative freedoms — often mark a radical break with the past.

“Just a few years ago, either you worked within established industry systems or your film didn’t get made at all,” Martin said.

“Now, with the crisis, there’s less of a system, and directors are exploring other ways of making films or, if they’re still made within a classical production, seeking other forms of rupture with established filmmaking.”

One way is shooting abroad.

Identity drama “Ana de dia,” the first feature from Ana Jaurrieta, which she wrote in the Rome, could be set in the Italian capital, Madrid or Paris.

Paula Ortiz, whose “Chrysalis” was one of the most notable debuts of recent years, will shoot “The Bride,” a free adaptation of Federico Lorca’s stage play “Blood Wedding,” in Turkey’s Cappadocia. Inma Cuesta (“Blancanieves”) will play the femme lead; key cast also includes Leticia Dolera (“REC 3: Genesis”).

Two more projects — the Senegal-set “Reservado al personal,” from Neus Ballus, whose debut “La Plaga,” played at the Berlin festival’s Forum, and Adan Aliaga’s “Fishbone,” which will unspool in Mallorca, chart the interface between Spaniards and foreigners.

“La Plaga” was a documentary/fiction hybrid; “Reservado al personal” will be fiction, Martin said. “Fishbone” is “a highly sensual project with complex characters,” he added.

Small Is Biutiful will also screen excerpts from Carlos Larrondo’s “Radio La Colifata, resiste,” a docu-feature godfathered by musician Manu Chao about the closure of the Borda psychiatric hospital in Buenos Aires.

Small Is Biutiful forms part of Different 6! an alternative Spanish film festival playing four Paris cinemas and its Instituto Cervantes over June 14-21.

Latido, Imagina, Cinema Republic and The Match Factory figure among sale agents, who will attend a second Different! industry event: June 14’s Rendez-vous a l’Opera, an annual meet-and-mart between Spanish agents and French distributors; 23 Gallic distrib shingles — among them, Ad Vitam, Eurozoom, Rezo, SND Group and Wild Bunch Distribution — have signed up to date for the Rendez-vous.

Overseen by Bruno Deloye, Canal Plus’ movie channel bouquet Cine Plus has committed to buying French pay TV rights on any fiction feature in Different that a distributor acquired for France, Riba said.

Espagnolas also arranges T & E for directors and actors attending the festival, arranging flights through fest sponsor Vueling, and for their attendance for films’ commercial bows in France.

“These are not huge amounts of money, but they are significant economic cushions for distributors buying Spanish films,” Riba said.

Different opens with Gay’s “A Gun in Each Hand,” which was pitched at Small Is Biutiful.

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