Spain’s Zeta Cinema Sets 2013-14 Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

In the mix: Ripoll’s “Here and Now,” a "La marca del meridional" makeover

SAN SEBASTIAN – Zeta Cinema, the film production arm of Spanish publishing conglom Zeta Group, has set a 2013-14 slate whose seven titles confirms it as the most prolific of production houses in Spain.

Unveiled by Zeta Cinema producer Francisco Ramos, the line-up features two new titles – Maria Ripoll’s romantic comedy “Here and Now” and an adaptation of Lorenzo Silva’s best-selling novel “La marca del meridional,” winner of Spain’s 2012 Planeta Prize, its best-known literary plaudit.

The seven movies also confirm Zeta’s push into family entertainment, targeting an underserved demo in Spain, plus movies with robust international potential.

That’s no pipedream. Lead produced by Mod Producciones, “Zip & Zap and the Marble Game,” which teams four of Spain’s most international players – Mod, Zeta Cinema, Atresmedia Cine and Kowalski Films – bows Saturday at San Sebastian playing its Velodrome in the festival’s first big family screening.

Disney opens “Zip & Zap” Oct. 4 on around 300 DCP copies, maybe 400 screens: a weighty print run.

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Off “Zip & Zap’s” Toronto world premiere, Film Factory closed Germany in a reportedly weighty deal with Wild Bunch Germany, Brazil (California Filmes), Latin America pay TV (LAP TV), Portugal (ZON Lusomundo) and Turkey (Medyavision).

Japan is close to closing. Film Factory is fielding offers for France and receiving interest from the U.S., said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales.

Penned by “Zip & Zap” co-scribes Jorge Lara and Francisco Roncal,  “Here” turns on a couple who decide to marry in London, where they met.

The best laid plans: a Spanish air controllers’ strike and volcanic eruption in Iceland keep them apart as their separate flights are re-routed all over Europe.

Shooting fall 2014, “Marca” is Silva’s seventh novel featuring Civil Guards Virginia Chamorro and Ruben Bevilacqua who is dispatched to Catalonia after the murder of his mentor, another Civil Guard.

“We are looking to turn this novel into an event movie and eventually a major franchise making a gritty, dark ‘policiaco’ in the vein of  ‘Chinatown’ and the police thriller movies of David Fincher, like ‘Zodiac,’ or his take on ‘Millennium,’” said Ramos.

“I believe the novel is extraordinary and in addition to telling a great police story it touches many issues of large contemporary repercussion,” Ramos added, saying Zeta would attach a major director very shortly to put the big screen makeover into production fall 2014 for a fall 2015 release.

Of other Zeta Cinema movies, Quim Gutierrez (“The Last Days,” “Cousinhood”) will play bumbling spy Anacleto in Zeta comic book adaptation “Anacleto Secret Agent,” an espionage action-comedy helmed by Javier Ruiz Caldera (“Three Many Weddings,” “Ghost Promotion”). It shoots April.

Sony will open in Spain on Christmas Day Marcelo Pinyero’s family melodrama “Ismael,” which has just locked. Two of Spain’s biggest marquee draws, Mario Casas and Belen Rueda, star alongside Sergi Lopez and Juan Diego Botto. Film Factory will launch sales at the American Film Market.

Warner Bros. Pictures will put out in Spain over fourth quarter 2014 the 3 D toon pic “Mortadelo y Filemon contra Jimmy el Cachondo,” produced by Zeta Cinema and Madrid studio Ilion Animation.

Zeta has set January shoot dates for “Mostoles no es lo que parece, o la importancia de llamarse Encarna,” a dramatic comedy toplining Carmen Ruiz and Carmen Castano, from Vicente Villanueva (“The Opposite of Love”).

Daniel Calparsoro’s “Combustion,” a love triangle imbroglio come car-race actioner, underperformed in Spain by Zeta Cinema’s standards, grossing just $1.7 million this spring, but has near sold out worldwide, Ramos said.

That has honed Zeta’s priorities.

“We’re looking to make more family films, adapting Zeta’s comic book properties,“ Ramos said.

“But Spain’s market is shrinking. We can make local movies at the right price, but more expensive movies need to work internationally,” he added.

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