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Universal To Handle Paz Vega’s Thriller “Ignorancia” in Spain

Spanish pubcaster RTVE invests in 18 film projects

SAN SEBASTIAN Universal Pictures International will distribute in Spain the Paz Vega-starring thriller “La ignorancia de la sangre,” helmed by vet Spanish director Manuel Gomez Pereira.

Produced by Gerardo Herrero, topper of Madrid-based Tornasol Films, the Euros4 million ($5.4 million) project shots fromOct. 27 in Seville. Cast also includes Hugo Silva (“Witching and Bitching”) and Juan Diego Botto (“Frozen Silence”).

Based on a novel by British author Robert Wilson, “Ignorancia” turns on the kidnapping of a son of the character played by Paz Vega. The Andalusia-set story mixes Russian mafia with Islamic terrorism, Herrero said at San Sebastian.

Ignorancia” represents one of a clutch of new 18 pre-buys unveiled by TVE, the TV division of Spanish pubcaster RTVE, at a joint press conference with Spanish production sector umbrella assn. Fapae held Thursday at the San Sebastian Festival.

The feature pack, which represent a substantial part of Spain’s 2014 film production slate, also include director Javier Ruiz Caldera’s spy action comedy “Anacleto Secret Agent,” produced by Francisco Ramos at Zeta Cinema; Gerardo Olivares’s “El faro de las orcas,” from Wanda Films; Agusti Villaronga’s Cuba-set erotic drama “The King of Havana,” a co-production with Monica Lozano’s Alebrije Cine in Mexico; and black comedy “Murieron por encima de sus posibilidades,” from San Sebastian Golden Shell 2011 winner Isaki Lacuesta.

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TV finance, mixed with tax breaks and international sales, is now driving much of movie financing in Spain, repping a make-o-break for a movie’s greenlight.

RTVE’s project announcements came as Fapae representatives – led for the first time an a press conference in San Sebastian by FAPAE’s new prexy, Basque producer Joxe Portela – played up the most recent figures of Spain’s fast contracting film and TV sectors.

Jose Antonio Felez, a Fapae board member, revealed that the film and TV sector turnover dropped 15% last year; job in the sector also decreased 12%.

Through Sept. 15, Spanish films’ quota at their local B.O. fell 11.3% vs. 2012; feature films shoots in Spain plunged 28% to 92, Felez added.

By year end, our quota will probably be under 2012’s of 19.5%. However, with strong Spanish titles launching over the next weeks, we hope to reach at least 15%,” Portela said.

However, there was also room for optimism, coming from the international sales figures.

Spanish film sales abroad grew 19.9% last year through $67.5 million; TV sales at the international market reached $59.4 million, increasing 6.6%.

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