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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.

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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