Warner Finds an ‘Isla’ in Spain (EXCLUSIVE)

Spanish thesps Raul Arevalo, Antonio de la Torre star in Alberto Rodriguez's thriller

Antonio de la Torre, Raul Arevalo

SAN SEBASTIAN — Underscoring its large commitment to handling Spanish films in the local market, Warner Bros. International Pictures Spain has taken theatrical and home entertainment rights to Alberto Rodriguez’s cop thriller “Isla Minima.”

Produced by Jose Antonio Felez’s Atipica Films, Atresmedia Cine and Sacromonte Films, “Isla Minima” rolls from Sept. 30 for eight weeks in Andalusia’s marshy lowlands around the Guadalquivir River, known as Las Marismas.

A top-notch Spanish cast includes Raul Arevalo (“I’m So Excited!”), Antonio de la Torre (“Family United,” “Cannibal”), Javier Gutierrez (“Zip & Zap and The Marble Gang”), Jesus Carroza (“The Mule”) and Jesus Castro (“El nino”).

Set in late 1980 during Spain’s political transition from Francoist dictatorship to democracy, “Isla Minima” turns on two Madrid-based policemen who investigate the disappearance of young girls in Andalusia, producer Jose Antonio Felez said at the San Sebastian Festival.

The scenery plays a very important part in the film, enhancing the concept of “Isla minima” (literally “Minimum Island”) as an isolated place.

“Alberto Rodriguez sets the action in a historical moment, which will allow him to portrait the reality of the recent Spain, giving the project a greater veracity,” Felez added.

Helmer Rodriguez’s Atipica-produced, hard-boiled action thriller “Unit 7” notched up critical plaudits and a standout $3.2 million B.O. in 2012, distribbed by Warner Bros..

Budgeted at around $5.5 million, including P&A, “Isla Minima” marks a further step in the close relationship between Warners and both Atipica Films and Atresmedia Cine.

The three partners’ prior joint project, Daniel Sanchez Arevalo’s “Family United,” grossed a standout first-12-day $2.2 million through Tuesday at a fast contracting Spanish box office.

In Spain, Warners follows the strategy established by Richard Fox, Warner Bros. exec v.p. Intl., of betting on local film productions in main international markets.

“We have always been quite involved in Spanish film production. Over the last eight years, we were the top distributor for Spanish films at the local B.O. except for one year,” Pablo Nogueroles, director general, Warner Bros. Pictures Intl., Spain, said at San Sebastian.

“We distribute five-to-six Spanish films a year. To invest in Spanish cinema is a nice complement and a good business,” he added.

Paybox Canal Plus and regional pubcaster Canal Sur have also joined “Isla Minima.”

Pic will be ready for delivery by October 2014.