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TLA Releasing Takes ‘Hidden Away’ for the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

Mikel Rueda's coming-of-age gay drama, sold by Wide Management, also closes U.K., Germany, France

TLA Releasing has bought all U.S. distribution rights to Spanish helmer Mikel Rueda’s coming-of-age gay drama “Hidden Away,” sold by Paris-based Wide Management.

The U.S. deal culminates an upbeat performance by “Hidden Away” in international markets, which in recent months has seen Wide selling the pic in key European territories such as France, (Outplay Films), U.K. and Ireland (Matchbox Films) and Germany and Austria (Salzgeber).

Toplining Adil Koukouh (“El Principe”), debutant German Alcarazu, Ana Wagener (“Biutiful”) and the late Alex Angulo (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), “Hidden” is set in the northern Spanish city of Bilbao. It tells the story of the gay relationship between a 14-year-old Spaniard and a young immigrant Moroccan boy who runs away to avoid his imminent deportation.

“’Hidden Away’ is not just a film about or for the gay community. It is a film that portrays universal themes such as coming-of-age and what it is means to grow up. It is also a socially-committed film that takes a strong stand on immigration issues,” said Wide Management prexy Loic Magneron.

“We believe the director is very talented and has wrought a highly mature and amazing film. We are very happy that TLA Releasing U.S. has got involved in the project and has decided to acquire this film even though it speaks to a larger audience,” he added.

A co-production between the Basque Country’s film/TV outfit Baleuko and Bitart New Media, pic bowed October 10 in Spain, handled by Wild Bunch’s distributor Vertigo Films, garnering about Euros16,500 ($21,120) in its first weekend, a hopeful figure for a local indie title.

“This is a very heartfelt story that shows the gay love between two kids with great subtlety. We hope that it will have a great career at festivals,” said Baleuko’s exec producer Jone Landaluze.

Launched in 1993, Durango-based Baleuko has produced to date 11 toon feature films plus regular non-fiction TV programming for regional pubcaster ETB. “Hidden Away’s” hit sales represent a boost to increase company’s presence into live-action film projects eyeing the international market, Landaluze added.

“Hidden Away” had a first public screening in March at the Malaga Spanish Film Festival.

Writer-helmer Mikel Rueda previously directed Spanish Civil War drama “Stars to Wish Upon,” which world preemed at the 2010 San Sebastian Film Festival’s Zabaltegi-New Directors sidebar.

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