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‘Smoke & Mirrors,’ ‘Jota,’ ‘100 Meters’ Lead Madrid de Cine Dealing (EXCLUSIVE)

Spain’s annual export mart sees deals go down, announced on a brace of titles

Bosch, the Garden of Dream
Courtesy of Latido Films

MADRID — Alberto Rodriguez’s “Smoke & Mirrors,” Carlos Saura’s “La Jota” and Marcel Barrena’s “100 Meters” cut three of the highest-profile deals at an upbeat Spanish Screenings-Madrid de Cine, which wrapped Wednesday.

The three-day Spanish cinema sales market was a small event in comparison to its French and British counterparts, UniFrance’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in January and this month’s London Screenings. That said, a healthy number of deals went down, highlighting some upcoming titles which look set to hit big festivals and Spain’s box office from this late summer.

Based on a corruption scandal which helped oust former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez’s socialist government from power in 1996, the Film Factory-sold espionage thriller “Smoke & Mirrors” closed in Madrid with Italy’s Movies Inspired.

Antoine Zeind’s A-Z Films bought Canada rights at the Spanish Screenings. Warner Bros. distributes in Spain. Ad Vitam, a Paris-based distributor of breakout Academy Award winners such as “Son of Saul” and “Whiplash,” has already acquired rights for France. All four deals include commitments for the film’s theatrical release, said Film Factory’s Vicente Canales. Warner Bros. releases “Smoke & Mirrors,” one of Spain’s biggest box-office hopes for 2016, on Sept. 23.

Musical docu-feature “La Jota” is directed by Saura, the leading light of Spain’s 1960s’ Nuevo Cine Español, Spain’s equivalent of France’s Nouvelle Vague. It presents a score of choreographed, studio-performed songs and dances from Saura’s native Aragon in northern Spain which range from ancient pieces to contemporary avant-garde. It was sold by Latido Films to France’s Epicentre Films in another on-site Madrid de Cine sale.

A Paris-based distributor, Epicentre has also acquired French rights to the Latido-sold “Bosch, The Garden of Dreams,” directed by Jose Luis Lopez Linares, a docu-feature which punctures bogus explanations of Bosch’s extraordinary painting “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” The deal was clinched by Stephane Sorlat at the film’s French co-producer, Mondex et Cie. “Bosch” also has an offer on the table from Italy, Latido Films head Antonio Saura, the director’s son, said at the Spanish Screenings.

In another banner Spanish Screening deal, Barcelona-based Filmax International, the sales arm of Spain’s mini-major Filmax Group, also licensed dramedy “100 Meters” to A-Z Films in Canada.

A Filmax co-production with Portugal’s MGN Filmes helmed by first-timer Marcel Barrena, “100 Meters” toplines Dani Rovira and Karra Elejalde, two of the stars of local box-office juggernauts “Spanish Affair” and “Spanish Affair 2,” the tale of a Spanish athlete battling multiple sclerosis. Filmax is positioning “100 Meters” as Spain’s “The Untouchables.” Ascot Elite has already picked up rights for Germany.

Two decades  ago, Filmax carved out an international name for itself producing and exporting horror pics from its pioneering Fantastic Factory. As the DVD business has declined, the Barcelona-based company now sells a far more diversified slate of relationship and psychological dramas and romantic comedies. Some, such as 2015’s “Truman,” with Ricardo Darin, have broken out to bullish results abroad.

Gone are the days, too, when a foreign-language title could be brought to one international market and practically sell out there. Business and deal announcements at the Spanish Screenings show sales agents selling titles piecemeal over multiple market events. Some further salient deals announced in Madrid:

*Mexico’s Gussi has acquired all Latin American rights to Antonio Chavarrias’ historical thriller “The Chosen,” turning on a Spanish Stalinist’s extraordinary assassination of Leon Trotsky. Filmax’s Ivan Diaz said Germany and France are now under discussion.

*Moscow-based Russian World Vision took all Russian rights to Miguel Angel Lamata’s romantic comedy “Our Lovers,” co-starring Eduardo Noriega (“Sweetwater”) and Michelle Jenner (“Isabel”).

*David Castellano’s Cinema Republic closed Norwegian rights with distributor As Fidalgo on Arturo Ruiz’s Spanish Civil War-set thriller “The Exile.”

*Madrid-based outfit El Gato Persa is fielding offers from South Korea, Bulgaria and Brazil for the fashion world-set comedy “Paranoid Girls,” the feature debut of photographer-turned-filmmaker Pedro del Santo’s. The winner of a Special Jury Award at 2016’s WorldFest Houston, “Paranoid Girls” was acquired some months back by Somos TV for the U.S. pay-TV market in a deal struck by Los Angeles sales agent House of Film. Latter’s distributor Area 23A is now in advanced negotiations for a U.S. theatrical release, Pedro del Santo told Variety at Madrid de Cine.