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San Sebastian: Basque Distributor Barton Films Nabs Spanish Rights to Three New Directors Contenders (EXCLUSIVE)

The Bilbao-based company raises its international acquisitions volume, continues its bet on Basque productions

Pushing into international acquisitions, Bilbao-based distributor Barton Films has picked up Spanish distribution rights to three films playing at the 66th San Sebastian Festival’s New Directors sidebar.

Barton’s most recent international-title release slate is headed by “The Third Wife,” the feature debut by New York and Vietnam-based Ash Mayfair, which recently won the Netpac award at the Toronto Film Festival.

A second buy, “A Decent Man,” by Romanian Hadrian Marcu, highlighted at the first edition of San Sebastian’s Glocal in Progress showcase in 2017, toplines Bogdan Dumitrache, winner last year of a San Sebastian Silver Shell for best actor for Constantin Popescu’s “Pororoca,” another Barton Films pickup.

Ismet Sijarina’s “Cold November,” a Kosovo-Albania-Republic of Macedonia co-production world premiering at New Directors, is a family drama based on real events in the turbulent times after Yugoslavia abolishes Kosovan autonomous institutions in 1990.

“Increasing the volume of independent international movies acquisitions, we see a market opportunity, but we continue betting hundred percent on Basque films,” says Barton head of acquisitions Unai Fernández.

At San Sebastian, Barton is also presenting two Basque titles: Fermín Muguruza’s adult animated feature “Black Is Beltza,” that closes the Zinemira section, and Victor Cabaco’s “Vitoria, 3 de marzo,” about the tragic 1976 events in Vitoria where five workers were killed by police. It screens Sept. 26 at a gala organized by Basque pubcaster EITB.

“The San Sebastian Festival is crucial for us, it represents the biggest promotional platform for our film releases,” Fernández recognized.

With theatrical distribution as its main source of revenue, the 35-year-old company has a film-by-film co-distribution partnership with Barcelona-based mini-major Filmax , that sees Filmax launching titles in the rest of Spain an important part of the Basque films acquired by Barton.

Upcoming releases under this close relationship, scheduled to bow during 2019, takes in Ángel Alonso’s animated feature “Elcano, la primera vuelta al mundo,“ produced by Dibulitoon Studio; Fernando Bernués’ “El hijo del acordeonista,” a film adaptation of Bernardo Atxaga’s same-title novel, and Asier Altuna and Telmo Esnal’s “Agur Etxebeste,” a Irusion production, and sequel to 2005 comedy smash hit “Aupa Etxebeste,” a milestone in modern Basque cinema

In parallel, Barton sub-distributes in the north of Spain films acquired by Filmax and by Madrid-based arthouse distribution house Caramel Films.

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