BARCELONA – LAAB – the Audiovisual Adaptations Laboratory of Barcelona – celebrated its first edition on July 9 in the Spanish city, with the aim of establishing a catalog of film rights to literary works from Barcelona, a publishing center in the Spanish-speaking world and platform, for example, for the ‘60s-70s Latin American Boom, led by authors such as Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

The initiative was backed by the Barcelona Cultural Institute (ICUB) and organized by the Barcelona Film Commission. Producer Sebastián Mery at Life and Pictures (Eugenio Mira’s “The Birthday,” Haritz Zubillaga’s “The Glass Coffin”) co-ordinated the event.

The one-day presentation included a networking session with one-to-one meetings and the presentation of six cinema development awards.

The LAAB idea inherits the mantle of Barcelona’s MIDA Ibero-American Audiovisual Rights market, a showcase for novels seeking big screen adaptations. Launched in 2006, the short-lived but highly-regarded event, which saw its last edition in 2009, was instrumental in the sale of big-screen rights for hits such as Daniel Monzón’s “Cell 211” (pictured), one of Spain’s biggest B.O. breakouts of recent years, earning $15.6 million at Spanish theaters..

The lineup for the first LAAB takes in 43 literary works. selected by an expert committee under the guidance of MIDA founder Pere Roca. Accessible online, the selection includes Lluís-Anton Baulenas’ “El nas de Mussolini” (Mussolini’s Nose) Coia Valls’ “El Mercader” (The Merchant) and Rosa Ribas’ “La detective miope” (The Myopic Detective).

Rights holders of six titles are granted $5,600 development awards.

Awarded titles include Maite Carranza’s “La película de la vida” (The Movie of Life), Macip Garzón’s “Herba negra” (Black Weed) and Sofía Ros’ “Mi casa en llamas” (My Home on Fire).

“Producers should be very happy to have the opportunity to approach 43 Intellectual Properties, all at once, which have been examined by script and adaptation experts at the LAA. This provides a first filter and source of ‘legitimization’ on the way to becoming a cinema work,” Mery told Variety.

The event’s organizers plan an at least yearly LAAB call for admissions.

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