Slimmed Down Madrid de Cine Screenings Announces Lineup

Tight budget forces Spanish film screenings to cut costs, though 300 professionals due in town for Spain's main film market.

MADRID -- Hot titles like Fernando Trueba's The Artist and the Model, Miguel Courtois' Operation E, Alberto Rodriguez's Unit 7 and Fernando Gonzalez Molina's I Want You grace the lineup of the 7th Madrid de Cine-Spanish Film Screenings, which runs June 18-20.

Set against the backdrop of Spain's recent request for EU assistance to bailout ailing banks, the screenings organizers unveiled the lineup Wednesday and announced 66 buyers from 53 companies plan to descend on Madrid to vet 43 Spanish titles for acquisitions. The figures -- down from last year's 75 companies -- speak in part to the event's depleted budget.

"We haven't paid the flights for the buyers to come this year," said Spanish Producers' Federation (FAPAE) President Pedro Perez. "So I am encouraged that the companies that have bought their tickets to come are coming for business."

Madrid de Cine is backed by the Spanish Foreign Trade Institute, ICAA Film Institute, FAPAE, Madrid regional and local governments and the rights' holders entity EGEDA, which has created and facilitated its state-of-the-art Veo Spain, online screening technology for the event.

"VeoSpain's high quality and security means there are no limitations for professionals in Spain or internationally," said EGEDA president Enrique Cerezo. "The system allows screenings without having to travel."

But organizers were very clear Wednesday that what they want to travel are Spain's films.

"It is crucial to support Madrid de Cine, not just because the film and TV sector means 1% of the GNP of Spain and has a significant economic value," said ICAA chief Susana de la Sierra. "but because the image creates an image. And at this time, the image is very important."

Among the lineup, Academy Award winner Trueba's Artist is a World War II-era film, starring Gotz OttoClaudia Cardinale and Jean Rochefort.

Corrupt-cop thriller Unit 7, starring Spanish heartthrob Mario Casas and sold by Film Factory Entertainment, earned 2.3 million euros ($2.9 million) at the Spanish box office with Warner Bros. distributing, while Operation E is a promising political drama handled by DeAPlaneta. EuropaCorp recently took French rights.

I Want You, with Imagina handling international sales, is the sexy follow up to Gonzalez Molina's 2010 hit Three Steps Above Heaven, which grossed more than 8.5 million euros in Spain.

Imagina is also selling Fernando Colomo's comedy Picasso, based on the true story of how the painter was questioned in connection with the 1911 robbery of the "Mona Lisa" from the Louvre.

Other films screening include Xavi Puebla's A Puerta Fria-- starring Nick Nolte and Maria Valverde-- Gerardo Herrero's Silence in the Snow and Ventura Pons' Year of Grace.

Madrid de Cine will also feature three world premieres -- in addition to I Want You: English-language Tangernacion, thriller Vulnerable and Southern Stars.

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