Mexico distrib launches production arm

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MORELIA, Mexico -- Quality Films, one of Mexico's top independent distributors, is set to launch a production arm next year.

Luis Calzada, chief executive of the Mexico City-based company, said Quality already has several projects lined up.

In March, production is slated to begin on teen comedy "Paradas Continuas" (Continuous Stops), with helmer Gustavo Loza attached to the project. Loza's "Al Otro Lado," which tells three separate stories that share a common migration theme, was selected as Mexico's foreign-language Oscar submission in 2005.

Quality will co-produce the $1.5-million production with Mexican shingle Altavista Films. The story centers on several high school students who make use of minivan by renting it out as if it were a hotel room.

Also in the pipeline is "El Vuelo de Pinocho" (The Flight of Pinocchio). Juan Jose Diaz and Lilia Soto penned the script. Quality bought the screenplay with Altavista Films.

"El Vuelo" tells the true story of a boy who builds a plane in the 1930s so that he can realize his dream to fly. The $2.5-million production is expected to begin next year. Quality is still in the process of selecting the director and cast.

Considered one of Mexico's leading independent distributors, Quality will bow about 40 films in theaters this year and release some 70 home-video titles. Quality benefits from a joint venture with Televisa-owned Videocine. When the two companies acquire films together, Videocine distributes them theatrically while Quality handles the DVD release.

Quality now plans to produce about two features a year. Calzada said Quality is looking to use a new tax incentive that allows producers to have up to 10% of their income tax payments relocated into film production.

"Many people in the industry here are taking advantage of this new tax incentive," Calzada said.
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