Notro maps out solo prod'n slate

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MADRID -- Spanish distributor and production house Notro Films on Monday mapped out its production slate for the year, and it marks a shift from the banner's former strategy of joining as co-producers on previously established projects.

"This is the next logical step for us," Notro CEO and founder Adolfo Blanco said.

"Sleuth"-like feature film "Fermat's Room" will be the first 100% Notro production and starts shooting in April. The €2.2 million ($2.9 million) suspense film is written and directed by both Luis Piedrahita and Rodrigo Sopena and stars Santi Millan, Elena Ballesteros and Federico Luppi.

Next up is "Lavapies," a €2.2 million comedy based on a script by Jacobo Bergareche. Director and cast have yet to be decided.

Additionally, the company has taken a minority stake in Michael Hoffman's upcoming "The Last Station," starring Meryl Streep and Anthony Hopkins.

Until now, Notro has limited itself in film to a distributor or co-production credit -- as in the case of the Cannes 2006 entry "Honor de Cavalleria." In television, however, it has moved full-throttle into production with "Los Simuladores," "Nada por Aqui," "Brainiac" and "Territorio Champion."

The move to ramp up its film production follows Spanish media group Avanzit's acquisition of Notro last month. Notro partner Jose Maria Irisarri is now president of Avanzit's media holding Cesca.

Despite the Madrid-based Avanzit's control of Notro, Blanco said the Barcelona-based company would continue its production activity in Spain's northeastern Catalan region where it is located. The Catalan region is particularly generous with production assistance for its local producers.
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