U.S. adoption for Spanish 'Orphanage'

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Picturehouse, the joint venture between HBO and New Line Cinema, obtained the keys to hot Spanish thriller "The Orphanage" on Monday, taking U.S. rights in one of the highest-profile acquisitions at this year's European Film Market.

Picturehouse president Bob Berney said the heat on the film was turned up after promo footage unspooled at the festival here. "Orphanage" is being sold in Berlin by French sales house Wild Bunch.

"It's a real discovery picture with a first-time director, first-time writer and first-time DOP," Berney said.

Directed by J.A. Bayona, "Orphanage" is written by Sergio G. Sanchez and produced by Guillermo del Toro, Mar Targarona, Alvaro Augustin and Joaquin Padro.

"Guillermo really has shepherded this project through and the director is a truly brilliant discovery," Berney said.

The movie centers on Laura, who purchases her childhood orphanage with dreams of restoring the long-abandoned facility as a place for disabled children. Once there, she discovers that the new environment awakens her son's imagination, but the ongoing fantasy games he plays with an invisible friend quickly turn into something more disturbing.
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