Spanish cinema to show off its wares

Madrid de Cine Spanish Film Screenings kick off Sunday

MADRID -- The message Spanish cinema is pushing about itself these days is that there is an industry beyond the familiar names of Pedro Almodovar and Alejandro Amenabar. And as the Madrid de Cine Spanish Film Screenings kick off Sunday, the industry is looking to show buyers there's more to Spanish cinema than its two favorite sons.

"It was very important that Isabel Coixet was in Competition at Cannes," said Beatriz Setuain of Imagina Sales, which will screen its thriller "25 Karats." "That generates more interest in the industry from abroad and we can show how international and varied our productions are."

Organized by Spain's Producers Federation, FAPAE, this year's screenings will showcase more than 50 recent Spanish productions to 132 buyers from 31 countries, including 11 confirmed acquisition executives from the U.S.

Sellers agree that while they would prefer the dates to be somewhere in winter, coming straight after Cannes has its benefits.

"It's a great occasion for buyers to focus on some of the better Spanish movies that were not highlighted in Cannes and will definitely appear in other festivals," said Latido chief Massimo Saidel, who will be screening the possibly San Sebastian-bound erotic drama "Paper Castles," directed by Salvador Garcia Ruiz, and the boxoffice hit "Sex, Lies and Party."

"We make it a policy to always premiere a film at the Madrid de Cine screenings," Saidel said, referring to his market premiere of Gerardo Herrero's "Night Runner."

Spanish companies use the screenings to strut their stuff, such as Dygra Films, which has organized an event to screen a trailer of its digital 3D "Holy Night." The film, which uses the same technology as "Monsters vs. Aliens," is Spain's first digital 3D animation. Dygra has organized the event at a nearby Kineopolis multiplex that has 3D projection technology.

"It's very important that people can see the trailer in a theater in the best conditions," said Dygra's Lucas Mackey, whose company is on the hunt for an international distribution partner. "This is a very high quality product that speaks for itself when you see it in person."

The event, which is held in Madrid's Princesa theaters, is sponsored by Spain's Foreign Trade Institute, the Culture Ministry's Film Institute, the Producers' Rights Management Entity EGEDA, Madrid Film Commission and Madrid Chamber of Commerce.

Some of the buyers confirmed to attend include: the U.S.'s Venevision International, Magnolia Pictures, Lionsgate, TLA Entertainment, Strand Releasing, Outside Pictures, LAPTV, Sundance Channel and Regent; France's Indie Circle, MK2, Ocean Films, Rezofilms and TF1; Germany's Kinowelt International, Kool Film distribution, Senator, Arsenal and Universum Film; Japan's Nettai Museum, Only Hearts, Tokyo International Film Festival and Cetera; and, the U.K.'s Skyline-IFE, Soda Pictures, Dogwoof and Spafax.

Even though some sellers are already grumbling that non-Spanish companies capitalized on the occasion to hawk their wares -- in competition to Spanish companies -- the general view going into the event is optimistic and confident.

"Madrid de Cine is an interesting opportunity for international buyers to see the tremendous innovation coming from Spain," Mackey said.
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