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5 December 2000

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  • 101 Reykjavik whips up a storm in Norway

    Icelandic feature 101 Reykjavik, directed by Baltasar Kormakur, made an impressive entry into the Norwegian box office in fifth place. The film, distributed by SEG, grossed $49,154 from eight screens during its first week on release, easily beating fellow opener Urban Legends: Final Cut, distributed by ECT, which made $33,423 from 15 screens during the same period. 101 Reykjavik maintained its strong position in the Norwegian box office over the weekend of Nov 24-26, by g
  • Almost Blue

    Dir: Alex Infascelli. Italy. 2000. 90 mins.Prod co: Cecchi Gori Group. Int'l sales: Cecchi Gori (+39 06 3247 2244). Prod: Vittorio Cecchi Gori. Scr: Sergio Donati, Alex Infascelli, based on the book by Carlo Lucarelli. DoP: Arnaldo Catinari. Prod des: Eugenia di Napoli. Editor: Valentina Girodo. Music: Massimo Volume. Main cast: Lorenza Indovina, Claudio Santamaria, Rolando Ravello, Andrea di Stefano, Dario D'Ambrosi, Marco Giallini.Better late than never, Italian cinema
  • Angela's Ashes, Saltwater triumph at Irish awards

    Alan Parker's Angela's Ashes and Conor McPherson's Saltwater between them took four of the six film prizes given out by the Irish Film and Television Academy at its second annual awards ceremony on Sunday night.The Academy was set up three years ago to foster recognition of Irish talent and expertise in the fast-growing film and television output of the island as a whole.Angela's Ashes beat competition from Peter Sheridan's Borstal Boy and Pat Murphy'
  • Angelina Speare named executive vp at Warner

    Angelina Speare has been promoted to the newly created position of executive vice president, international operations & finance, at Warner Bros Pictures. She will oversee the day-to-day operations, business development and financial planning and reporting for the international arm of Warner Bros as well as the company's international regional offices and affiliates.Speare will report directly to Richard Fox, executive vice president, international at Warner Bros and work closely with
  • Artificial Eye, Metro Tartan unite for UK video

    Artificial Eye Film Distribution and Metro Tartan Films - two of the leading independent distributors of non-English language films in the notoriously tough UK market - are banding together to set up a jointly owned video company.The operation will be headed by Mike Flello, currently head of Fox World Cinema, and is to launch next spring. Along with pooling titles from Metro Tartan's video arm Tartan Video and Artificial Eye, the partners aim to represent video and DVD titles from thir
  • Australia's Showtime bags rights to Star Wars pics

    All four Star Wars movies will be shown on Australian pay-TV channel Showtime next year, following a deal between Showtime parent company Premium Movie Partnership (PMP) and 20th Century Fox. PMP chief executive Bob Donoghue believes it will be the first time that all four films will be shown as a group on television. The first three were withdrawn from the small screen almost a decade ago."It will be a very big subscriber driver. I am very pleased with the way it has worked out
  • Carlton set to sell Technicolor within weeks

    UK media company Carlton Communications is close to a deal to sell its Technicolor unit, the company said on Tuesday.The company said the film duplication and DVD production operation could be sold off within weeks, a move which would end months of speculation. Carlton put Technicolor on the block last year as part of an aborted plan to merge with fellow media concern United News & Media.The statement came as the company unveiled pre-tax profit this year before digital investmen
  • Civilian Content appoints Auty as director

    In a key managerial move at UK National Lottery studio franchise The Film Consortium, chief executive Chris Auty has become a director of Civilian Content, the media operation which agreed to buy the franchise this year.The appointment, which takes place with immediate effect, is expected to bolster the franchise's position within the Civilian combine, which has styled its acquisition of the consortium as a merger rather than a take-over in spirit. Auty is to work alongside Richard Hol
  • Costanzo to head Fininvest's cross media unit

    Mediatrade president Maurizio Costanzo has been appointed head of Veleno (Venom), the new company recently launched as Cross Media Factory by Italian media giant Fininvest, with the aim of seeking synergies between its publishing, internet, film and television arms.Veleno aims to be a "factory of ideas," that will draw on the four companies owned by Silvio Berlusconi's media empire: film company Medusa, TV group Mediaset, publisher Mondadori and internet portal Jumpy. "We intend to hav
  • Crouching Tiger sweeps Golden Horse Awards

    Ang Lee's Oscar-tipped Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon walked away with six awards including best picture at the Golden Horse Awards - Taiwan's equivalent of the Oscars - on Saturday night.The picture's other five awards were all in the technical categories and included best sound effects, best action choreography, best original film score, best film editing and best visual effects. Crouching Tiger has been chosen as Taiwan's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar
  • D'Amico appointed to IN-motion board

    Kirk D'Amico, president of Myriad Pictures and J&M Entertainment, has been appointed a board member of Frankfurt-based entertainment concern IN-motion, which has acquired both Myriad and J&M since floating on Germany's Neuer Markt in August.D'Amico and IN-motion's Philip von Alvensleben will be responsible at board level for the company's film and TV operations.Prior to founding Myriad, D'Amico served as executive vice president for worldwide sales and co-productions at Village
  • Digital satellite broadcasts go live in Japan

    Regular broadcasts started aboard Japan's new digital broadcast satellite (BS) on December 1, bringing high-definition and data programming to 1.2 million Japanese households. Among the 20 broadcasters taking part in the launch were five new BS stations backed by the commercial networks, as well as BS veterans NHK, Wowow and Star Channel, a 24-hour movie channel. In their first 1,000 days of operation, BS broadcasters hope to raise the number of viewing households to 10 million, or nea
  • Dragotto re-teams with Hausfater at Intermedia

    Former Buena Vista Film Sales (BVFS) vice president Michael Dragotto is re-uniting with his erstwhile boss Jere Hausfater at sales, financing and production entity Intermedia.Dragotto takes up the newly-created position of executive vice-president, motion picture group, worldwide distribution. He will report to Jere Hausfater, who previously headed BVFS.The appointment comes as Intermedia is beefing up its Los Angeles operation as its increases its focus on studio-level fare fol
  • Epsilon acquires European rights to Franchise trio

    Kirch and Mediaset's joint venture for big-budget productions, Epsilon Motion Pictures (Emotion), has selected the first three projects to kick off its distribution pact with Franchise Pictures: Michael Caton-Jones' City By The Sea, Antonio Banderas-starrer Ecks vs. Sever and David Goyer's directorial debut Zigzag.Emotion signed a deal in October to take Continental European distribution rights to certain Franchise titles. Franchise's regular European distribution
  • FilmFour lassoes Pope as Cowboy ramps up slate

    FilmFour and UK production outfit Cowboy Films have struck a first-look deal for the next project from The Crow: City Of Angels director Tim Pope.Cowboy and FilmFour are still to choose a project, but Pope is expected to put a title into development within a year. The production will form part of a fresh slate at the rapidly expanding Cowboy, which Pope founded with producer Lisa Bryer.The company has also appointed UK producer Charles Steel, formally of Amy Foster's prod
  • Germany's F.A.M.E. in talks to tap film funds

    Munich-based film and music production house F.A.M.E. Film & Music Entertainment, which floated on Frankfurt's Neuer Markt at the end of August, is in talks with two German media funds to support its push into international co-productions.As F.A.M.E. board member Michael Bischoff explained, changes in German tax legislation have meant that several German film funds are now looking to invest in local productions rather than channel all of their finance into projects in Hollywood. "Sever
  • Granada comes in at lower end of expected profits

    The UK's Granada Media reported on Wednesday full-year operating profit at the lower end of expectations.Operating profit rose to $360m, down on analysts' forecasts setting the expected sum as high as $386m. Pre-tax earnings were up 11% to $395m, while advertising turnover rose 8.4%.Granada, which floated out of Granada Group in July, said November advertising revenue was up. The operation had been hit by concerns over falling advertising income. Granada added that it
  • Grinch steals pole position from Charlie's Angels

    Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas opened at the top of the UK chart with a healthy $4,408,344 (£3,063,799) from 430 sites, defying expectations that it would receive a cold reception outside the US where the Dr Seuss series of children's books are not as well known.The film performed much better in the UK than Jim Carrey's other offerings this year: Me, Myself And Irene, which took $1.88m from 357 sites when it opened in the UK in September, and Man On Th
  • HBO acquires KWA's San Bernardo

    Madrid-based sales agent Kevin Williams Associates (KWA) has sold pay-TV rights on Spanish-language romantic comedy Saint Bernard (San Bernardo) to HBO USA.The deal reflects the growing commerciability of Spanish cinema, which was on display last week at the Spanish Film Screenings for Europe, held Nov 29-Dec 1 in Lanzarote. KWA represented eight of the 29 titles which screened in Lanzarote.Williams also closed a deal during the Screenings to state broadcaster Romanian Te
  • Holland, Croatia get film seasons in New York, LA

    Film seasons from The Netherlands and Croatia have been scheduled in the US next month. Dutch Treats 2000: New Films From Holland presents ten recent films at the Quad Cinema in New York (Dec 1-7), while Wednesdays In Croatia (Nov 29-Dec 20) screens classic and new Croatian films kicking off with Oscar submission Marshal Tito's Spirit at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles.Dutch Treats, presented by Holland Film in collaboration with American Premieres, a New York-based promoti

    He used to peddle tobacco and likes to keep a low profile. Hardly suitable qualifications, one would think, for taking over from one of the most colourful and controversial executives in Spanish corporate history. Yet, writes Jennifer Green, Cesar Alierta has made a positive impression in a short time as the new boss of Telefonica.The appointment four months ago of Cesar Alierta as the replacement for Telefonica chairman Juan Villalonga quickly gave rise to fears in the S
  • Indian producer Sippy honoured at Mumbai fest

    Veteran Indian film producer G.P. Sippy received a life-time achievement award from the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI) at the third edition of the increasingly important Mumbai International Film Festival (November 23-30). Sippy, who produced India's biggest hit Sholay in 1975, said he had never received a life-time achievement award. "I know I will never ever receive another one," he added. "This is a wonderful feeling". Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drago
  • India's Adlabs to raise $12m via flotation

    Mumbai-based film processing laboratory, Adlabs Films Ltd, which is opening India's first IMAX theatre in partnership with the Canadian large-format pioneer, plans to raise $12m via an IPO on the Mumbai Stock Exchange.Adlabs said it would use the proceeds of the issue to part-finance the Mumbai IMAX complex, which is scheduled to open this month, and modernise its Mumbai processing facility.Adlabs expects most of its revenues for the next two years to come from its processing bu
  • Israeli film-makers launch funding campaign

    A group of Israeli film-makers, led by veteran producer Marek Rozenbaum and Rennen Schor, head of the Sam Spiegel Film School in Jerusalem, have launched a lobby group to secure more public funding for Israeli features.Prompted by the success of a similar campaign to increase funding for Israeli documentaries, the feature film lobby group has drafted a declaration, stressing the importance of movie fiction as the most representative of Israeli art forms. The group is temporarily operat
  • Istituto Luce, Medusa unveil 2001 line-up

    Italian mini-majors Medusa and Istituto Luce have announced their distribution slates for the second half of 2001.Medusa, part of Silvio Berlusconi's media empire Fininvest, will be handling high-profile US titles such as Tony Scott's Spy Game, starring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford; Bounce, directed by Don Roos and starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck; Carl Franklin's High Crimes, with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd; Joel Coen's The Barber Project and
  • Kinowelt, Der Spiegel mull joint TV venture

    German mini-major Kinowelt is considering joining forces with the on-line arm of weekly magazine Der Spiegel and Alexander Kluge's Development Company for TV Programmes (DCTP) to set up an ad-financed TV channel, tentatively named IDE, in Berlin from next spring.According to the marketing weekly magazine w&v, the station, which intends to become "the third force in private television" to compete with the two camps of broadcasting interests controlled by Kirch and Bertelsm
  • Kirch acquires blocking stake in EM.TV

    Germany's Kirch Group has taken a minority blocking stake in beleaguered family entertainment rights trader EM.TV & Merchandising, which has seen its share price plummet in the last week, in reaction to a profit warning and disappointing third quarter figures.Although Kirch was expected to acquire a majority stake, EM.TV announced at a press conference on Monday (December 4), that the German media giant will now hold 16.74% of its equity and 25% of voting rights. CEO Thomas Haffa will
  • Kirk Douglas to be honoured at Berlin

    Veteran Hollywood actor Kirk Douglas will be honoured with a Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at next year's Berlin International Film Festival (February 7-18). Douglas will receive the award on February 16 before a special festival screening of his 1957 film Paths Of Glory in the Berlinale Palast Theatre at Potsdamer Platz.Commenting on the award, outgoing festival director Moritz de Hadeln said: "Kirk Douglas unmistakably embodies the quintessence of 'the pioneering
  • Kroll and Kwan-Rubinek head Warner International

    Warner Bros Pictures has named two executives to replace Ed Frumkes as heads of its international distribution and marketing division. Sue Kroll has been named president, international marketing, and Veronika Kwan-Rubinek president, international distribution, reporting to Alan Horn, president & COO of the studio through Richard Fox, executive vice president, international.Kroll's responsibilities include oversight of the creation and execution of marketing, advertising, media planning
  • Lanzarote's Spanish Screenings start to mature

    The Spanish Film Screenings for Europe (Nov 29-Dec 1) closed a successful second edition Friday night on the Canary Island of Lanzarote. Sales were few, but general consensus praised the event as a budding force for making contacts and launching Spanish cinema. The use of DVD technology and the concentration in a single venue meant the Screenings came off with fewer technical and organisational glitches than last year's flawed inaugural edition. "This event is increasingly becoming
  • Lions Gate posts profitable quarter for Jul-Sept

    Lions Gate Entertainment has posted net income of $0.5m for the second quarter of 2001 ending Sept 30, 2000. Revenues were $66.5m, net earnings were $2.6m minus a non-cash operating loss of $2.1m in Mandalay Pictures and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) was $5.3m. The results mark Lions Gate's fifth straight quarter of profitability excluding its equity interest in the losses of Mandalay.Lions Gate's 45% equity investment in Mandalay - which coul
  • London Turkish fest expands programme

    This month's expanded London Turkish Film Festival will screen films ranging from Nuri Bilge Ceylan's critically-acclaimed Clouds Of May to Gani Mujde's Turkish box-office hit Byzantium.Now in its eighth year, the event has expanded from one to two weeks, while films will tour other London and regional cinemas for the first time. The festival runs from Friday 8 to Thursday 21 December.Attending the event are Ayse Polat, director of Tour Abroad, Halit Refig,
  • Lucky Red takes Good Machine's Series 7

    Italian distribution and production outfit Lucky Red has picked up Good Machine International's Big Brother meats the thriller genre film, Series 7: The Contenders.Written and directed by Daniel Minahan, Series 7 is about six people chosen in a lottery by a TV programme to kill each other for a cash prize. Good Machine has also sold the title to international distributors including the UK's FilmFour.The acquisition forms part of a trio of pick ups at the ren
  • Marceau lights up Belgrade's Festival of Auteurs

    French star Sophie Marceau flew in from Paris to attend the screening of Fidelity on the closing night of the International Festival of Films D'Auteurs (Nov 23 - 30) in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.Marceau, who was accompanied by the film's director, Ukrainian-born Andrzej Zulawski, plays a photographer hired by a sleaze merchant to add class to one his scandal sheets. She also added glitz to an event more usually attended by no-nonsense film buffs and Belgrade film students. The
  • MGM in talks to launch pay channel in Germany

    MGM Worldwide Television Group is in talks to launch a movie channel in Germany, according to Financial Times Deutschland.Simon Sutton, MGM Worldwide TV's senior vice president, international pay & free television, said in an interview that negotiations with the Kirch group had recently stalled and new talks are underway with Deutsche Telekom and Herbert Kloiber's Telemuenchen.MGM already operates 10 joint venture channels outside the US with partners including France's T
  • MTV Germany chief in talks to take helm of TM3

    Following weeks of speculation about her departure, MTV Germany chief Christiane zu Salm has confirmed that she is to leave her post, and is in "advanced negotiations" to head News Corp-owned channel TM3.News Corp took control of TM3, by buying out Herbert Kloiber's TeleMuenchen, earlier this year, but the former women's channel has been on the block ever since. The Kirch Group and German shopping channel HOT Networks, owned by ex-ProSieben CEO Georg Kofler and Leo Kirch's son Thomas,
  • Overseas Filmgroup acquires rights to Swimming

    Overseas Filmgroup has acquired international sales rights to Swimming, a drama about friendship and love set in a small Carolina town. Starring Lauren Ambrose, Jennifer Dundas Lowe and Joelle Carter, the film is directed by Robert J Siegel and has played at a host of film festivals including Rotterdam, Seattle, Chicago, Karlovy Vary, Flanders, Fort Lauderdale, St Louis, San Francisco Gay & Lesbian and Santa Barbara.Ambrose won the Grand Jury Prize for Outstanding Actress at OU
  • Papandrea to head production at Mirage UK

    Mirage Enterprises is expected to appoint Bruna Papandrea to head production and development at its London-based operation under director Anthony Minghella.Papandrea, who is likely to relocate from Australia to the UK in January, recently produced Better Than Sex with Frank Cox. The comedy romance charts what happens after a one-night stand.The 29-year old producer's debut feature was 1997 video horror-suspense flick Lifebreath, which she co-produced.Amongst
  • Pathe passes review despite production shortfall

    Despite acknowledging that it may have been overly ambitious in its original production goals, UK National Lottery studio franchise Pathe Pictures has sailed through its mid-term review by film super-body the Film Council.The greenlight, which means Pathe can download the rest of its six-year lottery award of $48m (£33.12m), comes despite the franchise having produced only nine films to date. The franchise said in its original application for lottery funding that it aimed to make 35 fi
  • Planeta appoints Spinetta for production move

    Planeta 2010, the start-up multimedia division of publishing giant Grupo Planeta, is advancing plans to move into feature production after appointing Emanuela Spinetta, to the newly-created post of head of production. Spinetta joins the fast-moving operation from Pearson TV in Spain, where she was director general. Under Spinetta, the firm aims to board at least one feature film next year.Planeta 2010 already produces two thematic channels - documentary service Beca and travel c
  • Robb quits as chief executive of Israel's Yes

    Eytan Robb is resigning from his position as chief executive of Israeli digital satellite broadcaster Yes, which made its much-delayed debut this July.Robb said his decision to quit was prompted by "personal reasons", but despite finally getting the service on air, his tenure at Yes has not been an easy ride. The company has been locked in an on-going battle with Israel's cable operators over access to programming, which has effectively forced it to focus on rural areas that the cabler
  • Russia calls in Interpol to track down Gusinsky

    Russian authorities have reportedly asked Interpol to put embattled Media Most chief Vladimir Gusinsky, who is currently living abroad, on an international wanted list, in connection with fraud charges. A domestic arrest warrant has already been issued, but Gusinsky's lawyer has said his client has no intention of returning home. Russian prosecutors are charging him with misrepresenting Media Most's assets when he accepted loans of more than $300m from state-owned gas giant Gazprom. Ho
  • Saura, Bornedal projects win Eurimages support

    Carlos Saura's Bunuel And King Solomon's Table and Dina, to be directed by Denmark's Ole Bornedal, are among the eight projects to receive support from Council of Europe-backed funding body Eurimages in its fifth round of funding this year.Dina, which is being produced by Denmark's Per Holst with co-production partners in Norway, Sweden, Germany and France, is an English-language adaptation of Norwegian author Herbjorg Wassmo's award-winning trilogy Dina's Book
  • Sony Europe, Canal Plus pact for interactive TV

    Sony Europe expects to play a central role in the European market for interactive digital television after signing a strategic alliance with the Canal Plus subsidiary Canal Plus Technologies (CPT).The agreement will allow Sony to use the interactive digital TV platform developed by CPT, Mediahighway Consumer Electronics, which corresponds to the Digital Video Broadcasting - Multimedia Home Platform standard. Sony Europe plans to market home electronics on the basis of this platf
  • Star TV drops plans to launch HK pay-TV platform

    News Corp-owned Star TV has withdrawn its application to operate a pay-TV service in Hong Kong in favour of providing content to the recently-liberalised Hong Kong pay-TV market.Star TV subsidiary, Hong Kong DTV, was one of five companies granted pay-TV licences by the Hong Kong authorities in July this year. As recently as November, Star TV chairman James Murdoch stated that the company was sticking by its decision to launch a platform, despite the fact that other licensees were repor
  • Together scoops four awards at Gijon fest

    Swedish film Together walked away the top winner at the 38th annual Gijon International Film Festival (November 24 - December 1).Together writer-director Lukas Moodysson's follow-up to last year's Fucking Amal took home the best director, best script, best actor (Michael Nyquist) and young jury awards.Pawel Pawlikowski's The Last Resort was awarded best feature film, and the film's lead, Dina Korzun, won the best actress prize.Jocelyn Cammack's
  • TPS losses to amount to $502m at year-end

    French digital pay-TV platform Television Par Satellite (TPS) has announced that it has reached the one million subscribers mark, but that it will also have accumulated losses of $502m (FFr3.7bn) by the end of this year. TPS - which is backed by terrestrial broadcasters TF1, M6 and France Television as well as cable and telecom operators Suez Lyonnaise and France Telecom - also announced that it expects to reach breakeven in 2002 with 1.4 million subscribers. It is the main competitor
  • UA mad for Winterbottom's Party People

    United Artists is finalising a deal to join UK National Lottery studio franchise The Film Consortium as a financier on Michael Winterbottom's Manchester music scene film, 24 Hr Party People.The story of Factory Records co-founder Tony Wilson is expected to mark the first project to be greenlit through UA's first-look deal with Revolution Films, the production outfit of Winterbottom and producer partner Andrew Eaton.UA is likely to take the US and Latin America on the $5.8
  • United invests $30m in Creative Planet

    UK-based United News & Media has acquired a $30m stake in Creative Planet, a web-based entertainment industry resource backed by several high-profile venture capital firms. In a related deal, United will merge The Knowledge, its own UK-based creative services business, into the Creative Planet fold. In return, United receives a significant (but unstated) equity share in Creative Planet Inc. and will act as its exclusive UK and Ireland sales and marketing agent, and lead agent in Europe
  • Vertical Limit

    Dir: Martin Campbell. US. 2000. 126 mins. Prod co: Columbia Pictures. US dist: Columbia Pictures. Int'l dist: Columbia TriStar. Exec prod: Marcia Nasatir. Prods: Lloyd Phillips, Robert King, Martin Campbell. Scr: Robert King, Terry Hayes from a story by King. DoP: David Tattersall. Prod des: Jon Bunker. Ed: Thom Noble. Mus: James Newton Howard. Main cast: Chris O'Donnell, Bill Paxton, Robin Tunney, Scott Glenn, Izabella Scorupco, Temeura Morrison, Stuart Wilson.Paper-thin
  • Von Trier, Wong score at European Film Awards

    Lars von Trier's Dancer In The Dark was the clear winner at this year's European Film Awards in Paris, taking away the top honour of Best European Film 2000, as well as the European Actress award for Bjork. The film, which has polarised critics ever since it was first seen in Cannes this year, also walked away with the prize for Best European Director and Best European Actress in the People's Choice Awards voted for by movie fans.The other big film prize, the Screen Internati
  • Whiteout star wins Japanese box office award

    Japan's Yuji Oda, who stars in local hit thriller Whiteout, has been awarded the 18th annual Money-Making Star Award, from the Japan Association of Motion Picture Producers and the All-Japan Exhibitors Association. Released on August 19, Whiteout grossed $37.3m (Y4.1bn) at the domestic box office and has since been sold to several Asian territories. Produced by a media consortium led by the Fuji TV network, Whiteout features Oda as a worker at Japan's largest dam,
  • You're The One

    Dir: Jose Luis Garci. 2000. 111mins.Prod cos: Nickel Odeon Dos, Enrique Cerezo, PC 29. Backers: Television Espanola, Canal Plus. Spanish dist: Col TriStar Films de Espana. Int'l sales: TBD. Exec prod: Luis Maria Delgado. Prod: Jose Luis Garci. Scr: Jose Luis Garci, Horacio Valcarcel. DoP: Raul Perez Cubero. Set des: Gil Parrondo. Ed: Miguel G Sinde. Music: Pablo Cervantes. Main cast: Lydia Bosch, Julia Gutierrez Caba, Juan Diego, Ana Fernandez, Manuel Lozano, Inaki Miramon.