Spanish digital satellite platform Via Digital has signed an exclusive, three-year PPV rights deal with Madrid production-distribution start-up Alquimia Cinema, to add to its accords with other local companies such as Lauren Films, Manga Films, Planeta 2010, Alta Films, Lolafilms and Filmax.

Signed by Via Digital director of programming and contents Ramon Colom and Alquimia head Francisco Ramos, the deal encompasses all of Alquimia's forthcoming productions, about five commercially-oriented feature films per year.

First up on Alquimia's new slate is I Love You Baby, from popular directors Albacete & Menkes. Set to begin shooting on February 12, the $2.3m romantic comedy stars Jorge Sanz, Santiago Magil, Tiare Scanda and Veronica Forque. Antena 3 has free TV rights.

Award-winning short film director Ramon Salazar is prepping Piedras, a woman's drama starring Antonia San Juan, Angela Molina, Najwa Nimri, Pilar Bardem and Monica Cervera. Piedras begins shooting on May 7 on $1.9m.

Director Manuel Toledano (Shampoo Horns) will shoot English-language road movie A Happy Trail for Alquimia next summer in the US and Spain. A US partner is being sought and casting is currently underway in New York.

While formerly at the helm of Aurum Producciones, Ramos turned the established distribution outfit into one of Spain's top producers. He has produced some of Spain's biggest hits in recent years, including teen thriller The Art Of Dying (El Arte De Morir) and drama I Will Survive (Sobrevivire).

Earlier this week Ramos announced the acquisition of all Spanish rights on five titles from Canada's Alliance Atlantis Pictures International (ScreenDaily, January 17).