Spain's Alquimia Cinema is preparing a new English-languagefeature from Tortilla Soup director Maria Ripoll called 4 Dances.

The tale revolves around the magical imaginings of anautistic teenager and her relationships with her dancer brother and the youngman he hires to care for her. Casting is underway in Spain and the UK for a2006 shoot from a script by hot local writer Albert Espinosa (The 4thFloor) based on his play.

It will mark Ripoll's third English-language foray afterLA-set Tortilla Soup and London-set The Man With Rain In His Shoes,which starred Penelope Cruz in her first English-language film role. Ripoll iscurrently in post on the Espinosa-scripted Your Life In 65 Minutes (Tu VidaEn 65'), also for Alquimia.

Dancesis one of several new projects on Alquimia's slate, which should growsignificantly in the days to come when Alquimia chief Francisco Ramos finalisesa deal with a major Spanish media group to co-produce bigger-budget movies.

That deal may be a sign of the times in Spain. "In my sevenyears as a producer it has never been more difficult to raise financing for anaverage Spanish movie," Ramos says. "Producers are dependent on a TV sale andbroadcasters can only buy so many movies."

In response, producers are seeking alternative financingformulas. On Manuel Toledano's Monday Can Wait (El Lunes Puede Esperar),a gay weekend-of-debauchery tale possibly too racy for broadcasters, Ramos sayshe may halve the current Euros 2.2m budget and ask actors and crew to reduce ordefer fees in exchange for a back-end profit participation. The film isexpected to shoot in late summer or early fall.

Also on Alquimia's new slate are: 20-something ensemblepiece Big Fat Lies (Mentiras Y Gordas) from directing team Albacete& Menkes; Barcelona-set coming of age story Idaho Has A Dream (IdahoTiene Un Sueno) from writer Espinosa; and an as-yet untitled perioddetective tale from Argentinean veteran Eduardo Mignogna.