Spanish production house BocaBoca has appointed Waheb Lekhal its new general manager to work alongside president Cesar Benitez.

Also as part of the company's restructuring, former international sales chief Mercedes Borruel will leave her post while BocaBoca product, with exceptions, will now be pumped through sales consortium Grupo PI. That includes recent titles Planta Cuarta, the best director winner at Montreal, and X, Nos Miran and El Palo.

Replacing Manuel Campillo, the France-born Lekhal was tapped for his international experience, including eight years in various positions at Canal Plus, and ample TV contacts. These should prove key in strengthening the company's position locally and fulfilling plans to grow its international profile.

"Spain is a fragmented market with few companies boasting a truly international profile," Lekhal said. "We want to establish relationships and create a portfolio of partners in order to be able to put together more ambitious projects," he adds, pointing specifically to links with France, the UK and Italy.

BocaBoca's production plans include one tentpole project per year and one smaller local film with a budget closer to the Euros2-3m Spanish average.

Lekhal says the company will also consider joining the occasional co-production as a minority financier, as it did recently with Italian-UK feature and miniseries Madre Teresa.

First up for 2004 is Semen, A Love Story (Semen, Una Historia Romantica), a Euros 3m romantic comedy from writing-directing team Daniela Fejerman and Ines Paris (My Mother Likes Women).

Foreign financing should be closed by year-end on the Euros 7m Son In Love (El Hijo Enamorado), planned for an April shoot in Tunisia for director Manuel Gomez Pereira and stars Pilar Lopez de Ayala (Bridge Of San Luis Rey) and Juan Diego Botto (The Dancer Upstairs).