A romantic comedy from the hip Spanish directing duo Alfonso Albacete and David Menkes is set to be the first project to go through a new production company launched by former Aurum Producciones chief Francisco Ramos.

Albacete and Menkes, whose credits include Atomica and Mas Que Amor, Frenesi, are to shoot the project in late January. Titled I Love You Baby, the project was developed at Aurum under Ramos and is co-scripted by popular young novelist Lucia Echevarria.

Ramos, a popular figure on the local scene and well-respected by Aurum's international partners such as Morgan Creek and New Line, announced this week he will leave his post as Aurum general director. He leaves the thriving production-distribution house before the end of the month to launch his own, as yet unnamed outfit.

"I want to pursue creating my own assets, not only financially but creatively," he explained. "I want to make my own movies, and be in a position where I make the movies I want to."

Also in the works are writer-director Manuel Toledano's follow-up to his controversial Shampoo Horns, the English-language A Happy Trail. The production is set to shoot in Spain and the US next April or May.

Additionally, Jacobo Rispa's Urizen is a thriller, written by Angel Pariente and with actors Najwa Nimri and Leonardo Sbaraglia likely to star.

Also on Ramos' development slate are Miguel Bardem's thriller Incautos; an untitled drama from The Art Of Dying (El Arte De Morir) director Alvaro Fernandez Armero; and action thriller Utopia from Art Of Dying writers Curro Royo and Vicente Pozuelo.

Ramos' plans include entering distribution within a year. "Once I have a consistent [production] slate I'll set up my own distribution," he said. "I plan to follow my structure at Aurum and will try to close output deals very soon."

Ramos has headed Aurum since its start in 1994 as the film division of broadcaster Antena 3. He was just 29 when Aurum went independent under his direction in 1997.

"I feel it's time to go and I think it's the right time because our movies are working right now, we're doing the right movies for the right market and at the right price," he said. "For me it's very important that Aurum continues to be strong because it means that we've created something that makes sense."

Aurum owner Antonio Asensio is likely continue in production, Ramos said. However, Ramos will take his current development slate and Aurum's on-call production staff with him to his new outfit.

Ramos' initial plans encompass an annual four to five "medium level, commercially-edged films". The films are targeted at the same young audience he has successfully reached with Aurum box office leaders Art Of Dying, I Will Survive (Sobrevivire) and pick-up Ano Mariano.