Former Filmax executive Alberto del Val is braving the difficult conditions facing the Spanish distribution sector and has launched a new releasing outfit, Indisa. The new company aims to handle up to ten local, European and international pictures a year.

Spain's distributors have been hit by cutbacks by free and pay-TV broadcasters and even the most established outfits have been forced into retreat.

Del Val is keeping fairly quiet about Indisa's backers, which he says include "a production company" and "an investment group", both of which he declined to name.

At Cannes it bought Catherine Breillat's Directors' Fortnight film Sex Is Comedy from Flach Pyramide International and two competition titles Jia Zhang-ke's Unknown Pleasures and Alexander Sokurov's The Russian Ark, both from Celluloid Dreams.

Other pick-ups include Giuseppe Rocca's Lontano In Fondo Agli Occhi, Salomon Shang's Metropolitan and Despues De La Luz, Silvano Agosti's La Seconda Ombra, Pau Freixas' Cactus, Incola de Rinaldo's La Vita Degli Altri and Chad Chenouga's 17, Rue Bleue.

Del Val currently rules out handling bigger-budgeted American fare because "this isn't the time to play around in the market."

Indisa will not release its product exclusively through a single

exhibition chain, although Barcelona-based art-house operator Verdi is handling its first two releases: Lontano In Fondo Agli Occhi, set for a July

release on 8-10 copies, and Spanish film Cactus, also planned for release in

July on around 120 prints.

Del Val says that DeA Planeta, the media division of publishing giant Grupo Planeta, is acting as its intermediary in negotiations for sales to Spanish broadcasters.

Del Val, has strong professional and family connections in the Spanish film industry, particularly in Barcelona where Indisa is based.