Director Maria Ripoll is preparing an English-language psychological thriller for new production company Alquimia Cinema.

The film, Utopia, is being prepped for a summer shoot. The script was written by Curro Royo and Juan Vicente Pozuelo (The Art Of Dying). Madrid-based Mate Productions has already boarded the project, and Alquimia head Francisco Ramos is seeking international partners and casting.

Ripoll is best known for her 1998 debut film, The Man With Rain In His Shoes, which co-starred actress Penelope Cruz in one of her first English-language roles. More recently Ripoll directed Hector Elizondo and Raquel Welch in Tortilla Soup, a remake of Eat, Drink, Man, Woman set in Latino Los Angeles. The story was adapted by scripter Vera Blasi (Woman On Top).

Alquimia, a producer-distributor launched last autumn by former Aurum Producciones head Ramos, is already plowing fast into its first-year slate. Popular directors Albacete and Menkes are about to wrap romantic comedy I Love You Baby. Award-winning short film director Ramon Salazar is prepping woman's drama Stones (Piedras) with an all-star Spanish cast. Also in development is A Happy Trail, Manuel Toledano's English-language follow-up to Shampoo Horns, currently casting in New York.

In Janaury, Alquimia signed an exclusive, three-year deal to give digital satellite platform Via Digital pay TV rights to its product.