Jacques Roldan, former head of acquisitions for Spanish media giant Sogecable, has been appointed director of distribution for the newly merged production and distribution/sales activities of Sogecable interests Sogecine and Sogepaq.
The appointment - unveiled at the San Sebastian International Film Festival - is the first strategic announcement made by new Sogecine-Sogepaq general manager Fernando Bovaira since his appointment last spring. Reporting directly to Bovaira, Roldan will oversee all national and international sales activities and staff, indirectly filling a management hole left when former Sogepaq GM Margaret Nicoll resigned in July.
Bovaira and Roldan are expected to continue increasing the international presence of Sogecine's ample production slate, which this year included box office phenomenon The Others. They will also likely forge stronger links to Euro giant StudioCanal, a 21% shareholder in Sogecable and, more recently, 45% shareholder in Sogepaq.
Director Alejandro Amenabar's The Others - made for $20m with backing from Miramax and Cruise/Wagner Productions - rocketed Sogecine's annual production investment this year to $45.9m (pts8.5bn).
While Bovaira admits that the production of The Others "is not a formula which can be systematically repeated," he does plan to back more "ambitious projects" as well as more of the kind of director-driven works Sogecine has produced since its creation in 1991. This year Sogecine backed 11 films, including Julio Medem's Sex And Lucia (Lucia Y El Sexo), currently on release in Spain and selling abroad, and Manuel Gutierrez Aragon's San Sebastian competition entry Visionaries (Visionarios).
Housed alongside Sogecine and Sogepaq in the Sogecable group is national distribution and exhibition (respectively) ventures Warner Sogefilms and Warner Lusomundo Sogecable, as well as pay-TV outlets Canal Plus and Canal Satelite Digital, and internet start-up Plus.es.
According to Canal Plus GM Jose Manuel Lorenzo, also responsible for Sogecable's new TV production and sales unit Produce Plus, Canal Plus has invested close to $16.2m (pts3bn) this year in rights acquisitions to Spanish and European product, a figure he says exceeds the investment required by Spain's national Cinema Law.
Canal Plus's script development program, Canal Plus Guiones, has become a source for new film projects for Sogecine, including titles in the works such as Bloomsday, Querido Cain, Semilla Negra and Santa Ana 17, 4-C.