Columbia FilmsProducciones Espanolas has boarded the new comedy from Spanish director AlvaroFernandez Armero, to be distributed internationally and released in Spain bySony Pictures Releasing International.

The as-yet untitledco-production with Madrid-based Morena Films and broadcaster Telecinco'sprolific production arm Estudios Picasso will star Guillermo Toledo and JavierGutierrez, who have previously teamed on a slew of local hits including musicalcomedies The Other Side Of The Bed(El Otro Lado De La Cama) andsequel Both Sides Of The Bed (Los2 Lados De La Cama).

The story turns on areferee for Spain's prestigious championship football league whose personallife is a disaster and whose professional reputation is on the line following aseries of controversial decisions.Together with his equally emotionallytormented friend Rafa, a top linesman, the two encounter a series of comicalmishaps on their way to the last, decisive match of the season. '

The film follows a handfulof local box office successes turning on Spain's national pasttime, including2003's second top local grosser, Football Days (Dias De Futbol), and 2005's fourth biggest local hit, The Longest Penalty In TheWorld (El Penalti Mas Largo DelMundo).

Fernandez Armero, bestknown for 2000 teen horror film The Art Of Dying (El Arte De Morir), co-wrote the script for the new film with JuanCavestany (Washington Wolves).Filming in Madrid and Andalusia began on October 30.

"I personally believe[Fernandez Armero] is one of those rare examples in Spanish cinema of adirector combining a unique visual talent whilst always considering hisaudience's experience," said Morena Films' Pedro Uriol, who produces the filmwith Alvaro Augustin and Belen Atienza of Estudios Picasso and ColumbiaPictures' senior vice president of European productions Iona De Macedo.

De Macedo added:"Columbia Films Producciones Espanolas is delighted to be partnering withboth Estudios Picasso and Morena Films on this film," the fifth featureco-produced or co-financed by the European division of Columbia Tristar MotionPicture Group's locallanguage production arm.

"The combination of afresh and witty script directed by Alvaro Fernandez Armero and the greaton-screen chemistry of acting legends Guillermo Toledo and Javier Gutierrezmakes this project an extremely exciting one for all those involved."