Spanish producer Filmanova is beefing up its production activities thanks to the creation of private investment fund Filmanova Invest.

The company currently has more than half a dozen films in various stages of development and production, many with European and Latin American partners, and is actively seeking new projects for 2005.

Backed by the Galicia-based Filmanova, two local banks and a group of non-film related private investors, Filmanova Invest was launched last December with capital of Euros 6m-7m. A new investor from within the film sector may enter into the fund when its shareholder structure is reconstituted this summer.

"This is a financial instrument for co-productions, not just Filmanova productions" explains Anton Reixa, founder and president of Filmanova, which oversees the fund.

Proving the point, among the fund's first moves was to invest as a financial partner in Alejandro Amenabar's much-awaited Javier Bardem-starrer Out To Sea (Mar Adentro), a Sogecine-Himenoptero co-production which shot partially in Galicia.

It also co-produced two Argentinean films now in post-production: newcomer Jorge Gaggero's Beba Y Dora starring Norma Aleandro, the script to which was a finalist for the Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers' Award; and Juan Taratuto's comedy No Sos Vos Soy Yo.

New projects in the works include director Hannes Stohr's follow-up to Berlin Is In Germany, football-oriented Galatasaray-Depor, a Euros 2m co-production with Germany's Moneypenny set to shoot this summer; and Laurence Boulting's Euros 1.5m docu-drama Within The Way Without, a UK-German co-production about three people making the spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

Filmanova also boasts a multi-picture deal with the Almodovar brothers' El Deseo already encompassing an associate producer credit on Bad Education (La Mala Educacion) and co-production of black comedy Chill Out (Descongelate). Further collaborations are "being analysed" but could include Reixa's own next film as director, Hotel Tivoli, and Luis Berdejo's Liquido.