Spanish production company Tesela is preparing three new films to shoot in 2004 with a continued emphasis on seeking new writing and directing talents.

The company, majority owned by Grupo Prisa-backed production house Plural Entertainment, is known for discovering young directing talents such as Achero Manas (Pellet), Alberto Rodriguez (The Suit) or Santi Amodeo (The Pilgrim Factor), whose new film Astronauts was a hit at the recent Spanish Film Screenings of Lanzarote.

"Given the complicated situation in Spain right now a producer has to measure risks more carefully than ever before," says Tesela chief Jose Antonio Felez. Nonetheless, he aims to continue making three films a year on average budgets of less than Euros 3m.

The new projects include Rodriguez's Seven Virgins (Siete Virgenes), a Euros 2m co-production with La Zanfonia about a young boy let loose from a correctional institution on a 48-hour leave for a relative's wedding. The film is being planned for an early summer shoot in Andalusia.

New Austrian writer-director Gunter Schwaiger will film The Assignment (El Encargo), a genre tale about a regular guy whose thrill-seeking leads him to become an assassin-in-training, next autumn on a Euros 1.8m budget.

The third project for 2004 will likely be Granate, from a script by Achero Manas' brother Federico Manas about a man forced to reconstruct his life after losing his wife and child in a car accident.

These projects join those currently in production at Tesela, including Argentinean co-production Roma from Adolfo Aristarain, shooting since October, and up-and-comer Hector Carre's psycho-thriller The Promise (La Promesa), in post-production for a likely summer release. Astronauts is planned for a January premiere.