Veteran Spanish film executive Jose Vicuna has returned to feature film production after an almost ten-year hiatus, during which time he became president of rights and acquisitions house Sogepaq, a position he still holds.

Through his independent Madrid-based production house Impala, Vicuna now has more than a dozen feature films, documentaries and television projects in various stages of production. Two Impala feature film co-productions are already shooting: Gitano, starring flamenco dancer Joaquin Cortes and French model Laetitia Casta, is a co-production with Spain''s Origen; and Hacerse El Sueco, a $1.25m comedy about to wrap in Havana, is co-produced with Spain''s Igeldo and the Cuban Film Institute ICAIC.

Another co-production with Igeldo, director Ana Diez''s $1.25m drama about lost love, Algunas Chicas Doblan Las Piernas Cuando Hablan, is being readied for a Spanish shoot in May or June.

Vicuna has plans to produce and back up to six feature films per year - both local and international projects - in addition to a full slate of documentaries. He also has three television series currently in development with Spanish partners. He cites the new creative talent in Spain - and its capacity to reach younger audiences - as one of the motives for his return to feature film production.

Vicuna returned to production last year with five documentary projects, one of which - a 13-chapter series called The Third Planet co-produced by Transglobe Films - was the first Spanish production ever to sell to National Geographic.

Impala has been involved in more than 90 Spanish and European productions since its launch in 1966. Vicuna is former president of Warner Espanola and in 1992 he helped launch Sogepaq. He is also a partner - alongside Spanish director Luis Berlanga and producer Jose Luis Olaizola - in the regional Valencian government''s massive City of Light studio complex planned for construction this year (Screendaily Feb 24).