A real-life tale of piracy on the high seas is headed for the big screen.
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6 Apr 2010 - 4:24 PM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2012 - 1:33 PM

On October 2 last year, Somali pirates hijacked Spanish tuna fishing boat Alakrana and its crew of 36 in the Indian Ocean. The siege ended six weeks later, mercifully with no lives lost.

The incident which dominated news coverage in Spain is being dramatised in the feature film Alakrana, which marks the first collaboration between Spain's leading production banner Telecinco Cinema and the recently launched Spanish offshoot of Danish entertainment giant Zentropa.

Filming will start soon in Barcelona with Salvador Calvo directing the suspense drama scripted by Jorge Guerricaechevarría, whose credits include Cell-211, the saga of an inmate who led a prison riot and a young guard trapped in the revolt, and The Oxford Murders, a thriller about an Oxford University professor and graduate student who to try to stop a series of planned murders. The only casting news released thus far is that the boat's captain will be played by film and TV veteran Miguel Ángel Silvestre. Fausto Producciones is also board the co-production.

The Alakrana siege should provide plenty of dramatic material as the hijackers threatened to kill three crew members if there was no progress in freeing two pirates being held in Spain. The wife of one crew member who spoke to her husband via phone told Spanish National Radio, “My husband was crying. There came a point when all he could say was 'I love you, I love you, I love you. Please get me off the ship.'"

Pirates on the Alakrana fired a rocket-propelled grenade into the water and fired guns into the air to ward off a Spanish navy frigate that was shadowing it. Ultimately the hijackers abandoned the boat, which had been held just off the coast of Somalia.

Telecinco Cinema, the production arm of Spain's dominant TV network Telecinco, garnered a 39 percent market share for Spanish films in 2009, buoyed chiefly by Alejandro Amenabar's Agora, which took more than €21 million ($A30.8 million), Daniel Monzón's Cell 211 (nearly $13. 2 million) and Javier Ruiz Caldera's comedy Spanish Movie ($10 million).

Headed by producer David Matamoros, Zentropa International Spain was launched last September as the Spanish arm of the Danish powerhouse co-founded by Lars von Trier and Peter Aalbæk Jensen. Its first venture is an untitled film directed by Marçal Forés described as a “teenage drama, halfway between Donnie Darko and Elephant.”

Zentropa already has subsidiaries in Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and France. Since its creation in 1992, Zentropa has produced more than 70 films.

Editors note: Image of Alakrana sourced from http://tunaseiners.com