UPDATE, 9:55 AM: Open Road has made it official, announcing this morning that it acquired Jon Stewart‘s Rosewater. A fall release is planned and the OddLot-financed adaptation will be shown and to select buyers in Cannes. The full release is below our original exclusive.
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE, FRIDAY PM : Open Road is nearing a deal to acquire U.S. rights to Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s feature directorial debut Rosewater, an adaptation of the Maziar Bahari book Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story Of Love, Captivity And Survival. Stewart wrote the script and took a summer hiatus from his Comedy Central show to direct. OddLot Entertainment fully financed the film and Gigi Pritzker and Scott Rudin produced it.
Related: Jon Stewart To Direct First Film And “Challenge” Himself
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EXCLUSIVE: Who Is Dayani Cristal? opened the World Cinema Documentary section at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and won that year’s cinematography award. Focusing on the death of migrant workers in the Sonora desert, the film follows a team from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona as they try to identify a man who died trying to enter the U.S. through that dangerous path. Mexican actor and activist Gael Garcia Bernal investigates the life of the immigrant, known as Dayani Cristal, retracing the man’s harrowing journey along the migrant trail in Central America. Marc Silver directs. Bernal also produces with Lucas Ochoa and Thomas Benski. The pic is set to bow on April 25 in NYC and will expand nationwide in the following weeks. Check out the trailer:
Immigration reform documentary Who Is Dayani Cristal?, from Marc Silver and actor/activist Gael García Bernal, has found U.S. distribution with Kino Lorber. The hot button pic will hit theaters in Spring 2014. The film shadows Bernal as he retraces the steps of an unidentified migrant worker known as Dayani Cristal, whose body was found along the Mexico-Arizona migrant trail dubbed “The corridor of death.” Seeking answers about the mystery traveler, Bernal embeds himself in the lives of border-crossing men, women, and children and witnesses the dangers they face, caught in the crossfire of America’s war on immigration. The Sundance cinematography award-winner and NYFF entry sold international rights out of Park City in January. Pulse Films and Canana Films produced the film with support from Impact Partners, Candescent Films, Ford Foundation, BRITDOC Foundation, OAK Foundation, and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Fund. Producers are Lucas Ochoa, Thomas Benski, and Gael García Bernal. “Clichés about the political meeting the personal evaporate as we share Gael’s journey on the trail of human tragedy, wrought by broken government policy and racial paranoia,” said Kino Lorber CEO Richard Lorber, who negotiated the deal at AFM with Elizabeth Sheldon and Submarine’s Josh Braun.
EXCLUSIVE: Amazon Studios continues to attract big names for its pilots. Feature actor Gael García Bernal (Y Tu Mamá También, Amores Perros, Babel) has been tapped for the streaming service’s comedy pilot Mozart In The Jungle, written by Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Alex Timbers. Based on the memoir by Blair Tindal, the project is all about sex, drugs and classical music and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens onstage. Mexico-born Garcia Bernal, repped by WME, will play Gustavo, an enfant terrible who’s utterly devoted to his art as a conductor — but also to his image.
Will Yun Lee (The Wolverine) is set to co-star opposite Shane Coffey in USA’s drama pilot The Novice, from Fox 21, Joe and Tony Gayton. It centers on Kyle (Coffey), a recent college graduate who is forced to move back home with his parents and soon lands a position with a Korean crime organization. Lee, a second-generation Korean American, will play Big Bang, a thug with a lot of anger issues who is a major player in the Korean syndicate. The actor, repped by APA and Zero Gravity, next stars in director Duane Adler’s Korean film Cobu.
Esperanto Kino, Itaca Films, BN Films and Canana are set to produce the Spanish-language film starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Jonas Cuaron — who co-wrote his father Alfonso Cuaron’s new film Gravity — directs Desierto, the tale of illegal immigrants who cross into the U.S. and end up running from an American who has taken border patrol into his own hands. While they fight for their lives, the two immigrants fall for each other. Jonas Cuaron wrote the script with Mateo Garcia. Desierto will be produced by Alfonso Cuaron, Carlos Cuaron and Alex Garcia. Garcia Bernal is exec producing with Lucas Akoskin and Santiago Garcia Galvan.
Related: Venice: ‘Gravity’ Exerts Strong Pull At First Screening
Participant Media launched Participant PanAmerica to develop and co-finance 10-12 Spanish-language films a year with Mexico’s Canana, Chile’s Fabula and Colombia’s Dynamo, at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The entity has now identified its first project with El Ardor. Directed by Pablo Fendrik (Blood Appears, The Mugger), the film is currently shooting in Argentina and stars Gael García Bernal and Alice Braga. Fendrik, whose previous features were both Cannes Critics’ Week selections, wrote the screenplay about a mysterious man who emerges from the Argentinian rainforest to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a poor farmer after mercenaries murder her father and take over his property. Read More »
With 5 new movies screening just on Saturday alone with many of their stars and filmmakers in tow, co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard of Sony Pictures Classics are dominating much of the conversation and eyeballs at the 39th Telluride Film Festival. Playing today were SPC’s Cannes sensations Rust & Bone accompanied by star Marion Cotillard, and Palme d’Or winner Amour, whose filmmakers aren’t here. Plus 2013 planned releases No (winner of the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes) and its star Gael Garcia Bernal, and the father/son drama At Any Price whose Dennis Quaid and writer/director Ramin Bahrani are here without Zac Efron. Plus, the remarkable Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers. Barker and Bernard have been coming to Telluride for decades and strongly believe in the value of the festival. “I think anywhere from three to five movies is a good number” to bring here, he told me. And when they aren’t showing their own product, they have been seen at screenings checking out acquisition titles. They also held SPC’s annual filmmakers dinner Saturday night at La Marmotte restaurant.
Related: Toronto Film Fest: What Looks Good For Oscar?
But other top indie divisions of the majors are virtually sitting out this year’s fest. Telluride regular Fox Searchlight doesn’t have a single film on display here this year, though not for lack of trying. Searchlight has launched movies like Slumdog Millionaire, Juno and last year’s The Descendants among many others at Telluride – and this time wanted to bring their big awards hopeful, The Sessions starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. But Telluride generally frowns on movies that first debuted at Sundance. So the only Searchlight presence are reps checking out films for sale.
The Weinstein Company normally shows off their top titles, but only brought the undated musical The Sapphires (first seen at Cannes in May). It’s playing well at screenings here. No The Master. No Silver Linings Playbook. Both those movies will be in Toronto. However Weinstein in years past launched Best Picture winners The King’s Speech and The Artist at Telluride.
True, Universal’s arthouse division Focus Features this year is front and center with Hyde Park On Hudson. Its star Bill Murray hit town today and co-star Laura Linney lives here and is attending the fest. But Focus is saving another awards title, Anna Karenina, for a Toronto debut. Paramount, which has been here in the past, skipped Telluride and will miss Toronto in favor of debuting their awards players Flight and Not Fade Away at the New York Film Festival. Read More »
Deadline revealed last night that Sony Pictures Classics was in talks to acquire Pablo Larrain’s No, and now they’ve formalized the deal. Here’s the official announcement:
CANNES (May 22, 2012) – Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all North American rights to Pablo Larraín’s Cannes Directors’ Fortnight sensation, NO from financier Participant Media in association with Funny Balloons and Fabula. NO stars Gael García Bernal (Babel, The Motorcycle Diaries), Alfredo Castro, Antónia Zegers, Marcial Tagle, Néstor Cantillana, Jaime Vadell and Pascal Montero. The film is one of the best received films in Cannes with raves from critics following the first screening in Director’s Fortnight.
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So far, the domestic deals at the Cannes Film Festival have been for the most part sluggish, but that might perk up a bit tomorrow. There’s first showing of the Lee Daniels-directed The Paperboy, which is high on buyer wanna-see lists, with a ballsy performance by Nicole Kidman. The other film I’m hearing has action is the Pablo Larrain-directed No with Gael Garcia Bernal. Word is that Sony Pictures Classics is into it. That film, which premiered last Friday in Directors’ Fortnight, is about an ad exec who comes up with a campaign to defeat Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s 1988 referendum. The deals will have to get rolling considerably for the festival to have a chance at matching last Cannes. Numerous buyers battling the dreary weather feel that the high number of films brought to Cannes has slowed the pace, and there hasn’t been much so far that distributors feel they absolutely had to have. The worthy ones will get deals after the festivals, but some of the packages that didn’t excite buyers probably won’t make it to the start line.
Related: The Scene In Cannes: Wet But Undaunted