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Georgian helmer gets lucky with ’13’

Babluani to shoot U.S. remake of thriller

ROME — Georgian-born French director-writer Gela Babluani will shoot a U.S. remake of thriller “13 Tzameti,” which was released Stateside by Palm Pictures earlier this year.

English-language remake of the striking French pic, involving clandestine gamblers who bet on human lives, is being produced by New York-based Italo producer Valerio Morabito (“Kiss Me First”) and his partner, Simon O’Leary.

Babluani said their Morabito Pictures shingle have a deal with tenpercentery Endeavor, which has packaged the pic, budgeted at $15 million-$20 million.

Plan is to shoot the remake — which is titled “13” — in an undetermined U.S. location starting next spring.

Babluani has been scouting locations in Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia while also penning an English-language redraft of the script in collaboration with yank scribe Gregory Prusse.

The 28-year-old Babluani, the son of well-known Georgian helmer Temur Babluani, made an impressive debut with “13 Tzameti.”

The black-and-white pic scooped the Venice Lion of the Future and the Sundance world cinema competition prizes and sold to more than 20 territories.

While the original was deliberately not contextualized in a specific time or place, his remake project will unmistakably be set in contempo America, said Babluani, who is reworking some of the storyline.

“The movie is about a game. So the rules of the game will essentially stay the same. But I really want to introduce new characters and situations,” he added.

The helmer was at the RomeFilmFest to promote the world preem of his sophomore work, “The Legacy,” co-helmed in Georgia with his father.

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