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Jonathan Jakubowicz

Director-writer, Venezuela

Caracas-born Jakubowicz now resides in Los Angeles in self-imposed exile after his breakout kidnap drama, “Secuestro express,” angered the Hugo Chavez government.

In a rather unusual twist, bootleggers showed their support by refusing to sell it, driving people to cinemas to help make it the highest-grossing local pic ever, surpassing even “Titanic” and “The Passion of the Christ.”

Jakubowicz will next direct the drug-running thriller “Queen of the South” for Warner Independent, with Elizabeth Avellan, Sandra Condito and Sergio Aguero producing.

His B.A. degree in journalism and experience making documentaries keep his fictional films anchored in reality, he says.

Jakubowicz co-wrote the “Queen of the South” adaptation with Albert Torres. Pic is slated to start shooting in early 2008. “It could be much more expensive if not for Elizabeth,” he says. “Her experience as the producing partner of Robert Rodriguez is priceless.”

“Queen” is budgeted at $25 million. Not a bad leap for someone whose debut pic cost $500,000.

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