Sundance sci-fi film signs deal with Maya

Alex Rivera’s Sundance award winner, the sci-fi tale “Sleep Dealer,” has sealed a deal for domestic distribution with Maya Entertainment. Spanish-language pic nabbed the 2008 Park City fest’s Alfred P. Sloan and Waldo Salt Screenwriting kudos.

Futuristic film creates an environment where Mexican immigrant labor is outsourced from Tijuana via cyber network, with remote-controlled robots working in the United States. Cast includes Luis Fernando Pena, Leonor Varela and Jacob Vegas.

“Science fiction has always only told stories of the first world, but the whole world has a future; I wanted to look at the future of the rest of the world,” Rivera said.

Tyro helmer co-wrote the script with David Riker based on the concept of Rivera’s short “Why Cybraceros.”

“Sleep” is the debut outing for producer Anthony Bregman’s shingle Likely Story, which also has “Synecdoche, New York” unspooling in Cannes.

“The film uses the unique combination of science fiction and fantasy to bring across a provocative message about assimilation in the United States within the global economy,” said Jose Martinez Jr., head of acquisitions for Maya.

Release date is not yet set, but the company plans an aggressive strategy to reach sci-fi gamers, arthouse auds and the Latino market. Fortissimo has sold international rights to Roadshow for Australia/New Zealand, Svensk for Scandinavia and pubcaster NHK for Japanese TV. Maya Entertainment is a Latino-run distribution company focused specifically on the growing U.S. Latino market. Upcoming releases include “How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer” May 16 and “August Evening” in August. Company owns a multiplex in Salinas, and is developing others in Bakersfield and Santa Fe, N.M.

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