Markovitch to direct ‘El premio’

Eimbcke's co-writer makes directing debut

SITGES, Spain — Mexico-based Paula Markovitch is attached to direct her feature film debut “El premio,” a co-production between Mexico’s Cacao Films, Argentina’s Magma Cine and France’s Mille et Une Productions.

Markovitch has gained attention as the co-scribe of Fernando Eimbcke’s “Duck Season” and “Lake Tahoe.”

She also wrote the story for an early Carlos Carrera’s breakthrough hit “Sin remitente” (Sender Unknown) in 1995.

Argentina-born, Markovitch’s first directorial feature is a semi-autobiographical tale set in the 1970s under Argentina’s military Junta. It turns on a young girl, the daughter of political dissidents, who grows up in a seaside village.

Film’s climax turns on her primary school competition for the best essay on the army. Her family is endangered when the little girl writes what she hears her mother say at home.

Announced at Sitges by Alberto Muffelmann at Cacao Films, “Premio” will be majority-financed by Cacao, which has pulled down a Pesos7 million ($500,000) Foprocine production subsidy from Mexico’s Imcine Film Institute.

Juan Pablo Gugliotta’s Magma and Fares Ladjimi’s Paris-based Mille et Uno Productions put up broadly similar minority financing.

Budgeted at $1.1 million — a cost that reflects low shoot costs in Argentina — pic will roll next year in San Clemente del Tuyu, the Argentine village where Markovitch grew up.

“Premio” looks set to have a “realist-naturalist style,” said Muffelmann. The protagonist will be a pupil from her real-life primary school.

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