Production house sets director for drama

HOLLYWOOD — Newly minted production shingle Everest Motion Pictures has tapped Alfonso Arau to direct its first feature, prohibition drama “Little Chicago.”

Everest, headed by producers Steve J. Scarduzio and Gene Kirkwood, is aiming to start production in the spring in Niagara Falls and Bradford, Pa. Luca Palanca, who brought the project to Everest, is also producing.

“Little Chicago” is written and exec produced by journalist Carl Veno. Based on a chapter from Veno’s book “Invisible Ink,” story focuses on mob factions battling for control of the bootlegging business in Olean, a town of 5,000 that saw 71 murders within two years.

Arau told Daily Variety that he was attracted to “Little Chicago” because of similarities to the current drug war in his native Mexico.

Scarduzio and Kirkwood are aiming to produce as many as three films this year with budgets of up to $25 million.

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