Kounen pairs with Paris for ‘Dalai’

Documentary to focus on Tibetan culture

French helmer Jan Kounen is teaming up with Anne Paris to helm docu “The Secret History of the Dalai Lamas.”

Pic will highlight the Tibetan culture and the history and tradition of the Dalai Lamas from the 14th century to today. It will feature an interview of the current Dalai Lama and various re-enactements.

Penned by Jean-Claude Carriere (“Cyrano de Bergerac”), film is a French-German co-production between Alfred Hurmer’s Berlin-based Integral Film and Manuel de la Roche’s Paris-based Movie Sphere.

Sharon Stone, who is a Tibetan Buddhist, has come onboard to do the narration.

Kounen will also partner with producer Manuel de la Roche, a former Tibetan monk who also penned and produced “Darshan, L’Etreinte,” a doc about Indian spiritual leader Mata Amritanandamayi. “Darshan” opened in Cannes in 2005.

Budgeted at $4 million, “The Secret History” will shoot in September and October and is scheduled for a spring 2010 delivery.

Kounen said the idea for the documentary, as well as “Darshan,” sparked from a TV documentary series project he had with De La Roche called “Another Reality,” which was supposed to showcase diverse cultures around the world.

“This documentary is a natural following to ‘Darshan’ ” said Kounen, adding, “Cinema allows us to do longer takes and express our subjects’ timelessness and philosophy more in depth than what we shot for television. We want this documentary to be a sensorial experience for viewers.”

Kounen’s “Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky,” which was just picked up by Sony Pictures Classics for U.S. ditsribution, will close the Cannes Film Festival.

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