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Arsam boards pic pair

Girard's shingle to co-produce 'Veil,' 'Petrov'

Spreading its cultural reach wider, Ilann Girard’s Paris-based Arsam Intl., co-producer of “Lebanon” and “Goodbye Bafana,” has boarded Afia Nathaniel’s “Neither the Veil, Nor the Four Walls” and Gueorgi Balabanov’s “The Petrov File.”

Historic thriller “Petrov” is from a screenplay by former documentarian Balabanov (“Sofia’s Secrets”) and Gaul’s best-known screenwriter, Jean-Claude Carriere, a consultant on “The White Ribbon,” writer of “Cyrano de Bergerac” and Luis Bunuel’s co-scribe.

Arsam is one of the leading co-producers in France, Europe’s most prolific co-producing country.

Supported by Unicef, Cinereach and the Hubert Bals Fund, “Veil,” which is Nathaniel’s debut, is co-produced by Rene Bastian, Linda Moran and Cordelia Stephens at Belladonna Prods. (“Transamerica”), as well as India’s Ekta Kapoor.

Inspired by true events, “Veil” turns on a young mother in rural Pakistan who flees to Lahore with her daughter after the 8-year-old is promised in marriage to the local warlord.

Nathaniel’s screenplay received a New York Independent Filmmaker Project script award. Currently casting, “Veil” will shoot in India and Pakistan, with dialogue mostly in Punjabi, plus dialects. Actors will be Indian and Pakistani, Girard said.

Dubbed ” ‘Kolya’ meets ‘The Lives of Others’ ” by Girard, “Petrov” is produced by Arsam and Dimitar Gochev at Bulgaria’s Camera.

Set during Bulgaria’s transition to democracy, the Faustian tale turns on Alexander Petrov, a theater actor-turned-politician and his friend Viktor Markov, a former secret police officer-turned-businessman. “A bitter drama with comic elements,” in Girard’s words, “Petrov” is skedded to shoot this year in Sofia.

“Bulgaria is starting to be on the map of international cinema; this is the right moment for the project,” Girard said.

Girard also will present Barnaby Southcombe’s noir thriller “I, Anna,” a co-prod with the U.K.’s Embargo Films, at Berlin’s Co-Production Market, which kicks off Sunday.

A co-producer of “Kolya” and “Four Days in September,” Girard also serves as exec producer on pics — such as “March of the Penguins” and Gallic toon “Renaissance” — aiding producers’ project development and financing.

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