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Gael Garcia Bernal to star in ‘Susannah’

Pic is one of 22 projects at Les Arcs fest

Mexican thesp Gael Garcia Bernal and French actress Marina Fois are set to topline “Weeping Susannah,” a Tel Aviv-set dramedy based on Alona Kimhi’s novel.

The €2.8 million ($3.7 million) pic is helmer Cyril Cohen’s feature debut. Barbecue Films, founded by Cohen and Emmanuel Murat, is producing with Thelma Films’ Christine Gozlan and David Poirot.

Pic takes place in the aftermath of the murder of Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. It turns on a thirty-something woman who lives secluded with her mother until she meets a distant cousin who opens her eyes to the outside world.

“Susannah” is one of 22 projects that will be presented at Les Arcs Film Festival’s three-day co-production village, which kicks off Saturday.

Murat is in negotiations with Israel’s Lama Films to co-produce and will be at Les Arcs looking for a co-producer from Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as a sales agent.

Headed by Les Arcs fest CEO Pierre Emmanuel Fleurantin and Jeremy Zelnik, the fest’s professional events manager, the co-production village team assessed more than 70 projects to come up with the final 22.

“Our goal is to have a good mix of projects from well-known filmmakers and emerging directors who are backed by established producers,” Fleurantin said.

Zelnik added his and Fleurantin’s background as producers guide their choices toward artistically ambitious films with commercial potential.

French producer Illan Girard (“Lebanon”) will be at the event to present British scribe-helmer Dominic Savage’s “The Dew Breaker.”

Based on Edwidge Danticat’s novel, pic is produced by Girard’s Paris-based Arsam Intl. and co-produced by Canada’s Transfilm. Girard said he was closing a co-production deal with a U.K. company.

Danny Glover, Sophie Okonedo and Chiwetel Ejiofor are in negotiations to topline.

The $5 million drama turns on a Haitian immigrant living in Brooklyn who’s haunted by his past as a member of Tonton Macoute, the paramilitary force that worked for the Papa Doc Duvalier dictatorship in the 1960s.

Pic will lense in Guadeloupe and Montreal.

Girard will look for European co-producers, distributors and a sales company at Les Arcs. He attended the co-production village with Charlotte Rampling starrer “I, Anna” two years ago, and met his German co-producer there. Pic was released this year in France.

Taking place in the run up to Rotterdam and Berlin, the third Les Arcs’ mini-mart will draw key European sales agents, distributors (though its deal with Europa Distribution) and fest programmers from Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight, Karlovy Vary, Haifa and Annecy among others.

Les Arcs’ artistic director Frederic Boyer, who’s recently been tapped as Tribeca Film Festival’s artistic director, has also selected seven films in post-production, which will be presented in the work-in-progress section.

Boyer’s lineup includes Baltasar Kormaku’s “Deep,” Miguel Angel Jimenez’s “Chaika” and “The Gambler,” directed by Szabolcs Hajdu.

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