France's Cineteve produces viral disease drama

Spanish helmer Isabel Coixet is attached to direct viral disease drama “Marburg,” set up at Gaul’s Cineteve.

“Marburg” is the bigscreen adaptation of the play by Catalan playwright Guillem Clua, who penned the screenplay with Coixet.

It follows a series of true-life events that occurred in August 1967 in the German village of Marburg, where an unknown virus rapidly killed 23 people.

Pic will follow four stories in four places around the world, all called Marburg, that are somehow connected.

“This is a very ambitious project on pain, death and hope in spite of everything and because of everything,” Coixet told Daily Variety.

“Isabel has demonstrated over the years that she can deliver a universal message and explore innovative stories and cinematography,” said Cineteve founder Fabienne Servan-Scheiber.

Planned for a 2012 start, pic is budgeted at $12.5 million-$14 million.

Due to the various locations and characters’ origin, the project lends itself to a French, Spanish and probably Canadian co-production, according to Denis Leroy, a producer at Cineteve, which started negotiations with potential partners at Cannes last month.Coixet’s international career took a significant step-up in 2003 with Sarah Polley’s drama “My Life Without Me.” In 2005, Coixet re-teamed with Polley in “The Secret Life of Words,” alongside Tim Robbins.

In 2008 she helmed the Lakeshore Entertainment-produced “Elegy,” toplining Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz.

Her latest feature, thriller “Map of the Sounds of Tokyo,” was a Cannes 2009 Palme d’Or contender.

“I believe that Isabel’s great artistic and personal relationships with the leading actors of her movies will be renewed in some cases on ‘Marburg,’ ” Leroy said.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more