Venezuelan box office sensation will be set in U.S.

In a competitive situation, Robin Schorr’s RCR Pictures has acquired remake rights to the Venezuelan box office sensation “The Zero Hour” (“La hora cero”), a heist film that Diego Velasco directed from a script he co-wrote with Carolina Paiz.

A cross between “Dog Day Afternoon” and “John Q,” original pic was set in Caracas during the 24 hours of a tumultuous medical strike. Venezuelan underground hip-hop artist Ruben Zapata (aka Zapata 666) starred as La Parca, a tattooed hitman who takes an elite hospital hostage in an attempt to save his wounded ex-girlfriend and her child.The violent gang leader eventually finds redemption in the unlikeliest of situations.

Schorr will produce the remake, while her RCR Pictures partners Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar will exec produce along with Velasco, Paiz and Sergio Aguero. RCR exec Jenna Glazier will co-produce. Schorr and RCR are currently meeting with screenwriters for the remake, which will be set in the U.S. Several big-name suitors had been lured to remake rights on the property before its sale.

Velasco was inspired to make “The Zero Hour” after spending a night following patients in some of Caracas’ most destitute hospitals as research for a TV story.

He was deeply affected by the overcrowding, lack of medications and the endless stream of gunshot wounds.

“Zero Hour” was released in October 2010 in Venezuela, where it ran for 24 weeks and grossed nearly $4 million to become the country’s highest-earning local film of all time despite a limited P&A spend. The filmmakers literally risked their lives to make the movie, as just days before principal photography, three crew members were kidnapped for ransom and Velasco was held up at gunpoint. One of the actors was killed just two days before shooting his first scene because of a gang vendetta, prompting the crew to travel in bulletproof cars for the duration of the production. Pic wound up winning an audience award at the 15th annual Los Angeles Latino Film Festival.”We’re incredibly lucky to have RCR Pictures, Robin Schorr and Jenna Glazier spearheading the English remake of La Hora Cero,” said Velasco, who was born in the U.S. and raised in Venezuela. “We always believed the story to be a universal one: in its essence it is a love story set in a chaotic world of polarizing politics and unattainable health care.”Hailing from Guatemala City, Paiz has written for NBC’s “Lipstick Jungle” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” for which she was nominated for a WGA award. Scribe’s short stories also won her the Brodhurst Prize for short fiction.

Deals were made by Dave Brown of Hollywood Studios International and Paul Almond for RCR.

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