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Bernal to produce Rowe’s ‘Napa’

Canana backs 'Leap Year' followup

Gael Garcia Bernal will produce Michael Rowe’s follow-up to “Leap Year,” one of the most notable Mexican debuts of the recent years and winner of Cannes’ 2010 Camera d’Or.

Rowe will kick off pre-production for his second feature, tentatively titled “Napa,” in mid-May, backed by Mexican indie shingle Canana.

Diego Luna, who founded Canana with Garcia Bernal, will exec produce along with Canana partner and producer Pablo Cruz (“Miss Bala,” “Abel”), plus the producers of Canana’s TV skeins “Soy tu fan” and “Nino Santo,” Julian Levin and Arturo Sampson.

Pic is the second entry in what Rowe dubs a “Trilogy of Solitude,” which began with “Leap Year.” After a month of pre-production, the film is set to lens from mid-June in the central Mexican state of Puebla.

An Australian immigrant to Mexico, Rowe wrote the screenplay for “Napa,” which depicts a 6-year-old girl living in the aftermath of her parents’ divorce. Rowe based the script on a short story by Australian author Tim Winton.

“Michael is a very talented director with a personal and awe-inspiring voice,” said Garcia Bernal. “He takes us to the eeriest corners of the human being. It is an extraordinary opportunity for Canana to be able to work hand-in-hand with him.”

Maria Fernanda Sasse will play the main character.

Shown in rough-cut, “Leap Year” proved the sensation of the first Ventana Sur market in Buenos Aires where Pyramide Intl. swooped on international rights, selling 25 territories to date, a standout result for a Latin American film.

(John Hopewell contributed to this report.)

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