Helmer Rowe preps follow-up to 'Leap Year'

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.

Pic is the second entry in what Rowe dubs a “Trilogy of Solitude” that began with “Leap Year.” After a month of pre-production, the film will begin lensing in mid-June in the central Mexican state of Puebla.

An Australian emigrant to Mexico, Rowe wrote the screenplay for “Napa,” about a 6-year-old 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,” Garcia Bernal said. “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 star.

Shown in rough cut, “Leap Year” proved the sensation of the first Ventana Sur market in Buenos Aires, where Pyramide Intl. swooped in 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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