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Murga rolls on Scorsese exec-produced ‘River’

Coming-of-age drama shoots Dec. 14 in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES — Four years after she made headlines by being selected by Martin Scorsese for the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative, Argentina’s Celina Murga (“A Week Alone”) will go into production Dec. 14 on “The Third Side of the River.”

The coming-of-age drama will shoot in Murga’s native province of Entre Rios, north of Buenos Aires. Scorsese takes an executive producer credit.

The U.S. filmmaker mentored Murga on a treatment and several screenplay drafts for “River” during the 2008-09 Rolex Initiative. He will now provide advice at the editing stage, “River” producer Juan Villegas said in Buenos Aires Wednesday.

Co-written with scribe-helmer Gabriel Medina (“The Vampire Spider”), “River” turns on a 16-year-old boy confronting a universal dilemma: Choosing between his father’s wishes and leaving to pursue his own freedoms.

Celebrated Argentine playwright Daniel Veronese limns the boy’s father, Gabriela Ferrero (“Patagonia”) his mother, and newcomer Alian Devetac plays the lead.

Buenos Aires-based Tresmilmundos Cine, the label owned by Murga and off-screen partner Villegas, will lead-produce; Peter Rommel’s Rommel Film in Germany and Waterland Film Amsterdam co-produce.

Rommel has pulled down extra financing from the Berlin festival’s World Cinema Fund and German pubcaster ZDF, and the Berlin Brandenburg Medienboard. The Hubert Bals Fund Plus will back post-production at Waterland and production in Argentina.

The Hubert Bals Fund, Argentina’s Incaa Film Institute and Entre Rios province and the Rolex Initiative all co-finance.

Murga’s first two features, “Ana and the Others” and “Week” established her as one of the leading femme voices in the New Argentine Cinema.

For Villegas, “River” is a step-up in scale being Murga’s first international co-production, and something of a departure in style.

“River” has stronger narrative and character drive, which was one reason Celina (Murga) decided to write with another writer. After her first films, she wanted a challenge, to reach out to more people.”

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