Pyramide Intl. Boards ‘Catfish’ Director’s Next Pic (EXCLUSIVE)

Pyramide, Sainte-Luce reteam after “Catfish’s” sales, fest success

Eric Lagesse’s Pyramide Int’l is co-producing and handling international sales of “La Caja Vacia” (The Empty Box), the next pic of Mexico’s Claudia Saint-Luce whose debut feature “The Amazing Catfish” won best picture and a best actress award for Lisa Owen in the Ibero-American Opera Prima category of the recent Festival de Cine Orquidea in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Budgeted at $1.5 million, “The Empty Box” is set to shoot in the fall of next year, said producer Geminiano Pineda of Cine Canibal.

Penned by Sainte-Luce, dramedy centers on a father and daughter who grow closer as the father’s vascular dementia worsens. “We are still seeking more co-producers,” said Pineda.

“The Empty Box” “is a very intimate subject which [Sainte-Luce] probably lived through in her real life like the one in ‘Catfish’ and it is probably the reason why it is going to be as moving as ‘Catfish,’” Lagesse commented.

“She is very straightforward director and puts her life on the screen with a lot of lucidity and enough distance for her films to remain light and sometimes funny. This is what people loved in ‘Catfish’ and this is what they will probably love in ‘The Empty Box,’” he added.

Made for $1.3 million, “Catfish” also took the Premio Casete at the Baja Int’l Film Fest, which wrapped Nov 16, as well as the Fipresci Critics Prize in Toronto and the Youth Jury Best Picture award in Locarno. “Catfish’ is also the producing debut of Pineda, a former co-founder and executive producer at Canana Films.

“Catfish” took home Ventana Sur’s pix-in-post Primer Corte award last year.Pyramide will continue sales at Ventana Sur of the family drama, which has already been sold to 18 territories since Cannes, including Switzerland (Cineworx), Benelux (Imagine), Japan (Bitters End), Germany (Arsenal), Austria (Polyfilm) and Taiwan (SwallowWings), according to Lagesse.

A U.S. deal looks set to be announced shortly.

“We think Claudia has a unique talent to tell intimate stories which talk to the heart of people and deeply move them without depressing them; it is very rare in our world today,” said Lagesse, who observed that Pyramide will be releasing “Amazing Catfish” by the end of May 2014 in France.

Based on Saint-Luce’s personal experience, “Catfish” tracks a solitary young girl who lands in the hospital with appendicitis where her roommate, a mother of four, befriends her. Despite being stricken with HIV, the mother’s love for life is infectious and she draws this lonely girl into her chaotic family life.

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