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Berlin: Jean-Claude Carriere to Pen ‘Aesop’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Cite Films moving forward with story of ancient storyteller in mix of animation and live action

Jean-Claude Carriere, who co-wrote the Afghanistan-set drama “The Patience Stone” with Golshifteh Farahani, is now writing “Aesop,” a feature centering on the life the ancient Greek storyteller. Budgeted in the $7 million range, “Aesop” is produced by Raphael Berdugo’s Cite Films.

Taking place in the Middle East, pic will weave animation and live action.Pic, set in the fifth century B.C., will chronicle the rise and fall of Aesop, who lived among animals and became a slave. After his masters noticed his intelligence, Aesop was freed and became a powerful diplomat for King Croesus, but his life ended tragically after he was framed for a crime and sentenced to death.

“The story of Aesop is truly epic and universal,” said Berdugo, who’s looking for German and Italian co-production partners. “We’re not aiming to make an academic film, but rather an entertaining film filled with humor.”

The project, which will lense in Morocco, has received coin from France’s CNC.

Cite Films’ recent co-productions include Pan Nalin’s documentary “Faith Connections,” which world-preemed at Toronto;other upscale films co-produced by Berdugo include “Salvo,” “Respiro” and “Caramel.”

Berdugo previously founded and ran Roissy, one of France’s biggest production and sales houses, which was acquired by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp in 2008.

Berdugo said he aims at co-producing two films per year and handles sales on some of these pics.

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