Chris Columbus
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Crystal City Entertainment, Chris Columbus1492 Pictures and Ocean Blue Entertainment have launched development on Holocaust refugee story “Exodus 47.”

Producers are Ari Daniel Pinchot for CCE along with Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, Mark Radcliffe and Jennifer Blum for 1492. Robert M. Johnson, Stuart Avi Savitsky and Jonathan Rubenstein will exec produce.

Mark Friedman will write the script,  based on the autobiography of John Grauel, a Baptist minister who was on the Exodus 47 on its mission to deliver Holocaust survivors to freedom in 1947. The ship, a worn-down steamer, picked up 4,500 refugees from the French port of Sete but was turned back near Palestine.

The plight of the refugees, who were taken to interment camps in Cyprus, played a key role in the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

“We’ve always been drawn to inspirational stories about selfless individuals who give of themselves for something greater and this story certainly has those characteristics,” said CCE co-founder Savitsky.

Columbus added, “I am really excited about the chance to bring ‘Exodus 47′ to the screen. I find it astounding that this particular and very real version of the Exodus story has never been turned into a movie.”

Crystal City’s producing credits include “The Ides of March” and “The Butler,” and the shingle is developing a Van Cliburn project with Temple Hill and Ansel Elgort.

Columbus and Barnathan were producers on “The Help” and Harry Potter films “The Sorcerer’s Stone” and “the Chamber of Secrets.” Columbus is currently directing “Pixels” for Sony.

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