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Miramax buys ‘Strawberry’ rights

HOLLYWOOD — Miramax Films has bought U.S. and Canadian rights to “Strawberry and Chocolate” (Fresa y Chocolate), the Cuban comedy that scored big at the Berlin Film Festival, capturing three awards.

Company execs, who plan a traditional arthouse release in late summer or early fall, clearly think the picture has the potential to break out beyond that limited audience.

Miramax managed that feat recently with its Spanish-lingo release “Like Water for Chocolate,” which has grossed about $ 19.8 million so far.

“Strawberry and Chocolate,” with striking images of the modern yet run-down Havana, details an unlikely friendship between a straight, conformist university student and a flamboyantly anti-establishment gay.

Several U.S. distribs expressed interest in the film in Berlin, andMiramax closed the deal at the recent Guadalajara Film Festival.

Directed by Tomas Gutierrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabio, pic is a co-prod of the Cuban film institute Icaic, Imcine-Tabasco Films of Mexico and Telemadrid of Spain and will be acquired through a European company.

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