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Miramax picks up Egoyan’s ‘Ararat’

Pic unfolds against Armenian genocide backdrop

Miramax Films has acquired domestic distribution rights to “Ararat,” the next pic by Canadian helmer Atom Egoyan.

Co-produced by Alliance Atlantis, Serendipity Point Films and Robert Lantos (the prolific producer of such Egoyan pics as “Exotica” and “The Sweet Hereafter”), the film, which began shooting May 22 in Toronto, was bought as it went into production.

“Ararat,” which concerns the Armenian genocide of 1915, features a large ensemble cast, some of whom are regular members of Egoyan’s troupe: Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Marie-Josee Croze, Brent Carver, Bruce Greenwood, Arsinee Khanjian, Elias Koteas, David Alpay and Christopher Plummer.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of a film production dealing with the Armenian genocide. Shifting between history and contemporary life, film explores questions of sexuality, culture and personal identity.

“‘Ararat’ is a film that demands to be seen by the largest possible audience, and Miramax is definitely the company that has the means and the passion to be able to do that successfully,” said Egoyan, who called the pic his most personal and important piece of work.

Egoyan, who lives in Canada, was born in Egypt to Armenian parents.

Alliance Atlantis will distribute pic in international markets and Canada.

Miramax, which also released “Exotica,” was repped in negotiations by Charles Layton, exec veep, office of the co-chairman, and Andrew Herwitz, senior veep of acquisitions.

Mark Musselman repped Serendipity Point Films, and Patrice Theroux represented Alliance Atlantis.