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Martel rolling ‘Holy’ for soph pic effort

Coming-of-age tale first acquisiton of HBO Films London

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine helmer Lucrecia Martel, who won international recognition for her freshman pic “La cienaga” (The Swamp), has begun lensing her second feature, “La nina santa” (The Holy Girl) .

Argentina’s Lita Stantic Prods., which co-produced “Swamp,” is producing the $1.4 million project with backing from Pedro and Augustin Almodovar’s El Deseo production outfit and Italy’s Teodora Films.

“Holy Girl” is a coming-of-age story about a zealous girl on a mission to save the soul of a 60-year-old man.

Martel wrote the screenplay with Juan Pablo Domenech, who is behind the hot TV drama “Culpables” and “Luna de Avellaneda”; Mercedes Moran is starring alongside Alejandro Urdapilleta and Carlos Belloso.HBO Films London will distribute “Holy Girl” worldwide, except in Argentina, Italy and Spain, where the film’s producers will handle sales in their respective countries. Pic is set for release in 2004.

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