×

Amenta puts money on ‘Banker’

Director to adapt Yunus bestseller

ROME — “Banker to the Poor,” the best-selling autobiography of Nobel prize-winner Muhammad Yunus who devised the system of microcredit loans for the poor, is being adapted into a film boasting a “Slumdog Millionaire” angle.

Italian helmer Marco Amenta is developing the English-language feature for a planned early 2010 shoot in Bangladesh, where Yunus founded his Grameen Bank, which makes small loans with no collateral to enterprising but poor women unable to obtain credit from traditional banks.

Yunus is on board as a consultant with final screenplay approval.

Amenta’s Rome-based Eurofilm is in advanced negotiations to co-produce with several international partners including Germany’s Pandora Film.

Eurofilm purchased rights to the tome from Gallic publisher Editions Lattes.

Though casting is still being finalized, Amenta said “Banker” will topline two Indian leads with international cachet as well as a Western star and local talent.

Popular on Variety

The budget will be about $6.3 million which, Amenta joked, “will keep us in touch with the reality of a microcredit story.” Some Italian subsidy coin is being provided.

” ‘Slumdog’ has become our inspiration,” said Amenta who describes “Banker” as being “along the same lines, in that it’s a tale of poverty on the Indian subcontinent with an exciting and inspirational story suitable for a wide audience.”

The screenplay is co-penned by Amenta with Italo scribe Sergio Donati whose copious credits include Sergio Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in the West” and Amenta’s “The Sicilian Girl,” an anti-Mafia drama that opens in Italy this weekend and will unspool in Gaul in May.

Founded by Yunus, an economics professor, in the late 1970’s, Grameen Bank has helped over 4 million women and their families combat poverty in Bangladesh, while becoming a $2.5 billion enterprise. The microcredit model has spread to over 50 countries, including the U.S.

More Film

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Industry Debate: Streaming Not Done Reshaping Indie Film Business

    New viewing habits brought on by the rise of streaming have hastened the demise of the mid-budget American indie, changed the very definition of arthouse cinema, and shaken the indie distribution business. But theatrical is still here to stay, attendees of the Macao International Film Festival’s closed-door industry panels concluded Saturday. Panelists gathered to discuss [...]

  • Arab and African Filmmakers Are Increasingly

    Arab and African Filmmakers Are Increasingly Focusing on Genre Films and Series

    2019 has been an excellent year for films from Africa and the Middle East, with a higher presence in A-list festivals, and kudos for films such as Mati Diop’s “Atlantics,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes. The “new wave” of Arab and African cinema includes a small group of films that explore links with [...]

  • Producer Said Hamich on 'Zanka Contact,'

    Producer Said Hamich on Atlas Workshop Winner 'Zanka Contact,' Upcoming Projects

    Two projects from Franco-Moroccan producer Saïd Hamich won big at the Marrakech Film Festival’s Atlas Workshop this year, with the upcoming Kamal Lazraq-directed feature “Les Meutes” nabbing a development prize and the recently wrapped “Zanka Contact” winning an $11,000 post-production grant. “Zanka Contact” director Ismaël El Iraki was on-hand to present 10 minutes of footage, [...]

  • Major Film Festivals Are Becoming Key

    Major Film Festivals Are Becoming Key in Promoting Films From the Arab World, Africa

    Looking back at the lineups of key festivals such as Cannes and Venice this year, 2019 stands out as a banner year for movies from the African continent and the Arab world. During a panel hosted at the Netflix-sponsored industry event Atlas Workshops during the Marrakech Film Festival, Rémi Bonhomme, who works at Cannes’ Critics’ [...]

  • Robert RedfordRobert Redford tribute, 18th Marrakech

    Robert Redford Talks About Potential Next Film, U.S. Politics, Life Philosophy

    During a 90-minute onstage conversation at the Marrakech Film Festival, where he received an honorary tribute, Robert Redford spoke about his life-long quest for truth and freedom, and his political engagement through films, as well as a long-gestating project he’s considering producing, despite having announced his retirement. When he has spoken about the project, “109 [...]

  • For Sama SXSW Cannes Documentary

    'For Sama' Wins Best Feature at International Documentary Association Awards

    Syrian Civil War diary “For Sama” has won the best feature award from the International Documentary Association for Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. The award was presented by Frances Fisher on Saturday night at the 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles. The first-time award for Best Director went to Steven Bognar and Julia [...]

  • Two/One

    Macao Film Review: 'Two/One'

    Sometimes when you look out of an airplane window during a long-haul flight you get a view like the God’s-eye imagery that occasionally punctuates Argentinian filmmaker Juan Cabral’s intriguing debut: a dark, curved horizon rimmed with the glimmer of a new dawn. “Two/One,” the celebrated advertising director’s first full-length feature, seems born of this lofty, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content