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Issue-oriented pics lure producer

Carol Polakoff rampus up development slate

Filmmaker Carol Polakoff is ramping up a development slate of issue-oriented projects through her New York and Paris-based banner Carol Polakoff Prods. Intl.

Polakoff has tapped Israeli helmer Eran Riklis (“Lemon Tree”) to direct the politically charged drama “Secret Sky,” written by Micah Schraft and Abdi Nazemian. Alexandra Stone of CMP Film Ltd. (“Fast Food Nation”) will co-produce the project, which is based on the true 2004 story of an American human rights lawyer who grew up in Tehran and is summoned back to Iran to represent two teenage boys who are jailed for being gay.

Polakoff, a former journalist and DGA award winner whose TV projects have been nominated for 18 Emmys, is committed to making socially conscious and commercially viable pics that will entertain global audiences.

“I want to make movies that provoke you and take you someplace you haven’t been but you’ll never forget,” Polakoff told Variety. “My beat is drama with a social bent, but a project has to have entertainment value. ”

Polakoff has acquired the rights to Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book “American Prometheus.” Recipient of last year’s Sundance/Sloan grant, “American Prometheus” tells the story of the McCarthy-era persecution of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. Robert Edwards (“Land of the Blind”) will write and direct the pic, which is described as a political thriller with an epic love story.

Polakoff has also optioned James Verini’s New York Times article “The Great Cyberheist,” the true story of young criminals who pull off what is known as the greatest cyber crime in history. Polakoff is partnering with Doug Davison of Quadrant Pictures on the project, which will be exec produced by Steven Shin.

An experienced screenwriter, Polakoff recently adapted Alan Jolis’ book “The Last Night,” a romantic thriller set during the chaos of the French Revolution. Story follows a police commissioner who spends a frantic night searching for the escaped Queen. Colleen Camp is producing with P. Jennifer Dana (“The Art of Getting By”).

Polakoff is financing development on her projects via a consortium of U.S. and European-based private investors who believe in the diverse slate of indie and commercial titles with justifiable budgets.

Polakoff produced docs that aired on PBS including “Cuba: In the Shadow of Doubt” and “The Closing Door: An Investigation of U.S. Immigration Policy.”

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