Brit helmer Peter Webber (“Girl With a Pearl Earring”), whose latest pic “Emperor” will be released by Roadside Attractions Friday Stateside, is prepping two Spanish-language projects to shoot in Colombia.
Webber spent a month in Colombia with the Makuna tribe when he exec produced documentary “The Sand and the Rain” three years ago. “I’ve been looking for an excuse to live in Colombia ever since,” he said.
Colombia offers international filmmakers cash rebates of 40% on all film service expenditures and 20% cash rebates on logistical expenses.
Webber aims to shoot $1.5 million pickpocket drama with the working title “Fresh” in Bogota late this year. Paris-based Full House, run by former Wild Bunch exec Gael Nouaille alongside partners Laurent Baudens and Didar Domehri, and Colombia’s RCN Cine, the film arm of RCN TV, are on board as producers.
“I planned to make this my feature debut 10 years ago, but I made ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ instead,” Webber said.
“Fresh” was originally set in London until Webber realized that Bogota would be a better setting for the story of a young pickpocket who learns the tricks of the trade from a veteran master thief.
Webber wants his Colombian partners to help get the nuances and idiosyncrasies of local culture right. “I don’t want it to be obvious that a foreigner directed it,” he said.
“Fresh” is based on an original screenplay by British playwright Simon Stephens.
Webber’s next project, to be produced by Colombian producers Diana Rico and Richard Decaillet of 4Direcciones (“The Sand and the Rain”), is “One River,” a miniseries based on Canadian anthropologist-ethnobotanist and author Wade Davis’ history of plant exploration in the Amazon. Talks are under way with Caracol TV to come onboard as a producer and for broadcast rights.
Webber was at the recent Cartagena Intl. Film Festival where he was a juror in the Colombia al 100% sidebar. “For me, Colombia is a dream location and a relatively unexplored one,” he said. “Now that security issues are no longer a major issue, it’s ripe for discovery and cinematic exploitation.”