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Rio’s Tucuman Takes FiGa Films’ ‘Sand Dollars’ For Brazil (EXCLUSIVE)

Sale marks first deal announced from FiGa, a strong presence at this year’s Rio Festival

RIO DE JANEIRO — Rio-based Tucuman Distribuidora de Filmes, a highly active distributor of European, Brazilian and Latin American art films, has closed Brazil on the FiGa Films-sold Toronto Festival breakout “Sand Dollars.”

Sand Dollars” represents the fourth feature from Dominican Republic scribe-helmer tandem Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman, after “Cochochi,” “Juan Gentil,” and “Carmita.”

Premiering internationally at Toronto, “Sand Dollars” is being acclaimed for both the sensitivity and honesty of its screenplay and direction – exploring the complexities of a love relationship between an aging French woman and nubile Dominican girl – and for an untrammeled performance from Geraldine Chaplin, near fifty years after “Doctor Zhivago.”

It also marks a co-production between the Aurora Dominicana, the directors’ DR/Mexico City-based production label, and two of Latin America’s most active co-producers: Canana, the Mexico City/L.A.-based production house established by Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Pablo Cruz, which has backed all of the directorial duo’s films; and Benjamin Domenech’s REI Cine, based out of Buenos Aires.

Based on the novel “Les Dollars des Sables” by France’s multi-prize winning Jean-Noel Pancrazi, the romantic drama explores the complex relationship between an ageing French tourist, Anne, played by Chaplin, and a young local girl Noeli (Yanet Mojica). Anne gives Noeli money, but the relationship is also sustained by fantasies: Anne’s that Noeli also loves her, Noeli’s of a future life in Paris.

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After Toronto, “Sand Dollars” plays at the Chicago Festival, for its U.S. premiere will close the Sao Paulo Festival, and also , receives a gala screening at the Rome Festival, which marks its European premiere. It will screen Mexico’s Morelia Festival.

There is interest in “Sand Dollars” in the U.S. Italy and France, FiGa Films founder Sandro Fiorin said at the Rio Festival.

Run by Priscila Miranda, Tucuman’s current slate also includes “The Other Side of Paradise,” from Andre Ristrum (“My Country”), co-distributed by Europa Filmes, which world premieres at the Rio Festival in Premiere Brasil. Beginning in 1960, seen through the eyes of his 12-year old son, it centers on Antonio who moves with his family to Brasilia, thinks he’s found happiness, then, as Brazil falls under a military dictatorship, runs into trouble as a trade union member.

Also on Tucman’s slate are Argentine Benjamin Nashtat’s Berlin competition player “History of Fear,” which creens in Rio’s Latin Premiere section, and Philippe Garrel’s “Jealousy,” a World Panorama player.

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