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France’s Pyramide Intl. Takes Guatemala Drama ‘Seven Hours’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Directed by Chema Rodriguez (‘Nightfall in India’), movie turns on how Civil War engenders fear

MADRID – One of Europe’s most prestigious arthouse companies, Paris-based production-distribution-sales house Pyramide whose sales slate includes the Oscar-nominated “Leviathan,” has taken world sales rights to Chema Rodriguez’s feature film project “Seven Hours,” a portrait of the devastating psychological ravages of Guatemala’s Civil War.

Co-penned by Rodriguez (“Nightfall in India,” “The Railroad All Stars”) and Mexico’s Francisco Vargas (“The Violin”), “Seven Hours” is now scheduled to shoot late October, said “Seven Hours” producer Jose Nolla.

“I am delighted to sign one more Latin American film which is a cinematography we care a lot about here at Pyramide. ‘Seven Hours’ is a beautiful script, poetic and political; we were deeply moved by the story and the way this very contemporary subject is handled. We believe it is going to be a strong film in the vein of ‘La jaula de oro’ and ‘Ixcanul,’” said Pyramide head Eric Lagesse.

Pyramide Intl.’s world sales rights acquisition marks the latest step – and a highly significant one at that, being made at screenplay stage – in a project that has grown in its industry stature since its presentation at Paris’s Small is Biutiful last June, followed up by its selection for San Sebastian’s Europe Latin America Co-production Forum in September, at which it was chosen to segue to December’s Ventana Sur.

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Structured as a Spain-Mexico-France co-production, out of Spain, Producciones Sin Un Duro produces with Nolla’s Iconica Producciones. Focusing on films with strong social-issue heft, Producciones Sin un Duro’s credits include past Rodriguez’s movies such as crowd-pleasing docu-feature “The Railroad All-Stars,” a 2006 Berlin Panorama second Audiencc Award winner, and 2014’s road movie “Nightfall in India.” Several of his films – “Railroad,” docu-shorts “Street Love” and “Sad Drunk” – were shot in Guatemala.

A Madrid-based production company respected for its support of new talent, eclecticism and expertise at international co-production, especially with Latin America, Iconica’s credits include TV series “Vientos de agua,” from Argentine Oscar-winner Juan Jose Campanella, They also take in “25 Karats,” the debut of Patxi Amezcua who went on to direct Ricardo Darin-winner “7th Floor,” Javier Rebollo’s “The Dead Man and Being Happy,” a Goya and San Sebastian actor winner for Jose Sacristan, and Alejo Flah’s “Easy Sex, Sad Movies,” to be seen next month at the Miami Fest.

Backed by Vargas’ Mexico City-located Camara Carnal Films, “Seven Hours” is co-produced out of France by Jerome Vidal’s prodco Noodles, a frequent co-producer with Spain. “Seven Hours” won a Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund development award at November’s 3rd Los Cabos Festival in Mexico.

Vargas’ fiction debut, “El Violin” took Cannes by storm, winning a best actor award at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, then becoming one of Canana’s first releases in Mexico, out-grossing many mainstream U.S. titles.

“As a highly prestigious sales agent who has boarded at screenplay stage, Pyramide’s involvement is very important. It has a perfect profile for the film,” said Nolla.

70% of “Seven Hours’” financing is now in place. It will shoot in Guatemala’s Cuchumatanes Highlands, he added.

Set in a specific place and time in Guatemala, “Seven Hours” however, shows the consequence of the Civil War’s ghastly violence on a family. Nolla said: “It’s a film about fear, and fear is universal. The film shows how it destroyed a country.”

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