Zapata, Escobar, Moreno Team for ‘Butterflies’ (EXCLUSIVE)

A big step-up for Zapata, globetrotting love drama to shoot in English

Budding Brazil-based Colombian auteur Juan Zapata (“Simone”) is teaming with Brazilian actress Daniela Escobar (“The Clone”) to produce his second feature: “Butterflies,” a love story which, in a sign of its ambition, will shoot in English in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam and Munich.

Born at the 2014 Gramado Film Festival in South Brazil, where Zapata and Escobar decided to create a full-bore international production, “Butterflies” is currently initiating production and will shoot through October.

It will star Marlon Moreno, lead of “Dog Eat Dog,” whose Sundance 2008 selection effectively brought down the flag on the New Colombian Cinema, and Escobar whose credits include, of movies, “Underground Game” by Roberto Gervitz – and several Globo soap operas, such as “The Clone”, “América”, “Caribbean Flower,” aswell as the TV series, “A Casa das Sete Mulheres.” Moreno will soon be seen in Colombia’s version of Argentinean smash hit “Corazon de Leon.”

Underscoring an increasing trend in Latin America towards multilateral co-production – to pare risk, grow budgets in synch with directors’ ever-greater ambitions and make a more unequivocally international production as local production finance in the Rio Grande do Sul region decreases – “Butterflies” is produced by five companies in four countries: in Brazil, the director’s own label, Zapata Filmes, based out Rio Grande do Sul, along with investments of Linkenheim Participações Societárias; Colombia’s Ley en Movimiento; U.S. shingle BWL, which will associate produce; and Spain’s Astronauta Films.

Brazil and Paris-based Tucuman Films will serve as the distributor in Brazil.

Also written by Zapata and Escobar, “Butterflies” “shows, from a feminine point of view, how to believe again in love after intense mourning,” Zapata said.

Movie raises the bar considerably in scope and actors’ clout after Zapata’s freshman film, “Simone,” a relationship drama set in the Rio Grande do Sul region – and benefitting from local detail – which comes in at very common emotional needs from a not so common perspective.

“A story of freedom and the search for happiness,” in Zapata’s words, which was inspired in part by the life of its lead, Simone Telecchi, it borders documentary in some scenes, an increasingly common facet of movies made in Rio Grande do Sul (think “Castanha”) or, indeed, Brazil’s Pernambuco (think “August Winds”).

“Simone” turns on a lesbian, an actress, who has to decide whether to continue with her young woman lover, also a thesp, or accept a stable relationship with a doting man she’s uncertain she loves. She attempts the latter, without being able to give up her girlfriend: No love is perfect.

“Simone” was released simultaneously in five countries in 2013 and selected for multiple festivals, such as San Francisco, Mar del Plata, Tribeca, Torino and Geneva, among others.

Zapata also served as the director of the Rio Grande do Sul Film Institute.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beforeigners

    'Beforeigners’' Anne Bjornstad on HBO's First Norwegian Original Series

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —  HBO Europe’s first Norwegian original series, which debuted Aug. 21 exclusively across HBO’s territories, has garnered rave reviews in the Norwegian press. It is also a perfect fit for HBO’s brand and goal to create bold, smart and author-driven shows. Produced by Endemol Shine’s Norwegian prodco Rubicon TV, “Beforeigners” is helmed by [...]

  • Refugees from the besieged Muslim enclave

    Sarajevo’s True Stories Market: Documenting the Atrocities of War

    Reconciliation and dealing with the tragedies of the Yugoslav Wars has been a major focus of the Sarajevo Film Festival and its CineLink Industry Days event in recent years. The True Stories Market, launched in 2016, aims to connect filmmakers with organizations that are researching and documenting the Yugoslav Wars that spanned 1991 to 2001 [...]

  • Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’

    Ena Sendijarevic’s ‘Take Me Somewhere Nice’ Wins Top Prize in Sarajevo

    “Take Me Somewhere Nice,” Bosnian director Ena Sendijarević’s coming-of-age story about a teen raised in the Netherlands who returns to Bosnia to visit her ailing father, won the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival Thursday night, earning the Amsterdam-based helmer the coveted Heart of Sarajevo Award. The jury heralded the “beautifully photographed, acted, scripted [...]

  • Khadar Ahmed - BUFO - photo

    Bufo Sets Key Cast for Co-Production ‘The Gravedigger' (EXCLUSIVE)

    HAUGESUND, Norway  —   Actor Omar Abdi, who starred in the Ahmed-scripted short “Citizens,” and actress Yasmin Warsame, who made her name as a Canadian model, will topline romantic-tragedy “The Gravedigger,” the latest big screen project from Bufo, the Helsinki-based outfit behind Berlinale winner “The Other Side of Hope.” The film follows a Djibouti gravedigger [...]

  • Jacobs Ladder Movie 2019

    Film Review: 'Jacob's Ladder'

    It’s understandable that someone would want to remake “Jacob’s Ladder,” Adrian Lyne’s 1990 head-trip thriller about a Vietnam veteran haunted by fragmentary nightmare visions. I was far from alone in finding the original to be an overwrought but rather thin “psychological” horror film that was more punishing than pleasurable. And it wasn’t exactly a hit, [...]

  • Fiddler A Miracle of Miracles

    Film Review: 'Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles'

    Still beloved and routinely revived 55 years after its Broadway debut — including a Yiddish-language version now playing in New York — “Fiddler on the Roof” is a popular phenomenon that shows no sign of subsiding. Max Lewkowicz’s “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” provides an entertaining if hardly exhaustive overview of how the unlikely success [...]

  • 'Weathering With You' Heads for $100

    'Weathering With You' Heads for $100 Million Box Office Haul

    Makoto Shinkai’s animated romantic drama “Weathering with You” passed the JPY10 billion ($94 million) mark in Japan on Wednesday, according to an announcement by distributor Toho. This makes it the tenth-highest earning Japanese film of all time. Since its release on July 19 on 448 screens in 359 complexes, the film has racked up 7.52 million admissions. The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content