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Africa-Set Thriller ‘Sara’s Notebook’ Comes to Cannes From Film Factory (EXCLUSIVE)

Produced by Spain’s industry powerhouse, ‘Sara’s Notebook' reps one of Spain’s biggest movie bets for 2018

Boarding one of Spain’s biggest box office bets for early 2018, Barcelona-based Film Factory Entertainment has acquired international rights to “Sara’s Notebook” (El Cuaderno de Sara), from Telecinco Cinema.

Film Factory’s Vicente Canales will introduce the film to buyers in Cannes, presenting a first image promo.

Past movies from Telecinco Cinema, which has co-produced the No. 1 box office champ in Spain over four of the last five years, include J.A. Bayona’s “The Impossible,” “A Monster Calls,” “Spanish Affair” and its 2015 sequel. Telecinco Cinema, owned by broadcaster Mediaset España,  grossed $77.5 million in 2014 with “Spanish Affair,” four times the take of its nearest Hollywood rival, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” ($17.5 million).

That has, of course, encouraged Hollywood studios to move into the distribution of such titles. In the case of “Sara’s Notebook,” Disney distributes in Spain.

With Telecinco Cinema taking an equity position in its movies, the titles are often designed for export as well. Co-produced by Edmon Roch’s Ikiru Films, whose credits include “Perfume,” “Sara’s Notebook” is an African-set thriller exposing the multinational corporations that pillage the continent.

It stars one of Spain’s biggest and surest marquee draws, Belen Rueda, as Laura, a middle-class Spanish woman who has searched for years for her sister, Sara, who disappeared while working for a NGO in Africa. When a photo appears of her sister in a Congo mining town, which is a rebel stronghold, Laura initiates a journey to the town.

Pic shot for a month-and-a-half on location in Uganda by Norberto Lopez Amado (“They’re Watching Us”); pic is in Spanish, Swahili, English and French, “Sara’s Notebook” will be ready for delivery in the first quarter of 2018.

Film Factory founder Canales said the story has international potential, as it could happen in many places.

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