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Migrant Worker Drama ‘Lupe Under the Sun’ Acquired by Cinema Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

Cinema Slate has acquired all North American rights to Rodrigo Reyes’ migrant worker drama “Lupe Under the Sun” and plans a winter theatrical release, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Lupe Under the Sun” is described by filmmakers as a neorealist parable of an aging migrant worker living in California who longs to return to his home country of Mexico. The film won the Best Narrative Feature Film award at the 2017 Brooklyn Film Festival and a Special Mention from the Los Angeles Film Festival World Fiction Jury.

The movie is a Grumpy Squared Production, produced by Su Kim, Inti Cordera, Justin Chin and Pablo Mondragón. The executive producer is Pau Brunet.

The film was made with the support of the Canon Filmmaker Award from Film Independent and the Mexican Film Institute.

“Lupe Under the Sun” was made with a cast of nonprofessional actors, real farmworkers and authentic locations.

Lupe, played by Daniel Muratalla, is a migrant laborer who harvests peaches in California’s Central Valley and is estranged from his family in Michoacán. His work days begin at 4 a.m. and  often leave him exhausted — with his only relief coming from a quiet love affair with fellow immigrant, played by Ana Muratalla, and in the laconic camaraderie of his colleagues.

“Lupe Under the Sun” is Reyes’s debut fiction feature, inspired by the life of his own grandfather. His previous project was the documentary “Purgatorio: A Journey Into the Heart of the Border.”

He has received the support of the Mexican Film Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Independent Filmmaker Project, The California Humanities Council, the Canon Filmmaker Award from Film Independent, the MacDowell Residency as well as the Sundance Institute. He recently won a Guggenheim Fellowship for his next feature film project.

The deal was negotiated on Cinema Slate’s behalf by President Rodrigo Brandão and on the film’s side by Steve Holmgren and Francesca Alfano.

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