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Cannes: The Orchard Buys Colombian Crime Drama ‘Birds of Passage’ (EXCLUSIVE)

The Orchard has landed North American distribution rights to “Birds of Passage” out of the Cannes Film Festival, Variety has learned.

The Spanish-language film directed Ciro Guerra (“Embrace the Serpent”) and his wife, Cristina Gallego, chronicles a crime family involved in Colombia drug trafficking from the 1960s through the 1980s.

“The film was always conceived as a theatrical experience, and there’s really no better way to appreciate it than in the cinema,” said co-directors Gallego and Guerro and producer Katrin Pors in a statement. “We are very happy that audiences will have the opportunity to see it in the way it was intended, and that we have found a passionate distributor that loves and defends the art of cinema as much as we do.”

The film’s cast includes actors Carmiña Martínez, Jose Acosta, Jhon Narváez, Natalia Reyes, Jose Vicente Cots, Juan Martínez and Greider Meza.

“Birds of Passage” premiered at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight last week to strong reviews. “These days, with ‘Narcos’ on Netflix and ‘Loving Pablo’ in theaters, South American drug stories are a dime a dozen, but you’ve never seen one like ‘Birds of Passage,’ a visually stunning and often surprising true story that charts the rise of the Colombian drug business back before Escobar from its unexpected roots,” wrote Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge.

Guerra’s last feature, 2015’s “Embrace the Serpent,” landed a best foreign language film Oscar nomination.

“‘Birds of Passage’ swept us up immediately into an engrossing familial drama surrounded by a world bursting with stunning color and sound,” said Paul Davidson, The Orchard’s executive VP of film and television. “Cristina and Ciro have delivered something altogether special and unique that we are honored to be part of.”

The deal was negotiated by The Orchard’s Danielle DiGiacomo and Film Boutiques’ Jean-Christophe Simon and Louis Balsan.

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