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Cannes: Luxbox Drives Into Production, Boarding ‘Penal Cordillera’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based sales company drives into production, links to Dominga Sotomayor’s Cinestación on awaited Chilean debut

Paris-based sales company Luxbox, which handled sales on the Martin Scorsese-backed “A Ciambra” and Berlinale hit “The Heiresses,” is driving into production, partnering with Dominga Sotomayor’s Chile-based Cinestación on “Penal Cordillera.”

Focusing on edgy or adventurous titles often with a high-profile festival presence, Luxbox will also handle world sales on “Penal Cordillera,” the feature debut of Chilean playwright-director Felipe Carmona.

Written by Carmona, with script consultancy from Alejandro Fadel, whose “Muere, Monstruo, Muere” plays Cannes’ Un Certain Regard this year, “Penal Cordillera” is based on a true story. It turns on the last stand made by five army generals of the Augusto Pinochet regime, the dictator’s most murderous torturers whose sentences for human rights violation totalled over 800 years in prison, to avoid at any cost their transfer from a luxury prison in the Andes foothills.

“Penal Cordillera” tips into horror as the former-torturers’ decision to fight oblivion reawakens their monstrosity – and a nightmarish atmosphere in the prison.

“This is a very interesting script, which starts with the mundane and a lot of humor, to gradually give way to terror, violence and delirium,” said Sotomayor, who produces at Cinestación with Omar Zuñiga.

The debut was one of the highlight projects at Sanfic’s Santiago Lab. Luxbox itself discovered “Penal Cordillera” at Marseilles’ FidLAB.

“We were immediately captured by the rigor of characterization of these real figures and the powerful atmosphere that the script transmits,” said Luxbox co-founder Hédi Zardi.

Luxbox, the French production partner on Carlos Reygadas’ upcoming “Donde nace la vida,” sold by The Match Factory,  is now also co-producing “Barchini,” a docu-feature from Italian director Yuri Ancarani about Venice teens living out their adolescent dreams on motorboats.

“We aim to combine sales with the production of a select number of projects per year,”  said Zardi. “It’s a way of being involved very early on a project, bringing  it financial support and our international insight.”

At Cannes, Luxbox is handling international sales on Directors’ Fortnight player “Dear Son,” from Mohammed Ben Attia, whose “Hedi,” which won the 2016 Berlinale awards for Best First Feature and actor (Majd Mastoura), proving Luxbox’s first big festival and sales hit.

Also on its slate is Brazilian-Portuguese Un Certain Regard player “The Dead and the Others,” a knowing fiction-film take on the mindset of young indigenous Brazilians; Berlinale 2018 winner triple winner “The Heiresses”; and Karim Ainouz’s “Central Airport THF,” which, like “The Heiresses,” was chosen by Variety among the 10 best films of the 2018 Berlin Festival.

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