New York-based Visit Films has swooped on world sales rights to “Robe of Gems” (“Manto de Gemas”) which will world premiere in main competition at next’s month’s Berlinale.

Produced by some of the best known producers on the art film and crossover scene in Mexico and Argentina, “Robe of Gems” marks the directorial debut feature of  Natalia López Gallardo who has edited some of the most acclaimed and challenging films coming out of Latin America in the last decade, such as Lisandro Alonso’s “Jauja,” starring Viggo Mortensen,  and Carlos Reygadas’ “Post Tenebras Lux” and Amat Escalante’s “Heli,” the latter two both best director award winners at the Cannes Festival.

Written, directed and edited by López Gallardo, “Robe of Gems” turns on Isabel, a woman in the midst of divorce who moves to an old country house her family once owned.

There she discovers her helper Marta’s sister has gone missing; Roberta, the police chief leading the search for her is desperately concerned by her son’s involvement with local cartels; Isabel is torn by the need to help Marta who, unbeknown to Roberta, is also working for a local drug gang in order to make a living.

The three women’s path to redemption will be marred by tragedy and violence, the film’s synopsis anticipates.

“This film is about what we carry inside after years and years of accumulating, in our minds and dreams, infinite images of torture,” said López-Gallardo, calling the film “a collage that reveals a universe of characters who unwittingly contribute – as victims or active perpetrators – to the cycle of villainy.”

“My desire is to reflect this spiritual wound and its psychological dimension, one that is not visible,” she added.

Out of Mexico, “Robe of Gems” is produced by Fernanda de la Peza (“The Untamed”), “The Hole in the Fence” director Joaquín del Paso and López Gallardo.

Producers of Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama” and now her Berlinale Special “Terminal Norte,” Benjamín Domenech, Santiago Gallelli and Matías Roveda will co-produce through Buenos Aires’ REI Cine.

“Robe of Gems” is also backed by Foprocine, Splendor Omnia, Empírica, Cáctus Film and Video, Visit Films-owned Pretty Ideas, Detalle Films, CTT Exp & Rentals, and Off Holllywood Films. Sacha Ben Harroche and Ryan Zacarias serve as executive producers.

Mexican-Bolivian, López Gallardo heads up the high-end post-production studio Splendor Omnia, located in lovely countryside near Mexico City. Short film “En el cielo como en la tierra,” which she directed, was selected for the 2007 Cannes Critics’ Week.

“Working with Natalia on her debut feature is a dream. We have long admired her technical work as an editor as well as her more recent work as an actress. To see how talented she is as a director makes her the ultimate filmmaker, a talent who considers all aspects of cinema when creating magic,” said Visit President Ryan Kampe.