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'13 (Tzameti)' Getting English Adaptation

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NEW YORK (THR) -- Director Gela Babluani will remake his Sundance grand jury prize-winning thriller "13 (Tzameti)" in English for the Morabito Picture Co.

The production outfit, formed recently by producer and financier Valerio Morabito, nabbed all English-language remake rights to the French film, which will receive a domestic platform release in the fall by Palm Pictures.

"13 (Tzameti)" won the world cinema grand jury prize for best dramatic feature at January's Sundance Film Festival and the De Laurentiis Award for best first film at September's Venice International Film Festival.

The psychological thriller follows a naive young man who stumbles across instructions meant to be used by a dead gangster. His curiosity leads him to a clandestine world where men gamble behind closed doors with the lives of other men.

"Gela's original film is amazing," Morabito said. "He has a natural ability as a storyteller, and someone of his talent is a rare find. We are privileged to have acquired the rights along with his services to direct the film."

"Gela had 36 offers for the remake, but once I saw 'Tzameti' I knew we couldn't live without doing it," said producer Simon O'Leary, MPC's head of production. "We are thrilled to be working with Gela and re-creating one of most original thrillers since 'Memento.' "

O'Leary is meeting with writers to adapt and add plot elements to the original. MPC plans to begin filming early next year in the Northeast.

After producing 2003's "Kiss Me First" and television series for RAI in Italy, Morabito formed MPC with O'Leary last summer and opened its New York office in February. The company's first film is Mexican director Rigoberto Castaneda's psychological thriller "Blackout," which revolves around three people trapped in an elevator. "Blackout" is slated for principal photography in the summer, one of two to three English-language films MPC plans to produce annually.

O'Leary handled the negotiations with Babluani and his attorney Hubert Calliard. MPC is represented by Sloss Law and Endeavor Independent.


Gregg Goldstein writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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