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Michel Merkt boards Babak Jalali's 'Land'

EXCLUSIVE: Film revolves around native American family. Bac Film showing first images in Cannes. 

Swiss producer Michel Merkt has boarded Babak Jalali’s upcoming drama Land about a native American family dealing with the scourge of alcoholism and the death of a loved one serving in Afghanistan.

Merkt, whose recent credits include the Oscar-nominated My Life As A Courgette, Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End Of The World and Toni Erdmann, has helped close a post-production financing gap.

The deal was begun during the Doha Film Institute’s talent development event Qumra in March, where Land was presented as a work-in-progress. “It’s a great asset for us. Michel’s doing a fantastic job and is behind so many high-quality cinema productions right now,” said lead producer Ginevra Elkann of Rome-based Asmara Films.

The picture is now close to picture lock with Belgian editor Nico Leunen attached and sights set on an autumn festival release. Iran-born Jalali’s third film after the award-winning Radio Dreams, the picture is billed as a “contemporary western” and features a native American cast. Paris-based Bac Films, which is handling international sales, is showing a first promo for the film at Cannes.  

Co-producers comprise Christophe Audeguis of Paris-based The Cup Of Tea, Julio Chavezmontes of Mexican production house Piano and Arnold Heslenfeld and Frans Van Gestel of Dutch outfit Topkapi.

Other upcoming films for Merkt include Anup Singh’s The Song Of Scorpions and Paul Verhoeven’s Blessed Virgin, his latest producer collaboration with France’s Said Ben Said.

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