EXCLUSIVE: Martel’s first feature in five years is set to shoot in Bolivia and northern Argentina mid-2014.

Marie-Pierre Macia and Juliette Lepoutre’s Paris-based MPM Film has boarded Argentine Lucrecia Martel’s Zama.

Buenos Aires-based Lita Stantic Produccionnes is lead producing the €4m picture. Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s Madrid-based El Deseo is also co-producing.

“We’ve been in talks since January but we wanted Lucrecia and Lita to be sure we were the right partners,” said former Directors’ Fortnight chief Macia.

The picture is based on the late Argentine writer Antonio di Benedetto’s 1950s existentialist classic Zama.

“It’s sort of the Argentine equivalent of The Outsider,” added Macia.

It is due to start shooting in March 2014 for 12 weeks, in Bolivia and the northern Argentine province of Formosa.

Zama was one of the hit projects at Rotterdam’s Cinemart co-production market this year, winning the WorldView New Genres Fund Development Award.

MPM already has strong links with Stantic, recently handling sales on her latest production Maria Florencia Alvarez’ Habi, the Foreigner (Habi, la extranjera),which premiered in Berlin earlier this year.

Macia and Lepoutre founded MPM (Movie Partners in Motion Film) in 2007. Veteran sales agent Pierre Menahem joined forces with the company in 2011 to set up a new sales division.

The company is also attached to Paraguayan director Paz Encina’s Memory Exercises about the true story of political activist Agustin Goiburu who was murdered in the 1970s during the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner.

The film, due to start shooting at the end of this year, is a co-production with Argentine Constanza Sanz Palacios Films and German Authentika Films.

Encina’s Paraguayan Hammock screened in Un Certain Regard in 2007. Lepoutre describes Encina’s new project as a hybrid film mixing interviews with Goiburu’s wife and children and reconstructions.

Other productions on MPM’s slate include Greek director Panos Koutras’ Xenia, which has just started shooting in Greece. The picture is a co-production with Greek 100% Synthetic Films, Wrong Men and Belgian Entre Chien et Loup with the backing of the CNC’s World Cinema Fund, Arte and Eurimages.

The company is also co-producing Georgian director Téona Grenade’s Dzma (Brother) with Georgia’s Cinetech Productions. The film is in post-production.

MPM has just picked up international sales on Bosnian Jasmila Zbanic’s new film For Those Who Can Tell No Tales, starring Australian actress Pamela Rabe as a tourist who stumbles on a hotel hiding a terrible secret relating to the Yugoslav War, which it plans to launch this autumn.