Project: The Exodus
Scr: Leo Ricciardi
Estimated budget: $3.4m (Eu2.5m)
Funds in place: $1.2m (Eu900,000)

Part thriller, part family drama, Leo Ricciardi's The Exodus is set ina deserted Russian town called Krust which was cursed 20 years ago,forcing its inhabitants to flee.

Argentina-born Ricciardi says he is fascinated by Russia. 'It's one ofthe most superstitious cultures in the world,' he explains, pointingout he may shoot the project in Canada as it will require a lot of snow.

The Exodus focuses on the dark secrets revealed when a US photographervisits Krust and meets a young girl and her boyfriend. The latter wasforced to flee the village many years before and has returned to findout what happened to his father.

Ricciardi's Buenos Aires-based production company Odisea Films isproducing the project with France's Artear Films and Spain's AligatorFilms.

Ricciardi's first project, Young Blood (Pura Sangre), was agenerational story about a nine-year-old boy who goes to live with hisbad-tempered grandfather following his parents' death in a car crash.

The film was released in Argentina earlier this year after screening atthe Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival and Los Angeles' AFIfilm festival in 2006.

The film-maker has previously produced several Argentinian TV projectsas well as documentaries and short films including 2004's Next Exit(Proxima Salida) and 2006's The Last Boundary (L'Ultimo Confin).