EXCLUSIVE: Rafi Pitts is co-writing his next film with Romanian writer Radvan Radulescu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 days, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu).

Thanassis Karathanos, producer of Pitts’ 2010 Golden Bear nominee The Hunter, will produce the Tijuana-set, English-language drama about a Mexican trying to cross the US border.

Pitts has secured development funding from the Medienboard fund for the film, called Soy Negro.

Iran-born director Pitts, who currently lives in Paris, hopes to shoot at the end of 2012 or early 2013.

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“I have been thinking about this story since The Hunter,” Pitts told Screen. “In a way I empathise with the Mexican character. Being in exile helps me understand his predicament. I think I am slightly obsessed with borders at the moment and the idea of getting into trouble for crossing a border and the absurdity of the character’s position makes the film more of a black comedy.”

During his talk with Screen, Pitts lamented the Iranian government’s recent decision to close the House of Cinema, Iran’s umbrella guild for cinema professionals: “It’s strange not to be at the festival this year, the first time in seven years. But I want to thank Dieter Kosslick for all the support he has given our industry and not to forget that the House of Cinema has been closed down”.

Karathanos, whose credits include 2009 Oscar nominee Ajami, co-produced this year’s Berlin Competition entry Postcards from the Zoo.