LOS ANGELES, CA (January 30, 2013) – Cinedigm has acquired North American distribution rights to Israeli photographer and filmmaker Shaul Schwarz’s NARCO CULTURA, which world premiered last week at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in the Documentary Competition section. The film was produced by Parts & Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy and Ocean Size Pictures’ Todd Hagopian; executive produced by Fred Warren and Robin Warren; and edited by Bryan Chang and Jay Arthur Sterrenberg. It will next screen at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section. Cinedigm plans a theatrical release and awards qualifying run for the film in 2013.
To a growing number of Mexicans and Latinos in the Americas, narco-traffickers have become iconic outlaws, glorified by musicians who praise their new models of fame and success. To this new constituency, they represent a pathway out of the ghetto, nurturing a new American dream fueled by an addiction to money, drugs, and violence. NARCO CULTURA is an explosive look at the drug cartels’ pop culture influence on both sides of the border as seen through the eyes of an LA narcocorrido singer dreaming of stardom and a Juarez crime scene investigator on the front line of Mexico’s Drug War.
“Through its unprecedented access and shocking imagery, NARCO CULTURA reveals the complex interplay between the tyranny wrought by the drug cartels, as well as their prominent role in defining the culture at large,” said Vincent Scordino, Vice President of Acquisitions, Theatrical, for Cinedigm. “We are so proud to be working with Shaul and the producers to bring NARCO CULTURA to audiences, who upon seeing the film, will not be able to ignore this crisis any longer.”
“From the first time I went to Juarez in 2008 as a photojournalist, I knew I wanted to tell the complex story of the drug war not from the side of policy, police, or cartel, but instead from the lives of people who are directly and indirectly affected by the endless cycle of violence,” said Schwarz. “Today I am ecstatic that Cinedigm has come onboard to distribute this film. We had an amazing reception at Sundance and now I know more people will get a chance to see the reality that is commonly ignored as the drug war rages on.”
Emily Rothschild, director of acquisitions for Cinedigm, negotiated the film deal with CAA, on behalf of the filmmakers.
NARCO CULTURA is Schwarz’s film debut. His photography work has appeared in major international publications such as National Geographic, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times Magazine, Geo, Paris Match, Stern, El Pais Magazine, GQ and Marie Claire among others. His coverage of the conflict in Haiti in 2004 received two World Press Awards. In 2005, Schwarz won the highly acclaimed humanitarian Visa D’or Award for his photographic work on settlers from the Gaza Strip. Schwarz is represented by CAA.
Hagopian is currently in pre-production on another collaboration with Parts & Labor, DIRTY WHITE BOY, which will star Michael K. Williams as the late hip-hop artist Old Dirty Bastard.
This deal marks the third in the last week for Parts & Labor producers’ Van Hoy and Knudsen who went to Sundance this year with three films in competition. In addition to NARCO CULTURA, the duo produced Andrew Dosunmu’s MOTHER OF GEORGE featuring a breakout performance by Danai Gurira (which sold to Oscilloscope Laboratories), and David Lowery’s romantic drama AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS starring Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster (which was acquired by IFC Films). Parts & Labor has produced more than a dozen films including Mike Mills’ BEGINNERS (for which Christopher Plummer won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), Ira Sachs’ KEEP THE LIGHTS ON, Aaron Katz’s COLD WEATHER and Julia Lotkev’s THE LONELIEST PLANET.