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The Orchard Picks Up Colombian Film ‘Birds of Passage’

Cannes 2018: Directors’ Fortnight opening film follows the impact of the Colombian drug trade on an indigenous village

The Orchard announced on Sunday that it has acquired the North American distribution rights for “Birds of Passage,” the family drama from Oscar-nominated directors Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra that explores the impact of the Colombian drug trade on an indigenous village.

Premiering as the opening film at this year’s Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, “Birds of Passage” takes place in the 1970s, following an indigenous Wayuu family that becomes involved in the very lucrative business of selling marijuana to American tourists. While it proves to be profitable, the trade soon tears the family apart, putting their traditions, relationships and very lives at stake.

Gallego and Guerra broke into Hollywood’s arthouse scene with “Embrace of the Serpent,” a 2015 period drama set in the Amazon that became the first Colombian film to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language film. The screenplay was written by Maria Camila Arias and Jacques Toulemonde Vidal.

“This film was always conceived as a theatrical experience, and there’s really no better way to appreciate it than in the cinema,” said co-directors Gallego, Guerra and producer Katrin Pors. “We are very happy that audiences will have the opportunity to see it the way it was intended, and that we have found a passionate distributor that loves and defends the art of cinema as much as we do.”

“‘Birds of Passage’ swept us up immediately into an engrossing familial drama surrounded by a world bursting with stunning color and sound,” said Orchard’s EVP of Film and Television Paul Davidson. “Cristina and Ciro have delivered something altogether special and unique that we are honored to be a part of.”

The deal was negotiated by The Orchard‘s Danielle DiGiacomo, and by Films Boutique’s Jean-Christophe Simon and Louis Balsan on behalf of the filmmakers.