Irish Abroad: Magnolia Pictures acquires North American rights for Paddy Breathnach’s Viva

Deadline is reporting that US distributor Magnolia Pictures has acquired North American rights to Paddy Breathnach’s Spanish language drama Viva.

Viva, which was primarily filmed in Cuba with some Irish shooting, is the story of Jesus, a young man growing up in Havana, who works as a hair and make-up artist for drag acts. His secret desire is to perform on stage, but he must choose between pursuing his dream and reconnecting with his father, who is newly released from prison.

Héctor Medina stars in the lead, alongside writer Mark O’ Halloran (Adam and Paul), as well as Jorge Perugorría (Strawberries and Chocolate) and Luis Alberto García (Che). Cathal Watters (One Million Dubliners) is Director of Photography on the film, while Production Designer Paki Smith reunites with Breathnach, having previously worked together on Man About Dog.

Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole produce for Treasure Entertainment, with funding from the Irish Film Board, Windmill Lane Pictures, RTÉ, and Treasure Entertainment. Nelson Navarro Navarro from Island Films in Cuba co-produced

Earlier this year Viva was selected to be the Irish entry for Best Foreign Language Film, by a panel of the Irish and Film Television Academy. The film played at the prestigious Toronto and Telluride film festival, acquiring the Academy Award winning actor Benecio Del Toro as Executive Producer prior to the latter festival.

Magnolia’s Dori Begley and John Von Thaden made the deal with Josh Braun of Submarine and Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.

Magnolia hope to release Viva in the US and Canada in 2016.