Cannes 2013: Sierra/Affinity to Shop Jon Stewart's Iranian Political Drama 'Rosewater' (Exclusive)

11:47 AM PST 03/27/2013 by Pamela McClintock
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Jon Stewart

Stewart is taking a 12-week break from "The Daily Show" this summer to shoot the UTA-packaged film, which marks his feature directorial debut.

Jon Stewart's Iranian political drama Rosewater is headed for the Croisette.

Sierra/Affinity revealed Wednesday that it will be shopping the high-profile project to foreign buyers during the Marche du Film, held in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival in May.

Stewart is taking a three-month break from The Daily Show to work on Rosewater, beginning in June. There's no word yet as to whether he will show up in Cannes to meet with international distributors, but it's not unusual for filmmakers to give a personal plug.

UTA packaged the project and is handling North American rights.

Rosewater is the film adaptation of BBC journalist Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy's New York Times best-selling memoir Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival, which tells the story of Bahari's 2009 arrest by the Iranian government while covering an election protest. He was interrogated and tortured during the next 118 days, including spending 107 days in solitary confinement.

Stewart's involvement with Bahari's story began before the arrest. Bahari had appeared on The Daily Show to talk about Iran, and his captors used the interview as evidence of his connection to Western spies. Stewart covered Bahari’s saga nightly, and had the journalist appear on the show to talk about his ordeal once he was released from prison.

Sierra/Affinity is handling the project for Gigi Pritzker's OddLot Entertainment, which is producing and financing the indie film. Producers are Scott Rudin, Pritzker and Stewart. Lila Yacoub and Eli Bush will executive produce.

Stewart wrote the adapted screenplay. 

Ben Affleck's Oscar-winning drama Argo, recounting the Iran hostage crisis, grossed an impressive $93.8 million internationally. It took in $135.5 million domestically for a global total of $229.3 million.

Sierra/Affinity acts as the exclusive sales agent for films developed and produced by OddLot.

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