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EXCLUSIVE: Tale of Trapped Chilean Miners Heating Up AFM

Movie started shooting five days after the 33 miners emerged Oct. 13.

Antonio Recio's The 33 of San Jose, being sold here by Argentina-based sales banner America Video Films, started shooting five days after the 33 Chilean miners emerged on Oct. 13, blinking into the sunlight and media glare that captured the attention of global audience in more than 1 billion.

The project was in preproduction three weeks before what has been labeled the feel good news story of the decade and now it is attracting heat as buyers queue up at America Video Films.

The sales banner is selling the picture worldwide after acquiring global sales duties just before the AFM kicked off.

America Video Films said a deal memo is already signed for theatrical, television and DVD rights with CCV for Scandinavia while Blue Sky Media has also signed for the same trio of rights across Eastern European territories.

The list of interested parties is a long one for the movie with a guaranteed happy ending.

America Video Films told THR they are in conversation with a major studio to take theatrical rights to the "33" and there are four U.K. distributors circling the project. Two from Japan and a duo of U.S. Spanish language television stations are also digging the project.

Writers J J Barrios and Jacobo Bergareche began penning the script with Recio on a flight from Spain to Chile, just days after the news of the miners' plight began to unfold around the globe.

It was on that flight they decided they wanted to do a movie about the experiences of the miners set inside the mine that looked at how they coped with the pressure of potential collapse while all the while awaiting a far from guaranteed rescue.

It is produced by Andres Calderon and Feline Braun and stars a cast of 32 Chilean actors and one Bolivian star, reflecting the identical makeup of the trapped miners. The cast includes Cristian Mercado, who counts roles in Steven Soderbergh's Che Part 2 and Contracorriente (Undertow), which unspooled in Sundance.

The ending will include extensive news footage obtained via an exclusive deal struck between by backers Spanish broadcaster Antenna 3 and Chilean channel 13, who helped gather much of the footage watched by the world.

The trailer, being shown here for the first time, shows footage of the actors shot on location in a Chilean mine near the real one. It promises to take the viewer underground into the claustrophobic cavern that was their home for 69 days. "You've seen the outside, now take a glimpse of what it was like inside," it promises.

With a trailer and a one-sheet bearing the promise that the movie is the story of how the miners behaved and survived their underground ordeal, the speed with which America Video Films and the backers are bringing the movie to market is certainly speedier than the caged elevator capsule that finally freed them.