Cannes: Lionsgate Boards Sean Penn's 'The Last Face' (Exclusive)

Sean Penn AFI Fest Arrivals - H 2014

Sean Penn AFI Fest Arrivals - H 2014

UPDATED: River Road is financing the African-set drama starring Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron.

Lionsgate International has come aboard to handle Sean Penn's directorial effort The Last Face overseas, and will launch the project to foreign buyers at the upcoming Cannes Film Market.

The drama, set against the backdrop of war-torn Africa, stars Javier Bardem and Charlize Theron.Bill Pohlad's River Road Entertainment (12 Years a Slave) is financing The Last Face, which Penn is set to start shooting on location in Africa in August (River Road also financed Penn's Into the Wild).

Thanks to its A-list cast and Penn, the film should be generate keen interest among foreign distributors looking for product at Cannes.

STORY: Sean Penn's 'The Last Face' to Be Produced, Financed by River Road

From a script by Erin Dignam, the movie stars Theron as the director of an international aid organization working in Liberia who embarks on a love affair with a stubborn and impulsive relief-aid doctor, played by Bardem. However, their mutual passion for the value of life is matched by the intensity of their opposing opinions on how best to solve the conflict that surrounds them, creating a seemingly insurmountable rift.

Producers of the film are are Pohlad, Matt Palmieri (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Bill Gerber (Gran Torino). Palmieri developed and packaged the project, while CAA and WME are handling U.S. rights.