Steve Zaillian, Mandate nab 'Close'

Screenwriter Jens Assur to direct the dramatic thriller

Steve Zaillian and Mandate Pictures have purchased Swedish photojournalist Jens Assur's screenplay "Close Far Away" for their new production co-venture Film Rites.

Assur is attached to direct the dramatic thriller for the shingle, which has a first-look deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Set in Europe, Africa, and the U.S., "Away" follows several characters put into vulnerable situations whose actions carry global consequences.

Zallian will produce the feature and Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Film Rites' Garrett Basch brought in the project and will oversee it with Mandate's Nicole Brown.

Assur won the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival best narrative short award for his writing and directing debut, "The Last Dog in Rwanda." Mandate's Dan Freedman brokered the deals on behalf of Film Rites.