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Berlin Competition Title ‘La Cocina,’ Starring Rooney Mara, Sells Nearly Worldwide for HanWay (EXCLUSIVE)


La Cocina,” the Rooney Mara-starring drama that recently bowed in competition at the Berlinale, has been acquired for most international territories.

HanWay Films has closed sales for France (Originals Factory), Australia and New Zealand (Vendetta), Spain (Avalon), Italy (Teodora Film), Benelux (Cherry Pickers), Switzerland (Filmcoopi), Scandinavia (Mis. Label), Poland (Monolith), Romania (Bad Unicorn), Baltics (Acme), Czech Republic (Film Europe), South Korea (The Coup Inc.), Japan (Sundae), Taiwan (Filmware International), China (HiShow), Greece (TFG), the Middle East (Front Row), Israel (Forum Film), Singapore (Shaw), Ukraine (Arthouse Traffic), Indonesia (Falcon Pictures) and Ships and Airlines (Cinesky). Before the Berlin Film Festival began, a key deal with Germany and Austria was closed with Square One Entertainment.

Variety understands that a U.K. and Ireland deal is very close to being finalized, while Fifth Season — which co-financed the film — is co-representing the North American sale with WME.

The fourth feature from one of Mexico’s most exciting and award-winning directors, Alonso Ruizpalacios (“Güeros,” “A Cop Movie”), “La Cocina” was one of the standouts from Berlin. Starring double Oscar nominee Mara and Mexican talent Raul Briones (“A Cop Movie,” “Asfixia”), the film was described by Variety in its review as “a thrilling in-spirit adaptation of Arnold Wesker’s 1957 play ‘The Kitchen,’ transposed from midcentury London to modern-day New York.”

“La Cocina” is set during the lunch rush at The Grill in Manhattan, where money has gone missing from the till. All the undocumented cooks are being investigated, and Pedro (Briones) is the prime suspect. He’s a dreamer and a troublemaker, and in love with Julia (Mara), an American waitress who cannot commit to a relationship. Rashid, The Grill’s owner, has promised to help Pedro with his papers so he can “become legal.” But a shocking revelation about Julia compels Pedro to spiral into an act that will stop the production line of one of the city’s busiest kitchens once and for all.

“La Cocina” was written and directed by Ruizpalacios, based on the play by Wesker and produced by Ramiro Ruiz, Gerardo Gatica, Lauren Mann and Ivan Orlic. The project is a co-production of Filmadora, alongside partner production companies Panorama, Fifth Season, Astrakan Film AB and Seine Pictures.