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Berlinale: ‘Sworn Virgin’ Director Laura Bispuri Set For ‘Daughter of Mine’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 2/15/2017 Nick Vivarelli
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Italian director Laura Bispuri, whose transgender-themed “Sworn Virgin” was a 2015 Berlinale competition standout, will shoot Sardinia-set motherhood drama “Daughter of Mine,” about a young girl torn between her natural mother and her adoptive one.

Germany’s The Match Factory is on board as both co-producer and world sales agent.

Principal photography is scheduled to start this summer on “Daughter,” which centers around a 9-year-old girl who, while living an apparently ordinary family life, meets a woman who lives nearby and gradually discovers that this woman is her real mother. This prompts a competition for her affection between her adoptive mother and the biological one. “The girl is torn between the two,” said producer Gregorio Paonessa, co-chief of Rome’s Vivo Film.

Two A-list Italian actresses, whose names are still being kept under wraps, will play the antagonistic mothers.

Paonessa pointed out that this “very contemporary theme” is “set against an archaic backdrop in terms of its setting, which should provide the film’s universal aspect. We are in the present, but in rural Sardinia, the island’s outback, in a landscape which is almost like the Far West,” he noted.

“This film is totally in line with Laura’s journey as a director,” Paonessa said. “Her films have always been meditations on the female condition. In the first one it was gender identity, now she is taking further a step and tackling the theme of maternity.”

Bispuri has cited adopted American writer A.M. Homes’s memoir “The Mistress’s Daughter” as a source of inspiration.

Vivo Film, which also produced “Sworn Virgin,” is producing “Daughter” with financing from Rai Cinema, as well as from the Italian culture ministry, and the Sardinia Film Commission, and in co-production with The Match Factory, Swiss shingle Bord Cadre Films, and a yet-to-be-named French partner, with whom they are in final talks.

The project, penned by Bispuri and her regular co-writer Francesca Manieri, was at the Berlinale Co-Production Market.

“Sworn Virgin,” which was Bispuri’s first feature, travelled widely. After  bowing in Berlin it won Tribeca’s Nora Ephron prize and was distributed by Strand Releasing in the U.S.

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