Magnolia picks up rights to “Viva” from Irish director Paddy Breathnach

Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American rights to VIVA, a new film directed by acclaimed Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach (MAN ABOUT DOG, BLOW DRY, I WENT DOWN).

The film is a coming-of-age tale set in contemporary Cuba, VIVA tells the timely story of a gay young man’s reconciliation with his estranged, disapproving father. The film, executive produced by Oscar-winning actor Benicio Del Toro and written by Mark O’Halloran, was lauded by both audiences and critics when it world premiered at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival.

Produced by Treasure Entertainment’s Rebecca O’Flanagan and Robert Walpole, who previously collaborated with Magnolia on Conor McPherson’s THE ECLIPSE, VIVA is Ireland’s official entry for the 2015 Foreign Language Film Oscar competition.

VIVA stars Héctor Medina as Jesus, a young hairdresser working at a Havana nightclub that showcases drag performers, who dreams of being a performer himself. Encouraged by his mentor, Mama (Luis Alberto García), Jesus finally gets his chance to take the stage. But when his estranged father Angel (Jorge Perugorría) abruptly reenters his life, his world is quickly turned upside down. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, VIVA becomes a love story as the men struggle to understand one another and reconcile as a family.

“Paddy Breathnach has delivered a gem with VIVA,” said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “The intimate look into life in Havana today is almost as fascinating as the beautiful performances and story.”

Also starring Cindy Luis Manuel Álvarez, Pamela Renata (Maikel Machín Blanco), and Cecilia Laura Alemán, VIVA was co-produced with Nelson Navarro Navarro from Island Films in Cuba. The film was financed by the Irish Film Board, Treasure Entertainment and Windmill Lane Pictures.
Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical release in 2016.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley and Magnolia VP of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, and by Josh Braun of Submarine and Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.