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by Jay A. Fernandez
September 11, 2012 5:47 PM
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Award-Winning Sundance Short About Somali Pirates 'Fishing Without Nets' Gets Financing From VICE Media for Feature Version

Director Cutter Hodierne and his team receive a $5,000 Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Shorts Awards. Photo by Jonathan Hickerson

In an unexpected collaboration, youth-media brand VICE will produce the feature film “Fishing Without Nets,” a story about Somali pirates to be shot in East Africa. The filmmaking debut of Cutter Hodierne, “Nets” is based on his recent short film, which won the grand jury prize in short filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

READ MORE: Watch Sundance Grand Jury Prize-Winning Somali Pirate Short 'Fishing Without Nets'

The project is the latest to parlay a successful Sundance-nurtured short into an expanded feature — Dee Rees, who turned her award-winning short into the 2011 film “Pariah,” was on the Sundance shorts jury that gave “Nets” its prize. The “Nets” short will soon be part of a 17-city tour as part of the Sundance Institute Art House Project Shorts Program, while production on the feature will begin this month with Raphael Swann, John Hibey and Hodierne; Picture Farm’s Ben Freedman and Rupert Wyatt; THINK Media Studios’ Brian Glazen and Stephanie Pinola; and Victor Shapiro producing.

Taking a page from Benh Zeitlin’s grand jury prize-winning feature “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which has been one of the most critically acclaimed indie films of the year, Hodierne will use local non-actors — Somali refugees and former hostages — to tell his story from the perspective of the pirates. VICE’s Eddy Moretti and Shane Smith will act as executive producers alongside THINK Media Studios’ Joe LoConti.

READ MORE: The Five Best Things Learned At Sundance ShortsLab L.A.

"‘Fishing Without Nets’ is a rare opportunity to look inside the world of pirating in Somalia in a human story told with authenticity and humanity,” said Moretti. “Cutter is a remarkably talented young director with the ability to capture the real life drama behind the newspaper headlines. This is exactly the kind of project VICE is excited to be involved in, and it’s the first of a series of films VICE will produce and finance in the coming months."

WME Global, which represents Hodierne, put together financing for the film and will handle worldwide sales rights.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood version from producer Scott Rudin, director Paul Greengrass and star Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips," is in post-production at Columbia for an October 2013 release.

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