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CANNES '07 | Cuaron, Del Toro, and Inarritu Form 'cha cha cha'; Trio Ink 5 Film Pact With Universal/

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire May 18, 2007 at 2:23AM

Acclaimed filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men"), Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel") are forming cha cha cha, a unique production partnership debuting with a Cannes market project. Cha cha cha is partnering with Universal Pictures and its Focus Features International unit for financing, international sales and distribution on an upcoming slate of five films. The new projects include directorial efforts for all three men, as well as new films from writer/directors Carlos Cuaron (Alfonso's brother) and Rodrigo Garcia.
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Acclaimed filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron ("Children of Men"), Guillermo del Toro ("Pan's Labyrinth"), and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel") are forming cha cha cha, a unique production partnership debuting with a Cannes market project. Cha cha cha is partnering with Universal Pictures and its Focus Features International unit for financing, international sales and distribution on an upcoming slate of five films. The new projects include directorial efforts for all three men, as well as new films from writer/directors Carlos Cuaron (Alfonso's brother) and Rodrigo Garcia.

The union will allow the trio to maintain creative control over their films, including producing projects as independent filmmakers with the benefit of backing from a major studio to support the films globally.

The three partners, all born in Mexico, were each double Oscar nominees earlier this year, and have earned a combined 24 Academy Award nominations over the past decade, winning four. To date, the international grosses of their films has topped $1 billion.

"These extraordinarily gifted friends and colleagues have made some of the most essential films in recent years," praised Universal Pictures chair Marc Shmuger, co-chair David Linde, and Focus CEO James Schamus, in making the announcement this morning (Friday).

Carlos Cuaron's film, "Rudo y Cursi," is currently being sold at the market in Cannes and will star Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. At least two of the features are expected to shoot this year and all of them were independently developed by the filmmakers.

The slate will include a mix of English-language and Spanish-language films, and Universal will invest in and co-own all of the features with the filmmakers. Focus Features International will handle worldwide sales and distribution, excluding North America. North American distribution will be determined individually for each picture.

"We are proud to be not only part of the world cinema community, but also students of it," the three directors said in statement. "Universal and Focus are affording us a safe haven and the creative freedom to keep doing the work we love as well as nuture other filmmakers."