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Sundance Channel First Scripted Series "Carlos" Premieres Oct 11th


With his subtle, masculine style, Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez, is among a select group of young actors on the rise in Hollywood.

Ramirez next stars in award-winning French director Olivier Assayas’ feature ILICH – STORY OF CARLOS.  Ramirez plays Carlos, a legend in the espionage world for over 30 years.  A complex character, he was the anti-James Bond who worked for literally everyone: radical Palestinians from the FPLP, Syria, Libya, Irak, Ceaucescu’s Romania.  Ramirez is speaking 4-5 languages for the role, and is shooting in numerous locations including France, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Lebanon, Yemen and possibly Sudan.  The project will be released as a feature by IFC in Fall 2010, as well as a three part television series on Canal +.  It will premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Ramirez can currently be seen in the Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara bio-pic, “The Argentine”, with Benicio Del Toro.  The film, written and directed by Stephen Soderbergh, premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.  Ramirez was last in SONY Pictures’ political thriller, VANTAGE POINT, opposite Forest Whitaker, Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox.  The film is told in a Rashomon narrative style and follows the attempted assassination of the president from five different perspectives.

Ramirez can currently be seen internationally starring in CYRANO FERNANDEZ, a Venezuelan-Spanish production based on the French play CYRANO DE BERGERAC.  This film marks Ramirez’s first foray into producing.  The film had its world premiere at the AFI Film Festival in November and won the Audience Award at the 2008 Malaga Film Festival.  For his performance in the film, Ramirez won the Best Actor Award in the official selection of Territorio Latinoamericano.  Also to be released later this year is ELIPSIS, directed by Eduardo Arias-Nath and to be distributed by Fox Latin America.

Ramirez made his American film debut as “Choco” in Tony Scott’s DOMINO, opposite Keira Knightley and Mickey Rourke.  He also starred in Universal Pictures’ THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, opposite Matt Damon.

Ramirez has additionally appeared in a number of international film productions.  His past international film credits include EL DON (THE BOSS), directed by J.R Novoa (Venezuela/Spain); LA HORA CERO (THE MAGIC HOUR), a short film directed by Guillermo Arriaga, the acclaimed screenwriter of AMORES PERROS and 21 GRAMS (Mexico); EL NUDO (THE KNOT), directed by Alejandro Wiederman (Venezuela); YOTAMA SE VA VOLANDO (YOTAMA FLIES AWAY, directed by Luis Armando Roche (Venezuela – France); PUNTO Y RAYA (STEP FORWARD), directed by Elia K. Schneider (Venezuela – Spain – Chile – Uruguay), a nominee for Oscar consideration for 2004 Best Foreign Film; and ANONIMO (ANONYMOUS) directed by Enelio Farina (Venezuela).

A native of Caracas, Venezuela, Ramirez grew up all over the world due to his father’s job as a military attaché.  He has made his home in such diverse countries as Austria, Canada, Colombia, Italy and Mexico and is fluent in German, English, French, Italian and Spanish as a result.  Throughout his travels Ramirez developed a great love and ability for intercultural communication, a skill he parlayed into a degree in journalism.  He specialized in political communications and initially intended on becoming a diplomat.

In 2000, before turning to acting full time, Ramirez was the executive director of NGO Dale Al Voto, a Venezuelan organization akin to Rock the Vote.  In order to foster democratic values among young people, Ramirez and his team created cutting edge campaigns for radio, television and cinema.  The campaign was well received by audiences throughout the country.  He also lent his expertise to various Venezuelan multilateral organizations including Organization of American States, Transparency International and Amnesty International.

Ramirez currently serves as the host of a short film festival hosted on the AXN Network (SONY-owned network in Latin America).  The festival is in its second year.

Sundance Channel will air the U.S. premiere of CARLOS, the highly anticipated epic by award-winning filmmaker Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours), October 11 to October 13 at 9:00pm et/pt, with an encore presentation each night at 12:00am et/pt.  The three-part mini-series is the definitive portrait of the renowned international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, who masterminded a wave of terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East in the ’70s and ’80s.  Produced by Studio Canal in association with Sundance Channel, the film is Sundance Channel’s first original scripted project.

CARLOS stars Édgar Ramírez (The Bourne Ultimatum, Che) in the lead role. Per Todd McCarthy of IndieWire he “inhabits the title role with the arrogant charisma of Brando in his prime.” For two decades, Carlos was the most wanted terrorist on earth.  Manipulated by Arab secret services, protected by the Eastern bloc, in various disguises and under many pseudonyms, he headed a worldwide organization responsible for spectacular killings, hijackings and bombings.  CARLOS tells the story of the revolutionary international terrorist, both manipulator and manipulated who was alternately seen as hero, playboy, revolutionary and villainous assassin, carried along by the currents of contemporary history and his own folly.

Co-written by Assayas and Dan Franck, CARLOS illustrates the evolution of contemporary terrorism as it examines the life of its title character, a Venezuelan whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez.  Tracing the arc of Carlos’s criminal activities across two decades and several nations, CARLOS is a dramatization based on historical and journalistic documentary research and was shot in various countries including Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Lebanon and Morocco.

On October 15 IFC Films will launch the U.S. theatrical release of the film in New York City.  CARLOS will play nationally in both its extended, three-part version as well as a two-and-one-half hour theatrical version.  The theatrical version will also be available nationally on video-on-demand.  Sundance Channel and IFC Films are owned and operated by Rainbow Media.

Sundance Channel’s schedule for CARLOS is as follows:

October 11th at 9pm and 12am

Part One

Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (Édgar Ramírez), an activist of Venezuelan origin who fought alongside the Palestinians in Jordan, carries out a series of attacks in London.  He then moves to Paris, where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) puts him in charge of its European branch under the command of a Lebanese militant, Michel Moukharbal, alias “André” (Fadi Abi Samra).  Ilich coordinates several operations, notably the hostage taking in the French Embassy in The Hague by militants of the Japanese Red Army.

When André is arrested, French agents of the domestic intelligence service, the DST, want to know more about Ilich, who has by now adopted the nom de guerre “Carlos.”  To escape arrest, Carlos shoots three policemen.  He then joins the head of the PFLP, Wadie Haddad (Ahmad Kaabour), in southern Yemen.  Haddad entrusts Carlos with a daring mission – taking hostage the oil ministers of the OPEC countries at their forthcoming conference in Vienna.

October 12 at 9:00pm and 12:00am

Part Two

Leading a group of six militants – leftists from German Revolutionary Cells and Palestinian militants, including Anis Naccache (Rodney El-Haddad) – Carlos seizes control of the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, taking ministers and accompanying delegates hostage.   He is at the height of his notoriety in the media.  However, Carlos ultimately fails to carry out the specific mission that Haddad had given him and an angry Haddad ejects him from the PFLP.  Carlos now becomes a terrorist-for-hire to whichever country offers the most.  First Iraq, then Syria.  Eventually, he switches operations to behind the Iron Curtain.  Moving between Budapest and East Berlin under the protection of the Stasi, he begins working with the remnants of the Revolutionary Cells, in particular Johannes Weinrich (Alexander Scheer) and his wife Magdalena Kopp (Nora Von Waldstatten), who soon leaves Weinrich for Carlos.

October 13 at 9:00pm and 12:00am

Part Three

Carlos’s group, based in Budapest and protected by Syria, stirs the pot of geopolitical destabilization on behalf of various clients, among them Ceausescu’s Romania and Libya.  As the mastermind, Carlos is trafficking arms, handling huge sums of cash and leading the life of the Godfather of European terrorism.  But all that is about to change: the world order is shifting dramatically.  With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Carlos loses several of his backers and his arena of operation is drastically reduced.  The last place offering refuge is Sudan.  Carlos is by now a retired terrorist, tracked by the secret services of several countries, abandoned by his closest allies, a long way from the center stage of international politics.  His role as a player is over; he is left to observe the shifts in global power from a distance.  Meanwhile, the French remain determined to bring Carlos to justice for his crimes.

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