New York/Buenos Aires set drama is first American film for Argentine helmer
MIAMI – Argentina’s Cepa Audiovisual, which originated Ricardo Darin hit “7th Floor,” is teaming with France’s Epicentre Films to co-produce Julia Solomonoff’s first American film “Nobody’s Watching,” the now New York-based Argentine helmer’s follow-up to “Sisters” and “The Last Summer of la Boyita.”
As part of its co-production deal, Epicentre will take French distribution rights. Travesia will partner Cepa Audiovisual in Argentina; “Watching’s” U.S. partner is Aleph Productions.
Set in New York and Buenos Aires, “Nobody” will shoot about 50/50 in English and Spanish, Solomonoff said at an ACE Co-Production Lab in Miami, part of the Miami Festival, where she presented “Watching” along with Cepa’s Felicitas Raffo to further potential co-production partners, plus distributors and sales agents.
Solomonoff, whose producing credits include Viggo Mortensen-starrer “Everybody Has a Plan” and Celina Murga’s Berlin Competition player “The Third Bank of the River,” exec produced by Martin Scorsese, has attracted prestige production partners for both her directorial debut, “Sisters,” whose producers included Walter Salles, and her second directorial outing, “Boyita,” co-produced by Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo.
On “Watching,” co-production comes with the territory: New York. Argentine actor Guillermo Pfening (“The German Doctor,” “Boyita”) plays Nico, an attractive Argentinean who lives in New York and works as a part-time servant, house-keep and nanny to the baby of an American actress friend, who has married up with a French financier. Nico was also, until recently, a famous Argentine actor.
He has come to New York to run away from his past and himself, dodging the emotional bullet of his unrequited love for a man whom he grew up with. Now a top producer in Argentina his love visits Nico in New York, forcing Nico to either keep up his pretence of a leisured life in New York or confront his real misery as a man who has nothing: emotionally, financially, socially.
“This is a film about immigration but not about a man searching for a green card,” Solomonoff said in Miami.
“He’s illegal but the truth is could be in New York for the rest of his life because he will never be seen as illegal. But he’s a man who’s constantly keeping up a façade, not dealing with his reality.”
She added: “It’s a film about identity and belonging. Thanks to his good looks, Nico is able to navigate different layers of the city’s life… and pretend to be who he is not. He needs to let go of those facades and find his own, real place.”
After seven drafts, Solomonoff’s screenplay, which won a Heineken Voces Award at 2013’s Tribeca Festival, is ready for production, she said.
New York is a “perfect place” for co-production, she added. “The great thing about New York is that it’s not just O.K. but part of the texture that an American is married to a French and has a Chinese kid. That’s the way it is.”
Producers aim to shoot in August in a summery New York, and then in October-November as Nico travels from New York’s dark winter to Argentina’s brutally bright summer to seek closure to his emotional journey.