Argentina: Up Next! – Javier Zeballos, Francisco d’Eufemia

Mar del Plata: Duo’s Gaucho Western ‘Patagonia’ Presented Thursday at Mar del Plata’s Work In Progress

MAR DEL PLATA– Javier Zeballos and Francisco d’Eufemia decided to face down a bold challenge for their feature debut, “Escape from Patagonia.” They shot an actioner in the wilds of Patagonia region.

Helming duo pitched “Patagonia,” screening a teaser on Nov. 5 at Mar del Plata’s Work in Progress sidebar, gunning for a prize to complete postproduction. Sidebar comprises 17 projects.

As Zeballos and d’Eufemia like to say, “Escape” is a “gaucho Western.” Pic has classic Western elements and will be deeply rooted in Argentinean history and idiosyncrasy.

Perito Moreno is not just a notorious Patagonia  glacier of near 100 square miles. Moreno was an Argentine explorer and scientist who campaigned, during the late nineteenth century Conquest of the Desert, in favor of dialogue with the indigenous desert people.
‘Escape’ is a survival story based on the diaries of Moreno himself.  In the midst of the Conquest of the Desert, he is captured by the native Mapuches and sentenced to death. He manages to escape but his mapuche godson is chosen to catch Moreno. “In dramatic and structural termns, our movie works as a Western. It was entirely shot outdoors, in rivers, rapids, on mountains, by waterfalls, the landscape taking one of the lead roles in the film,” Zeballos told Variety.

“On the other hand, ‘Escape’ includes many indigenous elements. Action takes place during a key episode which forged our nation, but all is told focusing on the human conflicts and adventures of Moreno.

“We want to make a survival, escape movie, paying respect to the codes of genre, and at the same time, to enjoy a certain auteurist freedom. The range of inspirations include John Ford’s 3 Godfathers,” Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men,” the Coen brothers’ “True Grit,” or Mikhail Kalatazov’s “Letter Never Sent,” D’Eufemia added.

Escape “could be interesting for all kinds of audiences worldwide. It turns on a specific time in history, but by underlining its human aspects we’ve tried to universalize the story,” he added.

“Patagonia” is produced by Poncho Cine, the company founded by director and producer Nadia Martinez. The trio met at the Argentine INCAA’s film school ENERC. Producer Fabrice Lambot, at Paris-based Metaluna Productions (Matias Lucchesi’s “El Pampero”), is teaming as associate producer.

“What interested me the most about this project was the fact that a humanist and explorer like Francisco Moreno, who was sent to study the fauna and flora and people of Patagonia, was in the end betrayed by his own government, who used his discoveries to take the lands from the Mapuche indian,” Lambot told Variety.

“Patagonia” has already won a first prize Raymundo Gleyzer development award from INCAA.

Cast includes Pablo Ragoni, Gustavo Rodriguez, Jorge Sesan.

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