MADRID — Mediapro Group, the global independent production, rights and services company, will co-produce Argentine Gaston Duprat’s “Mi obra maestra,” starring Guillermo Francella (“The Clan”), Duprat’s follow-up to “The Distinguished Citizen,” which won star Oscar Martínez a Volpi Cup best actor award at last year’s Venice Festival and swept best picture and actor at July’s Platino Awards.
Madrid-based Latido Films has also come on board “Mi Obra Maestra,” acquiring world sales to the comedy which goes into production on Aug. 21, shooting for seven weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Jujuy and Rio de Janeiro.
“Mi Obra Maestra” is produced by Mariano Cohn, Duprat’s co-director on “The Distinguished Citizen” in a directorial duo partnership which goes back at least to 1991 short “El hombre que murió dos veces.” Going forward, Duprat will produce Cohn’s next feature.
“Mi obra maestra” is co-produced out of Argentina by Fernando Sokolowicz, a producer on all of Duprat and Cohn’s fiction features, the Clarin Group, owners of cabler Cablevisión and the Artear media group, and Carlos L. Mentasti and Duda Rosembak.
Written by Andrés Duprat, who won a Platino Award for the screenplay of “The Distinguished Citizen,” “Mi obra maestra” turns on a charming, if slightly unscrupulous art gallery owner (Francella) who ensnares a rich international art collector (Antonio Gasalla) and conceives a highly-risky scheme to re-boot the career of over-the-hill painter Renzo (Luis Renzoni), whose has just one student (Spain’s Raul Arévalo), to make a killing offloading his paintings on the collector.
Arturo’s scheming looks set to drive much of the film’s comedy. But for Gastón Duprat, the comedy is really about the friendship between Arturo and Renzo who can’t agree on almost anything live in opposing universes and constantly bicker, but are, despite everything, great friends.
“This is and isn’t a typical Duprat film,” Sokolowicz said.
He went on: “For sure, ‘Mi obra maestra’ has the Duprat signature, the sharp combination of comedy and irony. But this is also a mainstream film, starring Argentina’s most famous actors and with an enormous production value and budget, which comes with it’s own complications. It is also clearly the work of a mature director.”
“We are total fans of ‘The Distinguished Citizen.’ When the opportunity opened up to form part of Mariano and Gastón’s new project, we jumped at it,” said Javier Mendez, Mediapro’s director contents.
While Mediapro has pulled heavily into the high-end TV drama production, co-producing “The Young Pope,” its involvement in “Mi obra maestra” confirmed that it had not pulled out of feature film production, Mendez added, citing Ernesto Daranas’ “Sergio & Sergei,” just selected for Toronto’s Contemporary World Cinema showcase, and Borja Cobeaga’s ETA comedy “Fe de Etarras,” a Netflix original movie produced by Mediapro, which world premieres at September’s San Sebastián.
Latido Films already handled international sales on “The Distinguished Citizen.” “It’s a matter of pride to continue collaborating with the team for many and varied reasons,” said Antonio Saura, Latido Films director.
“For an international sales agent, there’s no larger pleasure than its relation with talent; it’s a sign that we are building a relationship of trust, betting on the present and future; above all, it’s a magnificent film which uses the world of culture to give us a merciless but hugely enjoyable vision of the world.”
Argentina’s foreign-language Oscar submission, distributed by Disney, “The Distinguished Citizen” topped box office charts over its first weekend in Argentina over Sept.8-11, earning a final box office of about $2.9 million – dollar-valuated returns in Argentina have been hit by devaluation of the peso – making it the fourth highest-grossing Argentine film of last year.
It was one of the films that has given Latido most satisfaction, creatively and economically,” said Saura, who added he will start to pre-sell “Mi Obra Maestra” at Toronto, continuing at Ventana Sur.