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‘Libertadores’ recruits Latin helmers

Charlone, Ripstein, Gomes sign up for pics

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — Three of Latin America’s top helmers — Uruguay’s Cesar Charlone, Mexico’s Arturo Ripstein and Brazil’s Marcelo Gomes — will direct films in Spanish pubcaster TVE’s “Libertadores” movie collection.

All eight movies in the collection turn on Latin American freedom fighters who wrestled independence from Spanish domain, or died or were exiled in the attempt.

One of TVE’s most ambitious fiction productions, “Libertadores” was presented Monday at the San Sebastian Film Festival in one of the confab’s biggest industry events.

“Libertadores” is produced by RTVE, Jose Maria Morales’ Wanda Films and actor Santo Garcia’s Lusa Films.

Charlone (“The Pope’s Toilet”) will direct “Artigas,” about Jose Gervasio Artigas, who struggled from 1806 to 1820 to gain independence for Uruguay — despite the opposition of the U.K., Spain, Portugal and, later on, Argentina. Pic, which shoots from Oct. 12, turns on a journalist sent to murder Artigas. It is toplined by Uruguayan-Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho.

Vet auteur Ripstein (“Deep Crimson”) will helm a film about Mexican merchant Pedro Moreno and Spanish liberal Javier de la Mina, who led an aborted revolution against Spanish rule in Mexico in 1817.

Gomes (“Movies, Aspirin and Vultures”) will focus on Brazil’s Tiradentes, hung by Portuguese colonial rulers in Brazil in 1792.

“It’s a collection, not a series. And each movie is different. They’re not bios. They turn on a defining moment in the life of Latin America’s freedom fighters,” Morales said at San Sebastian.

The first two movies in the collection are “Marti,” a portrait of the adolescence of Cuba’s Jose Marti. Directed by Cuba’s Fernando Perez (“La Vida es silbar”) and now in post, “Marti” will be ready for delivery in December, Morales said.

Second feature turns on Argentina’s Jose de San Martin, played by Rodrigo de la Serna, who liberated Chile and Lima.

Featuring the general’s epic passage over the Andes with 6,200 men, “San Martin” is “a suspense film, sometimes a Western,” co-director Leandro Ipina said Monday at San Sebastian.

Each individual movie costs at least Euro1 million ($1.4 million). Films have and will be produced in co-production with the pubcasters of Latin American countries, cutting costs substantially. Further funding has come from the Ibermedia Latin American co-production fund.

International rights outside countries of production will be held by TVE.

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