MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — Argentine director Juan Villegas, helmer of three features — “Saturday,” “Los suicidas” and “Idleness” — and producer of films by Celine Murga, including the Martin Scorsese exec produced “The Third Side of the River,” will return behind the cameras for “Villa Gesell.”
Esteban Lamothe, a rising star of Argentine cinema since he broke through with Santiago Mitre’s “The Student,” will topline with Griselda Siciliani, a theater and TV actress who played the Elvis impersonator’s estranged wife in Armando Bo’s Sundance hit “The Last Elvis.”
Set in the seaside resort of Villa Gesell, some 60 miles down Argentina’s Atlantic coast from Mar del Plata, Villegas’ fourth feature is set up as a co-production between Tresmilmundos Cine, the label he owns with Murga, and Cepa Audiovisual. Also based out of Buenos Aires, and headed by Andres Longares and Felicitas Raffo, Cepa has risen to prominence as a producer on “7th Floor,” with Ricardo Darin and Belen Rueda, and now on Julia Solomonoff’s upcoming “Nobody’s Watching.”
“It costs so much to finance and make a film that it’s better to join forces, each producers’ strengths, contacts,” Villegas said at Mar del Plata. “Villa Gesell” will be “somewhat larger than the films he’s made in the past,” he added.
A contempo relationship comedy that Villegas also wrote, it turns on an ex-couple, both in their early 30s, who separated a short time before the movie begins and find out they’re both staying in the same block of flats in their families’ summer homes in Villa Gesell. The woman brings their 17-year-old son, who has grown apart from his father. “Villa Gesell” recounts their father-son rebonding, and a possible reconciliation between the parents.
The shoot is set for November/December 2015, Villegas said. A “ ‘re-marriage’ comedy,” in Villegas’ description, “Villa Gesell” is also a coming-of-age tale about “the conflicts of an adolescent who wants to have his first relationship with a girl, losing his virginity by chance in the same place where he was conceived. And about his parents, two adultescents, who finally learn how to be parents.”
Without being at all a gross-out comedy, “Villa Gesell” channels both Judd Apatow and Eric Rohmer, he added. Villegas is currently completing a documentary, “Victoria,” about tango singer Victoria Moran, which will be ready for delivery in early 2015.