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Unax Ugalde to Star in ‘Beginners Guide to the Presidency’

Mexican dramedy is helmer Salim Nayar’s second feature

Basque Unax Ugalde, who stars in Pablo Malo’s 2014 San Sebastian out of competition placer “Lasa and Zabala,” is toplining $2 million Mexican dramedy “Beginners Guide to the Presidency” (Manual de principiantes para ser Presidente), a working title.

To be directed by Mexican helmer-scribe Salim Nayar from a screenplay he penned, “Beginners Guide…” is slated to start shooting in and around Mexico City in February.

The rest of the cast includes NY-born Alec Von Bargen (“Law and Order”), Spain’s Carla Nieto (“Angel o Demonio”) and Mexican thesp Alejandra Ambrosi (“Hidden Moon”).

“Beginners Guide…” tracks an idealistic governor who realizes that to become president, he’ll have to become what he hates most, a politician.

Spanish-language dramedy is the first of various projects planned under the Sfera Films banner led by Nayar and executive producer Jonathan Treisman in a bid to answer the growing entertainment demands of Latino markets in both English and Spanish, and on various platforms.

Sfera is also developing TV pilot “From Cape to Cape,” to be shot in Cabo San Lucas later this year for an OTT service. TV series “Living without Music,” about a Mexican girl trying to break into the U.S. music biz, is in development.

“We hope to have three films made and two series on the air in the next five years,” said Nayar.

Nayar and Treisman were formerly colleagues at Disney. Treisman produced Nayar’s award-winning short “The Last Mistress,” and went on to executive produce Warner Bros.’ “Pay It Forward” starring Kevin Spacey. Based in Los Angeles, Treisman was director of Global Alliances at Universal Partnerships, Licensing & Digital until July last year. Prior to that, he was VP of Development at the Walt Disney Company.

Nayar is currently based in Mexico City where he directed and penned romcom “Tu Te Lo Pierdes” (It’s Your Loss).

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