Mexican filmmaker Luis Mandoki is directing the historical drama “Castro’s Daughter.”
Mandoki is co-producing with Mankind Entertainment’s John Martinez O’Felan and Joe Lamy. Texas-based real estate investor Peter Lamy is providing financing.
The announcement comes on the heels of the July 20 resumption of normal ties between the U.S. and Cuba. President Barack Obama and Cuba’s President Raul Castro had announced on December 17 that diplomatic relations would resume, 53 years after the countries severed ties.
“Castro’s Daughter” is based on the life story of Alina Fernandez, who was born in 1956 — three years before her father Fidel Castro took power. Fernandez was Castro’s love child with Naty Revuelta, a wealthy socialite who sold her belongings to sponsor and co-finance Castro’s army and allowed her home to be used as a headquarters for planning his coming to power.
She fled Cuba as a dissident in 1993 disguised as a Spanish tourist and later wrote her memoir “Castro’s Daughter: An Exile’s Memoir of Cuba.” She now lives in the U.S., but has returned several times to Cuba, most recently in March for her mother’s funeral.
The script was written by Bobby Moresco (“Crash”) and Nilo Cruz, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics.” Cruz escaped Cuba as a child.
Mandoki’s credits include “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Message in a Bottle” and “Gaby: A True Story,” which followed the life of the child of Austrian immigrants in Mexico who suffered from cerebral palsy. Mandoki has also travelled to Cuba and met Fidel Castro during an entertainment festival in Havana.
“The spirit of ‘Castro’s Daughter’ is is more than just a movie,” O’Felan said. “It’s a voice that will provide perspective to this true story and Luis is the perfect filmmaker to direct the film.”
The project has been in development for several years. Wilmer Valderrama and Catalina Sandino Moreno had been attached to star in 2013, with Sarah Siegel-Magness directing.