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San Sebastian: Switzerland’s Alina, Argentina’s Ruda Re-Team for Fontana’s ‘Azor’ Project

Playing at Festival's Europe-Latin America Co-prod Forum, project turns on Argentine money laundering by Swiss banks during the 80's dictatorship

Andreas Fontana
Courtesy of San Sebastian Film Festival

SAN SEBASTIAN  Already regular co-production partners, Geneve-based Alina Film and Buenos Aires’ Ruda Cine are re-teaming on Andreas Fontana’s fiction feature project “Azor,” which plumbs the shady dealings between Swiss bankers and Argentine clients during Argentina’s military dictatorship.

Lead-produced by Argentine-born Eugenia Mumenthaler at Alina, “Azor” has been selected to be presented at the San Sebastian Film Festival‘s 5th Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum, where Mumenthaler is looking for potential French and Spanish co-producers.

In early development, according to Mumenthaler, the project has already won support from the Swiss Society of Authors, Succes Passage Antenne, Olivier Weber-Caflisch as well as a screenwriting Migros grant.

The grandson of a Swiss banker, Fontana discovered in 2015, five years after his grandfather’s death, a notebook where he described a trip to Argentina in 1980 to visit clients. Fontana felt surprised by the “mundane and banal” tone of the writing.

In “Azor,” the Geneva-born writer-director tramps the discreet back corridors of power exposing the Swiss bank’s role in institutionalising tax fraud and money laundering among Argentina’s ultra-rich as the country “became a laboratory for experiments in Neo-Liberal theories, even before Reagan and Thatcher,” Fontana said.

Alina Film and Ruda Cine have already co-produced two feature films directed by helmer Milagros Mumenthaler, “The Idea of A Lake,” which currently plays at San Sebastian’s Horizontes Latinos sidebar, and her feature debut, 2011’s “Open Doors, Open Windows,” winner, among other prizes, of Locarno’s Golden Leopard and best picture at Mar del Plata.

Fontana was nominated for the 2016 Swiss Film Awards for short-documentary “Pedro M. 1981,” about a woman researching the life of her father, the cameraman who shot remarkable live footage of an assault on Spain’s congress on Feb. 23, 1981 during a frustrated military coup in Spain.