You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

American Film Market: Juan Vera Talks ‘Love at Last Sight,’ Ricardo Darín, Argentine Growth

Artistic director at Disney-backed Patagonik goes behind the cameras for a comedy of second-chance love

It’s never too late for love, as Juan Vera’s feature “Love at Last Sight” suggests. Equally, it’s never too late to direct. A case in point, Vera, who almost qualifies as an institution on Argentina’s production scene, is directing his first feature 26 years after launching his career as a producer. “Love at Last Sight” is being produced by the Patagonik, co-owned by Disney, the company behind “Nine Queens,” Academy Award-nominated “Son of the Bride,” Pablo Trapero’s “Carancho” and “White Elephant,” and a string of box office smash hits, such as this year’s “10 Days Without Mom.” The pic also stars Ricardo Darín, a Argentina’s biggest international star. With that kind of pedigree, Vera’s directorial debut is shaping up as one of the big new films coming out of Latin America for 2018. “Love at Last Sight” is being repped at the American Film Market by Guido Rud’s FilmSharks Intl., and turns on Marcos (Darín) and Ana (Mercedes Moran), who have been married for 25 years, but split after their son leaves Argentina to study abroad. But single life becomes monotonous to her, almost a nightmare to him. One day he asks her out on a date. Vera talked to Variety about why he’s taken so long to direct, his ability to cast Darin and shifting export trends for Argentine — and implicitly Latin American — films.

Why direct after 26 years producing? 

I’ve always liked writing but went into producing. But as Patagonik’s artistic director, I supervise screenplays and directors, generate projects and ideas, do casting and scout for new talent. On 201o’s “Just Like Me,” based on an idea by Adrián Suar, I hired screenwriters but they couldn’t hit the right tone. So I began writing, and the film worked at the box office, as did “2 + 2,” which I also wrote, this time from my own idea. “Love at First Sight” is more personal, reflecting things I think about the world, so I thought that this time round I’d direct.

How did you snag Ricardo Darín for your first feature? 

He read the screenplay, and said “Yes.” He’s a great comedy actor and was looking for a comedy with a more serious side. Also, “Love at First Sight” is his official first feature as a producer, his first title at his first production label, Kenya Film.

“2 +2” revolved around partner swapping. “Love at Last Sight” portrays an Argentine middle class that was born in the 1960s but, as you say, “has seen almost all utopias die.” You seem to gravitate towards generational comedy of manners….

Like “2 +2” “Love at First Sight” asks how to renew desire. Marriage doesn’t have all the answers to life. But if you want audiences to reflect on certain more challenging ideas, it’s better to make films more audience-friendly.

In France last year, according to the CNC French state film agency, more 50-plus women (34.9% of total female attendance) bought cinema tickets than 3-24 year olds (29.4%). Does “Love at Last Sight” also target a burgeoning Argentine older audience?

There’s aren’t any audience studies in Argentina. But the core audience is probably 35 to [audiences in their] 60s. That said, anybody who’s been in a relationship five years will understand the film.

“Son of the Bride,” which you produced in 2001, helped launch the New Argentine Cinema as an international phenomenon. How has the Argentine film industry evolved since then?

It now has far larger reach: Films by Juan José Campanella, Pablo Trapero and Lucrecia Martel are seen all over the world. It also opening up in Argentina: You no longer have to have Darín, Guillermo Francella or Adrian Suar to get an audience. There’s a robust remake business. Some original films have encouraging results: “10 Days Without Mom” sold 250,000 tickets in Peru. However, a large number of films still don’t find their audience and we lack a pan-Latin America star system.

More Film

  • 'The Apollo' Review: A Legendary Theater

    Tribeca Film Review: 'The Apollo'

    You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling. Especially when the basics consist of great big gobs of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country. Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off the Tribeca Film Festival on [...]

  • Playwright Mark Medoff author of "Children

    Mark Medoff, 'Children of a Lesser God' Playwright, Dies at 79

    Mark Medoff, the playwright who wrote Tony Award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God,” died Tuesday in Las Cruces, N.M. He was 79. His daughter Jessica Medoff Bunchman posted news of his death on Facebook, and the Las Cruces Sun-News attributed the cause to cancer. “Children of a Lesser God” starred John Rubinstein and Phyllis Frelich [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Interscope Films Relaunches With Full Slate at Tribeca (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Interscope record label’s interest in film/music crossover isn’t exactly a secret: With hit companion albums for “A Star Is Born,” “Black Panther” and “La La Land,” they’ve seemed to own the soundtrack space at times in recent years. And the company hasn’t completely made a secret of its desire to move into film production. [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Fans and Theaters Assemble for Biggest Marvel Movie Ever

    For San Diego resident Shawn Richter, “Avengers: Endgame” is more than the conclusion to a monumental period in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the West Coast branch chair of Avengers Initiative, a cosplay charity that raises money for causes like the Ronald McDonald House Children’s Charities, the comics of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are [...]

  • Jillian Bell appears in Brittany Runs

    Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Sets Summer Release

    “Brittany Runs a Marathon” will be rushing to theaters on Aug. 23. Amazon Studios dated the comedy on Wednesday. The pic, starring Jillian Bell (“Rough Night,” “22 Jump Street”), won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival. The flick follows the titutal Brittany, who decides to run around New York City in order to [...]

  • Lionsgate Hires Lynn Whitney in Marketing

    Lionsgate Hires Former Warner Bros. Exec Lynn Whitney

    Lionsgate announced Wednesday that Lynn Whitney will become head of worldwide paid media, partnerships, promotions and consumer products. Whitney was formerly the executive VP of worldwide media at Warner Bros.   In her new role, Whitney will build out media campaigns for movies like Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron’s romantic comedy “Long Shot.” “I am [...]

  • El silencio de otros

    Film Review: 'The Silence of Others'

    “Forgiven but not forgotten” is a platitude we routinely use to end disputes both petty and grievous, but it’s the reverse outcome — the mass forgetting of crimes and conflicts never truly resolved — that itches away at a post-Franco Spain in “The Silence of Others.” Soberly chronicling the ongoing legal battle of General Franco’s [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content