×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Benjamín Avila to Direct ‘The Commitment,’ Which Gets a First Promo (EXCLUSIVE)

Chile’s Storyboard Media, Argentina’s Magma Cine advance on a story of courage in the face of a lethal, manipulating dictatorship

Chile’s Storyboard Media and Argentina’s Magma Cine first announced at Ventana Sur, late November’s Buenos Aires Latin American film market, that the two companies had formalized an agreement to co-produce a new political thriller titled “The Commitment.”

At the time screenwriters Paola Campos, Bernardita Olmedo and Fernando Castillo were all attached. But a director had not been tied down. Late Saturday, Storyboard’s Gabriela Sandoval informed Variety that Argentine producer-director Benjamín Ávila has agreed to fill that role.

Ávila has an impressive resume as a producer. His singular previous fiction feature as a director, “Clandestine Childhood” was a festival and award show hit. It won San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, world premiered at Cannes, San Sebastian and Guadalajara, earned a Goya nomination for Foreign Spanish-Language Film, and cleaned up at the Argentine Academy Awards where Avila won best director, best screenplay – shared with Marcelo Müller – and best film.

 

In “Clandestine Childhood,” Avila drew on his own personal history as an exiled youth and son of two Montoneros, the guerrilla fighters who countered the Argentine dictatorship in that country’s dirty war. It was his ability, however, to create characters who stood out as much for their singularity as their commitment, which was most impressive about the film.

Although “The Commitment” takes place in Chile, it’s not hard to see why a director with a CV like Avila’s, and a history that so many in Chile can relate to, would be a clear first choice for the project.

The historical fiction drama follows Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez through the years 1973-75, during the early stages of the brutal rule of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who took power in a bloody coup in 1973. The film will follow the evolution of the holy man as he flip-flops in his opposition to the dictatorship’s dirty war as he discovers more and darker information about the fledgling government.

In a promotional teaser shared with Variety, we see the Cardinal in the early phases of the dictatorship, as he refuses to believe the stories he is told of government sponsored cruelties. Faced with a constant barrage of new information, and pressure from the military, it takes being questioned by a distressed parishioner, “On which side do you think he (Jesus) would be?” before we see cracks start to form. The promo finishes with the Cardinal addressing political prisoners at Pinochet’s most infamous detention center, the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, Chile’s national soccer stadium, which was converted into a camp which held as many as 40,000 people during the brutal regime.

More Film

  • Mediapro Unveils The Mediapro Studio, With

    Spain's Mediapro Unveils New Studio, With 34 Series in Production (EXCLUSIVE)

    The Mediapro Group – the Barcelona-based multinational co-founded by Jaume Roures – is unveiling The Mediapro Studio, with 34 scripted series already in production worldwide. The new production company will be based in Fuencarral, northern Madrid, just a few miles from Netflix’s soon-to-open European production hub. It will be overseen by Javier Méndez as chief [...]

  • Fox Searchlight logo

    Film News Roundup: Fox Searchlight Launches Searchlight Shorts

    In today’s film news roundup, Fox Searchlight starts a shorts channel, Uma Thurman signs with ICM and Miramax signs animation exec Michael Lachance. SEARCHLIGHT SHORTS Fox Searchlight Pictures’ chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula have announced the launch of “Searchlight Shorts” as a collection of short films. The shorts are available on Fox Searchlight’s YouTube [...]

  • ImMature - cr: MX Player

    Indian Streamers Ramp up Original Productions

    Ever since global streaming giants Amazon Prime Video and Netflix entered the Indian OTT space in 2016, the conversation around original series has mostly revolved around them, thanks in part to market leader 21st Century Fox’s Hotstar’s circumspect attitude at the time about producing content. Netflix had great success with “Sacred Games,” while Amazon rode [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Hollywood Agents, Writers Guild Make Little Progress in Talks

    Leaders of Hollywood agencies and the Writers Guild of America made little progress in Tuesday meeting to negotiate proposed rule revisions to how agents represent writers. The WGA said after the meeting — the fifth since Feb. 5 — that talks would resume later this week but did not give a specific day. “The Agencies [...]

  • Village Rockstars

    Female Filmmakers Are a Growing Voice in India

    The Indian film industry has historically been a male-dominated one, but the winds of change are blowing across the country, albeit slowly. Better-served than the rest of the country is the Mumbai-based Hindi-language industry, where there are several active female filmmakers including Zoya Akhtar (“Gully Boy”), Reema Kagti (“Gold”), Leena Yadav (“Rajma Chawal”), Gauri Shinde [...]

  • Florence Pugh

    Scarlett Johansson's 'Black Widow' Movie Adds Florence Pugh

    “Black Widow’s” web may soon be growing. Sources tell Variety that Florence Pugh is in talks to join Scarlett Johansson’s standalone superhero film. Pugh has been on the hot list for this second lead role since last fall, but Marvel wanted to open up the field to other actresses at the beginning of the year. [...]

  • Mira Lesmana Sets up Indonesia Remake

    Mira Lesmana Sets Up Indonesian Remake of CJ's 'Sunny'

    Indonesia’s Miles Film and Korea’s CJ Entertainment are to co-produce an Indonesian remake of Korean hit “Sunny.” The film is a female-driven dramedy about a group of adult friends who reunite 20 years after high school. Directed by Kang Hyoung-chul, “Sunny” was one of the highest-grossing movies in Korea when it was released in 2011. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content