You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

First Photos of Alejandro Fernández Almendras’ Next Film ‘The Play’ (EXCLUSIVE)

An unconventional alliance to be sure, but Chile, the Czech Republic and France have teamed, backed by funding from a Korean festival, for the black-and-white drama

Chile’s Alejandro Fernández Almendras, winner of a Sundance Grand Jury Prize (“To Kill a Man”), has kicked off filming in the Czech Republic on his upcoming drama, “The Play.”

For his latest production, Almendras has left the class system and machismo of his native Chile behind, in a departure as grand in subject as it is in provenance. Electing to step far outside his comfort zone, “The Play” will be shot in black and white, in Czech – a language he doesn’t speak – and in a crazy-tight time frame so it will be ready to world premiere in May at the 18th Jeonju Film Festival, which partly funded the project.

“The Play” is produced by top Chilean single Jirafa Films, Guillaume de Seille’s Paris-based Arizona Films, one of France’s most cosmopolitan producers, and Veronica Finkova’s Film & Roll in the Czech Republic.

“It’s a very different film for me,” Almendras told Variety explaining that, “it’s a totally different language which requires a completely different approach to directing. I would say it’s the most demanding movie I’ve made in terms of directing actors. And we are shooting with a super tight schedule, the whole thing in just 14 days”

Rather than being deterred, however, Almendras is using the self-inflicted tough calls to help him see things from another perspective. “I like the challenge of trying to do different things,” he explained, “It allows me to focus on mise en scène and photography a little more, and to try and decipher more the emotions on the faces of the actors.”

Almendras has assembled a half-Chilean, half-Czech production team for shooting. “I’m really happy working with the Czech actors and technicians,” he said, “they are really professional and they were so excited to work on something this crazy!”

“The Play” will tell the tale of a small-town playwright, Peter, in the Czech Republic who, after years of floundering with shallow crowd-pleasers, challenges himself to update Unamuno’s 1930 adaptation of Euripides’ classic “Fedra,” but this time set against the privatization process of Czech enterprises in 1991-92.

As opening night approaches, the director makes a series of inadvisable decisions in his private life that begin to impose on the work being done in the theater. Relationships are strained to a point that on opening night Peter is forced to contemplate if it’s possible to repair something that has been profoundly broken.

Once filming has finished, Almendras and his crew will head back to Chile where they will finish post-production.

“As soon I get home I’m gonna start editing. We have to work very quickly. The coming months are gonna be really busy,” Almendras predicted, before quickly perking back up, “But it’s good to work like this. It’s refreshing.”

“Some films get so big and take so long to get off the ground. With this movie, I have total freedom to do whatever I want, to make the choices I think are best for the movie,” he explained, “It’s like grabbing a piece of paper and writing something down or picking up a guitar and creating a song. It’s an unplugged movie.”





CREDIT: Stanislav Honzik
CREDIT: Stanislav Honzik

More Film

  • Breaking Glass Snags Prizewinning Argentine Gay

    Ventana Sur: Breaking Glass Snags Argentine Gay Drama ‘Marilyn’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a last-minute deal inked at Ventana Sur, Breaking Glass Pictures (BGP) snapped up North American rights to gay-trans drama “Marilyn,” the feature debut of Argentine helmer-scribe Martin Rodríguez Redondo. The Philadelphia-based company has been on a mini-buying spree, having previously snagged threesome drama “We Are Three” at the Buenos Aires confab. BGP has bought [...]

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Arca, Cacerola, Viento del Norte, Panda

    Arca, Cacerola, Viento del Norte, Panda Team on ‘Mental Health Not Included’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — In a return to film production after serving as president of Argentina’s National Institute of Film and the Audiovisual Arts (INCAA) and then as a member of parliament, film producer Liliana Mazure is teaming with prestigious counterparts in Mexico and Brazil on a three-part, pan-regional dark comedy, “Mental Health Not Included.” Lead [...]

  • IFFAM and Variety Celebrate Asian Talent

    IFFAM and Variety Celebrate Asian Talent Up Next

    The International Film Festival and Awards Macao and Variety combined forces for the second year running to put a spotlight on Asia’s acting talent. A well-attended meet-the-stars press event on Friday afternoon in Macau was addressed by leading local official, Maria Helena Senna de Fernandes. She turned the microphone over the five actors from different [...]

  • Panorama, Delicious Team for Bernardo de

    Panorama, Delicious Team for Bernardo de la Rosa’s ‘Mario’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — One of Mexico’s highest-flying production houses whose latest movie production, “I’m No Longer Here,” screens as a work on progress at Ventana Sur, Gerardo Gática and Alberto Muffelmann’s Panorama Global, will produce “Mario,” a bio series directed by Bernardo de la Rosa which underscores Latin America’s building drive into bilingual, bi-country U.S.-Mexico [...]

  • Backtrace Review

    Film Review: 'Backtrace'

    “You can’t kill me! I died seven years ago!” It’s very much to the credit of Matthew Modine that he persuasively sells this melodramatic scrap of dialogue, and every other aspect of his trickily written lead character, in “Backtrace,” a better-than-average VOD-centric thriller that likely wouldn’t work nearly so well without the veteran actor’s totally [...]

  • Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    Film News Roundup: 'Lawnmower Man' Director Brett Leonard Boards 'Elijah'

    In today’s film news roundup, “Elijah” gets a director, a French fry documentary starts shooting and “Uglydolls” moves its release date forward. PROJECT LAUNCH Brett Leonard, best known for directing ”The Lawnmower Man” and “Virtuosity,” will direct the supernatural feature film “Elijah,” based on the Old Testament prophet. The project is set up at Winter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content