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Ventana Sur: Portugal’s Pepe Rapazote Toplines Argentine Leonardo Brzezicki’s ‘Almost in Love’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Portuguese actor Pêpê Rapazote (“Narcos,” “Shameless”) is toplining Argentine helmer-scribe Leonardo Brzezicki’s second feature, “Almost in Love.”

The father-daughter drama is the third collaboration between Argentine shingle Ruda Cine and Rodrigo Teixeira’s RT Features of Brazil, a co-producer of such stellar titles as “Call Me by Your Name,” “Little Men,” “Patti Cake$” and “Frances Ha.”

Derk-Jan Warrink and Koji Nelissen from Holland’s Keplerfilm (“Catastrophe,” “Juze”) have also boarded the film as co-producers.

The co-production comes at a time when Argentina, Brazil and other beleaguered countries in the region are refocusing or cutting back on their support for cinema, if not the arts. Banding together has been the best way for Latino producers to overcome – the hopefully temporary – setback in state funding.

“Almost in Love” follows an angst-ridden father, Santiago, whose emotional crisis is exacerbated by a complex and intense relationship with his teenage daughter who seeks to break free from him. One chaotic summer in Argentina and Brazil becomes the catalyst for both to turn their lives around.

“In its essence, ‘Almost in Love’ is a film about the desire and pain of living and loving. And the driving force of this film is its characters,” said Brzezicki.

“[Rapazote] has the physical and emotional qualities that I dreamed of for Santiago, this man going through an emotional roller coaster. I re-wrote the last drafts of the script with him in mind, so to have him on board is just amazing,” he added.

Produced by Violeta Bava of Ruda Cine (“The Idea of a Lake,” “The Human Surge,” “Two Shots Fired”), “Almost in Love” is the company’s most ambitious project to date, with location shoots targeted for May or June next year in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro.

“It is very interesting to see the intimate process that this film captures: that of a relationship, far from conventional, of a father and his daughter at the time of the latter’s emancipation,” said Bava who hopes to cast some other notable actors to round up the cast. “I believe it will be Rapazote’s first time working for an Argentine auteur filmmaker.”

Budgeted at some $1.13 million, “Almost in Love” secured funding from the Argentina’s INCAA film institute, the Hubert Bals Fund and Visions Sud Est. Drama was developed at the Torino Film Lab and participated in the Cinemart and IFP platforms.

Ruda Cine and RT Features previously co-produced “The Human Surge” by Eduardo Williams and “Too Late to Die Young” by Chile’s Dominga Sotomayor, who became this year the first female helmer to win the Best Director award at the Locarno Film Festival.

Brzezicki’s short film, “The Mad Half Hour,” premiered at the Berlinale’s shorts competition; his debut film, the experimental “Noche,” competed for a Tiger Award at Rotterdam.

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