×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Alfredo Castro, Mia Maestro, Leonor Varela Cast in Francisca Alegria’s Debut (EXCLUSIVE)

SANTIAGO, Chile  —  The much anticipated feature debut of Chilean Francisca Alegria, renowned for her magical short “And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye,” has firmed up its cast and shooting dates.

Argentine thesp Mia Maestro (“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn”), Chile’s Leonor Varela (“Dallas,” “Blade 2”), Alfredo Castro (“From Afar,” “Museum”) and rising talent Lucas Balmaceda (“The Prince”) lead the cast.

Inspired by her short, a Sundance sensation where it snagged the Short Film Jury Award in 2017, Alegria’s upcoming feature, “The Cow that Sang a Song About the Future” adapts a similar magical realist tone in a family drama set in the verdant countryside of Valdivia, southern Chile.

Varela plays a single mother, Cecilia, who returns to her childhood home with her 19-year-old son (Balmaceda) where she faces a series of surreal events, including the deaths of hundreds of cows and the reappearance of her long dead mother (Maestro), whose suicide profoundly marked the family.

While agonizing animals sing about the future of the family, Cecilia begins to understand her mother as she listens to nature’s voice.

“The Cow…” is produced by one of Chile’s leading production shingles, Jirafa, run by Bruno Bettati and Matias De Bourguignon, which participates at Sanfic with co-production “Divino Amor” by Brazil’s Gabriel Mascaro.

Vania Catani’s Bananeira Films of Brazil (“Zama”), Tom Dercourt’s Paris-based Cinema Defacto and Dan Wechsler’s Bord Cadre Films (Switzerland) have boarded the film as co-producers. “We’ve also tapped a gamut of funds, including the Hubert Bals, World Cinema, Cinereach and backing from the respective film funds of France and Chile,” said De Bourguignon of the drama.

Peruvian-born cinematographer Inti Briones, who has worked with some of Chile’s leading lights, including Raul Ruiz, Cristian Jimenez, Alejandro Fernandez Almendras and Dominga Sotomayor, will lens the drama, set to shoot on location in April next year.

“Behind the casting of this film is a series of fortunate and rather odd events that have become part of the tissue of this film,” said Alegria.

“Each member of the cast has somehow brought a missing thread – or clue – that has helped me see the whole picture more clearly,” she continued.

“I don’t know how else to put it, it’s just been a tremendously enriching collaboration so far, and I can’t wait to be on set, seeing them bring their characters to life,” said Alegria who had invited both Varela and Maestro to join her at the Sundance Lab to work on the screenplay.

“When I met up with [Alegria] at the Sundance Lab, I was blown away by her unique narrative style and depth of storytelling,” said Varela, adding, “It also gives me great joy that this shoots in the magical South of my home country, Chile.”

“Since our meeting at the Sundance Lab a few years ago where she was beginning to work on the script of this film, we forged a very strong bond and I feel that both Leonor and I have somehow been part of all the incarnations of this story through the years,” Maestro said.

“I have always had the good fortune to accompany new directors in their feature debuts and it has been a wonderful experience,” said Castro, who plays Cecilia’s father, adding: ”Now Francisca summons me and I am incredibly honored and happy to be able to work with her, and support a project that is far more creative than many I have read in recent years.”

Alegria’s script “excites anyone who reads it because it shows us how intimately connected we are as humanity and how our body and our land express the wounds of the past to heal us once and for all,” Balmaceda concurred.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Swedes Call for Incentives to Keep

    Swedes Call for Incentives to Keep Potential Runaways at Home

    Horror film “Midsommar” did it last year. A new adaptation of the Swedish classic “The Emigrants” will do it next year. Prestigious productions that could have taken advantage of beautiful Swedish locations and craft expertise continue to run away to foreign locations for lower costs and tax incentives. Despite having a strong film industry creatively [...]

  • Ted FarnsworthDeadline's Cocktails on the Croisette,

    Former MoviePass Chairman Ted Farnsworth Trying to Buy Failing Subscription Company

    Ted Farnsworth, the financier who helped set in motion MoviePass’s meteoric rise and precipitous fall, has submitted an offer to purchase the beleaguered subscription service and its parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. Financial terms of the offer were not disclosed, but Farnsworth, who served as Helios’ chairman and chief executive officer is also [...]

  • Billy Crystal Comedy 'Standing Up, Falling

    Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz Comedy 'Standing Up, Falling Down' Picked Up By Shout! Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

    Shout! Studios has acquired all North American rights to comedy feature “Standing Up, Falling Down,” starring Billy Crystal, Ben Schwartz and Eloise Mumford. The theatrical release for the film, which debuted at Tribeca Film Festival, is slated for early next year. Schwartz, whose credits include “Parks & Recreation” and “Blue Iguana,” voices the title character [...]

  • Cocina Belleza

    San Sebastian: ‘Cocinar Belleza’s’ Sergio Piera, Toni Segarra Talk Culinary Art

    Cognoscenti of culinary documentaries relish how open the genre is, driving deep into technique, amazing spectators by revealing the profession’s depths. Rarely, however, does a documentary decide to sidestep the well-known beats of the genre, step back and capture a bigger picture that asks about the nature of beauty and art rather than culinary craftsmanship [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    ‘Hustlers’ Acquired for Germany by Fred Kogel’s New KKR-Backed Company

    Fred Kogel’s budding media powerhouse, backed by KKR but still without a name, has acquired “Hustlers” for Germany and Austria in an all-rights deal with STXfilms. The movie, starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu, will be released in Germany via Universum Film on Dec. 5. The pic, about a group of enterprising strippers, premiered to [...]

  • Nina Wu Midi Z Un Certain

    Chinese Indie Films, Indian Fare Dominate Pingyao Festival Lineup

    Chinese indie films and Indian fare dominate the lineup of the Pingyao International Film Festival. The main selection for the festival’s third edition will include 28 world premieres, organizers revealed on Monday. The event will screen 52 films from 26 countries and territories, with all of them having their China debut. The opening film is [...]

  • 'Sound of Metal' Review: Riz Ahmed

    Toronto Film Review: 'Sound of Metal'

    “Sound of Metal” is a film with a potent, searing hook. It stars Riz Ahmed, who is such a sensational actor (just watch him in “Jason Bourne” or “Nightcrawler” or “The Sisters Brothers”), as Ruben, a punk-metal drummer, heavy on the tattoos and peroxide, who has been thrashing away as part of a caterwauling noise [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content