×
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

  • For web story

    Toronto: Sony Pictures Classics Buys 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sony Pictures Classics has nabbed the rights to “The Burnt Orange Heresy,” Variety has learned. The indie label plans to release the film in 2020. The Italian-American thriller was directed by Giuseppe Capotondi and stars Claes Bang, Elizabeth Debicki, Mick Jagger, and Donald Sutherland. Scott Smith adapted Charles Willeford’s novel of the same name, transporting [...]

  • Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis

    Thomasin McKenzie and Essie Davis to Star in 'Justice of Bunny King'

    Essie Davis, star of “The Babadook” and autumn festival hit “Babyteeth,” and “Jojo Rabbit” co-star Thomasin McKenzie will headline upcoming drama “The Justice of Bunny King.” The film, now shooting in New Zealand, is a triumph over adversity tale about women fighting their way back from the bottom of society. It is the debut feature [...]

  • Calm With Horses

    Nick Rowland Talks About Toronto Debut Film 'Calm With Horses'

    “Calm with Horses,” which made its world premiere in Toronto’s TIFF in the Discovery section, is the feature directorial debut of Nick Rowland (Amazon series “Ripper Street”), and stars Barry Keoghan (Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals,” “Dunkirk”), Cosmo Jarvis (“Annihilation”), and Niamh Algar (BBC’s “The Virtues”). The script, which was adapted from Colin Barrett’s short story [...]

  • Colin Trevorrow Directs Jurassic World Short

    Colin Trevorrow Returns to Jurassic World in Short Film 'Battle at Big Rock'

    Dinosaurs are roaming the Earth again. In a new short from “Jurassic World” director Colin Trevorrow, rogue beasts wreak havoc on a family camping trip. The eight-and-a-half minute film, titled “Battle at Big Rock,” takes place a year after the events of “Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.” The 2018 blockbuster — starring Chris Pratt and Bryce [...]

  • Bert Kreischer The Machine

    Legendary Lands Rights to Bert Kreischer’s Viral Story 'The Machine' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Legendary has optioned the rights to develop comedian Bert Kreischer’s story “The Machine” into a feature film following its viral success, sources tell Variety. The video has generated more than 85 million views on Facebook and YouTube since hitting the social media channels in December 2016 and Legendary moved aggressively to land the rights. Kreischer [...]

  • Margot Robbie poses at the launch

    Margot Robbie in Talks to Executive Produce, Star in Comedy 'Fools Day'

    Margot Robbie is in negotiations to executive produce and star as a fourth-grade teacher in New Line’s comedy “Fools Day.” New Line has acquired Cody Blue Snider’s short film of the same name to adapt into the feature project. Snider, who co-wrote and directed the short, will direct the full-length feature from a script he [...]

  • M Night Shyamalan'Glass' film premiere, Arrivals,

    M. Night Shyamalan Sets Two New Films at Universal

    M. Night Shyamalan will write and direct two new movies at Universal Pictures, the studio announced Monday. The currently untitled thrillers will be released in theaters on Feb. 26, 2021 and Feb. 17, 2023, respectively. “M. Night Shyamalan continues to create exciting, highly original stories that keep global audiences on the edge of their seats,” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content