Argentina’s Sebastian Schindel is venturing into unfamiliar territory with romcom-spy adventure hybrid “Mienteme” (“Lie to Me”), which he plans to shoot next year.
“Although most of my filmography falls into the “psychological thriller” genre, with a strong social context, what excites me most about making films is the possibility of exploring and experimenting in new areas,” said Schindel, adding: “I have always wanted to dive into the romantic comedy world for some time now, so ‘Mienteme’ is based on a cherished script I’ve been developing for the past few years.”
Schindel’s past films, including “The Crimes that Bind,” Argentina’s current submission to Spain’s Oscar equivalent, the Goyas, are screening on Netflix.
This time round, however, the Chilean-Argentine co-production has already been pre-financed through private equity and a Latin American distribution deal with BF Paris, said co-producer-actor Lucas Akoskin. “We’d rather finance it through a negative pick up from a platform or a TV station,” said Akoskin whose L.A.-based Aliwen Entertainment co-produces the film with Chile’s Inversiones Cinematográficas and Argentina’s Magoya Films.
Based on a screenplay by Leonel D’Agostino (“La Jauria,” “Cromo”) and Schindel, “Mienteme” pivots on a childless couple played by Akoskin and his real wife, Chile’s Leonor Varela, whose fraying decade-old marriage is given a needed impetus when they try to pair their friend Barbara (played by comedienne-actress Florencia Peña) with what seems to be a perfect match, the gallant and well-heeled Julian (Benjamin Vicuña, “Vis-a-Vis”). When they realize that Julian is not what he seems and try to warn Barbara, she’s too far gone to believe them. Their efforts to prove he’s a scoundrel brings them closer together.
Inspired by real characters, “Mienteme” dwells on the typical crisis faced by couples in their 40s, said Schindel. “I’m fascinated by the thin line of “white lies” within a marriage, where we not only lie to hide things from one another, but also to avoid conflict and even to make others like us.”
“We are betting on playing the limits between reality and fiction,” added Schindel, who has a strong background in documentary filmmaking. “Vicuña is in a role we have never seen him in before, and Peña’s character will allow her to showcase her great comedy chops,” he noted.
“Sebastian is a director known to be very truthful to his subjects; his vast experience in documentaries and his meticulous approach to storytelling is what seduced me the most about making a movie with him,” said Akoskin.
“There is a lot of truth and a lot of comedy in relationships; Sebastian has a unique sense of humor that will make this story as truthful as it would be for any genre or subject he sinks his teeth into,” he concluded.
Aliwen Entertainment’s slate also includes a remake of gothic thriller “The Others” with Universal Pictures and Renee Tab’s Sentient Entertainment, which is in early development.
It’s also executive producing “This is Not a Love Song,” with Varela playing Tina Modotti, the eccentric Italian feminist photographer, model, actress and political activist who was among the leading lights of a cosmopolitan Mexico City in the early 1920s. Lucia Puenzo will serve as showrunner and direct the series as part of her multi-project deal with Gaumont.
Another project in Aliwen’s pipeline is “King Without a Crown,” a coming-of-age tale inspired by the life of reggae singer Matisyahu. Casting is underway.