Argentine Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Armanda Bó has set as his next feature a film on the heroic opposition of the Buenos Aires Herald and its editor Robert Cox to Argentina’s heinous 1976-83 military dictatorship.
To make the film, About Entertainment, Bó’s new Buenos Aires based production house, has acquired the rights to the script “Dirty War,” written by Michael Steinberger, a journalist for The New York Times Magazine.
The screenplay is based on the book “Dirty Secrets, Dirty War: The Exile of Robert J. Cox,” written by Cox’s son, David Cox.
Bó, who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for co-writing the screenplay of “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” will produce and direct the movie.
It will tell an inspiring story of exemplary courage in extraordinary and horrifying circumstance: How the Buenos Aires Herald, an English-language daily newspaper, became under Robert Cox’s editorship the only newspaper in Argentina to report accurately the horrors of the country’s military dictatorship.
While other Argentine media backed off, under Cox the Herald was the first newspaper in Argentina – circumnavigating government censorship via the use of habeas corpus requests – to report that the government was kidnapping and killing people, whose bodied were made to “disappear.”
The Buenos Aires Herald was also the only publication in Argentina to chronicle the gatherings of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and publish accounts of “disappearances,” in a desperate attempt to save at least some lives, which it achieved.
Cox was arrested then jailed briefly. He may only have escaped death on that occasion because of pressure exerted on the military junta by Jimmy Carter’s government.
Journalists at the Herald during the dictatorship have gone on to illustrious careers, such as its news editor Uki Goñi, who went on to write for The New York Times and The Guardian.
“It is an honor for me, as an Argentine, to be able to tell this story together with its true heroic protagonist and his family. An unknown story but full of bravery, courage and fortitude. An example of life,” said Bó.
“All I wanted to do was to tell the truth and save as many lives as possible. The Buenos Aires Herald was able to pierce the darkness of the dictatorship and report what other media covered up,” said Robert Cox, who is currently visiting Argentina with his family.
He added: “We must learn from those terrible years and the most important lesson is that democracy requires a free and fearless press to survive. The story of the Buenos Aires Herald during the Dirty War is a story of hope against hope. Now I hope that the art of cinema will reveal a deeper truth that will ensure that those challenging words ‘Never Again!’ are fulfilled.”
Bó shared the Best Screenplay Oscar for “Birdman” with director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, and Alexander Dinelaris.
He is teaming with Mercedes Reincke, Natacha Cervi and Ezequiel Olemberg at About Entertainment, a company whose goal is to develop and produce lively, engaging, fresh, disruptive and meaningful high-quality content for mainstream audiences, it says.
About Entertainment recently struck an production alliance with Gaumont US, producer of “Narcos,” building on their partnership on the Amazon Prime Video-aired satirical soccer series “El Presidente,” which Bó is leading as its showrunner.
Bó is represented by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.