Spanish sales agent Liliana Bravo of Soul Pictures has boarded Diego “Parker” Fernández’s upcoming soccer drama, “The Signing” (“El Fichaje”).
His latest narrative feature, “The Broken Glass Theory,” represented Uruguay at the Oscars’ international feature category and has been a local smash hit, bowing in Uruguay just a month after the theaters reopened post-lockdown. “It played for 14 weeks, more than what we expected, and I heard that some people went to see it more than once,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez has also delved into non-fiction filmmaking with his debut documentary “Asi Pasamos” which vies for the top prize at Uruguay’s inaugural arts film festival, ARCA (Jan. 9-14). Here he traces the life and art of graphic artist and painter Javier Gil who happens to be the older brother of his wife. “He gave me about 20 years of mainly home video footage and said: ’Do what you will with these,’” he recalled.
“Asi Pasamos” is up against 18 other art-themed films competing at ARCA, which includes such gems as Andreas Koefoed’s “The Lost Leonardo,” visual artist JR’s “Paper and Glue” and “Ruben Brandt, Collector,” an animated feature by Hungary-based Slovenian artist Milorad Krstic, which closes the festival.
“Asi Pasamos” is a portrait of a bohemian artist, his art and his chaotic, exuberant life across four partners, multiple children and pets. “The challenge was not only to give the film a structure but to remain respectful of his private life,” Fernandez mused.
Based on an actual event, “The Signing,” written by Fernández, takes place in the course of nearly a week as the future career of a talented but naïve 18-year-old Uruguayan soccer player is haggled over. After standing out in the first games he played, he has received a multimillion dollar offer from a Chinese soccer club. While he knows that signing the deal would lift him and his family out of poverty, he realizes that he yields the least power over his fate. “I want to shed light on the behind-the-scenes intrigue that decides the careers of these star players,” said Fernandez, adding: “It’s a reflection on how they are used, even exploited.”
Plans are to shoot in both Spain and Uruguay by late this year or early next. Prior to that, the project will participate in the Co-Production Encounter of the Jose Ignacio Film Festival in Uruguay, which is organized in collaboration with France’s CNAC in a bid to drum up interest from potential French and Belgian coproducers.
Fernandez has also put his TV series project “The Eagle Heist” (“El Robo del Aguila”) on the fast track after it won the top prize of €15,000 ($17,053) at Ventana Sur’s TV pitching session, SoloSeries, from Spanish producer ESpotlight, which partners with Legendary Global.
Described as “Ocean’s Eleven” meets “Parasite,” “The Eagle Heist” is written by Fernandez and his co-scribe on “The Broken Glass Theory,” Rodolfo Santullo. The comedic heist thriller turns on the brazen theft of WWII battleship Admiral Graf Spee’s $30 million eagle and swastika crest from a naval warehouse. The crime has police stumped by the lack of leads or witnesses.