Uruguay’s Coral Cine is ramping up its 2022 slate with a slew of projects that include online dating dramedy series “Is it Love” (“Es Amor?”) with “City of God” and “The Two Popes” DP Cesar Charlone attached to shoot the series.
Charlone will also co-direct Coral Cine documentary “Brazil, What the Hell Happened?” and WWII series “Graf Spee.” The most recent documentary he directed, “Gardeners” (“Jardineras”), which centers on two female gardeners working in Brazil’s presidential Alvorada palace while then president Dilma Rouseff awaited the senate’s decision to oust her, is now in post.
Producer Patricia Olveira (“Mirador”) and director Felipe Bellocq will also be working on Coral Cine’s docu series, “The History of Uruguayan Cinema,” which, in season one, will trace the growth of the country’s cinematic history up to the ‘80s.
These are just a few of some dozen projects that Coral Cine’s Andres Varela and Sebastian Bednarik have lined up for 2022 and beyond. As executive producers of Uruguay’s inaugural arts film festival ARCA, which kicked off Jan. 9 and wraps Jan. 14, they have also taken on the challenge of launching the festival’s industry component, dealing with last-minute cancellations and myriad health protocol challenges posed by the pandemic.
The company is in production on a documentary about the six-decade love story of celebrated Uruguayan author-poet Mario Benedetti and his wife Luz López Alegre, “Benedetti, 60 Years with Luz,” directed by Varela and shot by Charlone; soccer doc series “The Silence of Maracaná” in which Bednarik serves as showrunner and Varela co-directs; and “Children of the Mountain,” helmed by Mercedes Sader and produced by Bednarik, about Uruguayan sculptor Pablo Atchugarry, whose new contemporary museum in Punta del Este hosts ARCA. `
Bednarik describes “Is it Love?” as a fictional take on online dating and love in the 21st century.” “We created the format together with Marisa Quiroga (“The Game of Keys”) motivated by the challenge of creating engaging romantic stories but with an innovative and unconventional staging,” he said, adding: “Each episode is written by a different scriptwriter and the entire series is filmed on 4K cell phones under the photography direction of Charlone.
For Varela, the third doc he’s set to direct, “The Child Who Dreamt: The Legend of Philippe Genty,” with Charlone as DP, is a departure from the archival doc formats he used in his two previous docs. Now 83, Genty is renowned for combining dance, pantomime, object theatre, puppetry, music and light to explore the human experience.
“He opened his doors to us and allowed us to live and observe him at work,” said Varela who plans to explore Genty’s universe where his dreams inspired much of his work, through a more visual narrative style. “This is probably the most challenging project I’ve ever undertaken, and indeed, for Coral Cine, one with the most international appeal given Genty’s worldwide fame,” Varela said.
Founded in 2006, Coral Cine is among a few dozen companies in Uruguay that have driven growth in the audiovisual sector, contributing to the development of more skilled talent and crew, the availability of the latest in equipment and sundry ancillary services. As Uruguay has increasingly attracted projects from other countries, these are fundamental.
“At the moment, there are 10 companies that can provide production services here, four of them with the capacity to service large-scale productions,” said Varela.