Directors lined up for 'Libertadores'

Television Espanola's series focuses on freedom fighters

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain -- Mexico's Arturo Ripstein, Brazil's Marcelo Gomes and Uruguay's Cesar Charlone will direct the next three films in Spanish pubcaster Television Espanola's (TVE) "Libertadores" eight-film collection.

The collection focuses on Latin American freedom fighters key to their respective countries independence from Spain and is timed to coincide with the bicentennial of most of South America's independence from the colonial power.

Produced by TVE, Wanda Films and Lusa Films, the eight feature films are independent of one another, cost a minimum of €1 million and will be co-financed by local producers from each country -- in addition to receiving funding from the Ibermedia Latin American co-production fund.

The projects will turn on different aspects of various freedom fighter's lives, depending entirely on the scriptwriter and director, according to Wanda Films' Jose Maria Morales.

"There is no connecting thread other than they are all liberators of Latin America," Morales said. "This is not a series. It is a collection of eight separate feature films. The scriptwriter, who is usually the director, can choose any angle and is creatively independent."

The next to shoot is Charlone ("The Pope's Toilet"), with "Artigas," about Jose Gervadio Artigas who fought for Uruguayan independence from 1806 to 1820. Shooting starts Oct. 12 and scheduled for 12 weeks. Uruguayan-Spanish heartthrob Rodolfo Sancho plays a journalist sent to murder Artigas.

Ripstein will shoot "Moreno and Mina" in 2010, about Mexico's Pedro Moreno and Spain's Javier de la Mina, who led a failed revolt against Spain in 1817.

"This collection of historical films, based on real figures is right on target," Sancho said at the collection's presentation in San Sebastian.

Gomes' "Tiradentes" is also set to shoot in 2010 and centers on the leader of the Brazilian revolutionary movement who was publicly hanged in the 19th century after a plot to overthrow Portuguese power was discovered.

The first two films in the collection have already shot. The first, "Marti," looks at Cuba's Jose Marti through the eyes of Cuban director Fernando Perez and sees the young freedom fighter as a school boy. "Marti" is in post-production and should be completed in December.

The second is about Argentina's Jose de San Martin centers on war years and the liberator's legendary trek across the Andes. "San Martin" stars Rodrigo de la Serna and is directed by Tristan Bauer and Leandro Ipina.

The remaining films in the collection will feature Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar and Peru's Tupac Amaru. No directors have been confirmed for those two films.