Amazon Studios has announced that production has begun on a new film: Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985, a new movie inspired by the famous Trial of the Juntas.
Amazon has teamed up with La Unión de los Ríos, Kenya Films and Infinity Hill to produce the movie, Argentina’s first Amazon Original title, which is set for release in 2022. It described the movie as “a battle of David versus Goliath” with “unexpected” protagonists.
Renowned actors Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani will play prosecutors Julio César Strassera and Luis Moreno Ocampo in the film, which is inspired by the work of the prosecutors who brought the nine leaders of the 1976-1983 Argentina’s military junta to justice, just 16 months after democracy had returned to the country.
In a historic ruling read on December 9, 1985, former dictator Jorge Videla and former Navy Chief Emilio Massera were sentenced to 17 years in jail, former general Roberto Viola, Videla's successor in the de facto presidency, and Navy chief Armando Lambruschini were given eight years, with four-and-a-half years behind bars for the chief of the Air Force Omar Graffigna. The other four defendants were acquitted.
The trial was the first time that Argentina’s justice system had heard accounts from eye-witnesses and survivors of the network of clandestine detention and torture centres that the dictatorship’s leaders had established across the country. According to human rights organisations, some 30,000 people were disappeared by the military junta.
The prosecutor's office "raced against the clock and under constant threat to accuse the bloodiest Argentine military dictatorship," said the film’s producers in a statement, hinting at its thrust and direction.
A total of 833 witnesses testified before the court, in a process that lasted almost four months. In particular, the trial is remembered for Strassera’s emotional closing statement to the court: “Señores jueces: Nunca más" (“Your Honours: Never again!”).
Mitre, one of Latin America’s most respected directors, co-wrote the film with longtime collaborator Mariano Llinás. Axel Kuschevatzky, Federico Posternak, Agustina Llambi Campbell, Ricardo Darín, Santiago Miter, Santiago Carabante, Chino Darín and Victoria Alonso make up the list of producers, with Cindy Teperman and Phin Glynn as executive producers.
Filming will take at the exact same locations where the events happened. Once completed, the movie will premiere in local theatres in 2022, before being made available to Amazon Video Prime subscribers in more than 240 countries and territories.
“It’s exciting to be part of such an ambitious project that will take audiences on a journey through a pivotal point in Argentina’s history,” said Javiera Balmaceda, Amazon Studios’ head of local originals for Spanish-speaking Latin America, in comments reported by Variety.
“The amazing and internationally recognised Argentine cast, director and entire Argentine production team are sure to bring us one of the most compelling and well-produced of films, that will keep our audience talking.”
“We’re excited to support Santiago Mitre’s unique perspective in this real-life emotional thriller which reflects a trial that changed justice,” the producer added. They added. “It’s been a joy to work on a project that will finally share this breathtaking Argentine story all around the world.”