EXCLUSIVE: Keshet International has secured the rights to it Cuba Libre, a lively drama about a supporter of Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara, which has been heralded as one of Portugal’s most ambitious television series of all time. The six-part biopic, based on the life of Ana Maria Silva Pais, will be part of KI’s chalkboard at Mipcom Cannes next month.
Produced by Hop! Filming for Portugal’s public broadcaster RTP, the drama follows newcomer Beatriz Gordinho in the lead role of Annie, a young Portuguese who joined the Cuban Revolution and gave Che Guevara her all. The show debuts on RTP tomorrow (September 21) and you can watch the trailer below with English subs.
Pais, whose story is told against the background of the Cold War, was the only daughter of the director general of the Portuguese secret service PIDE. A culture lover and legendary beauty, she often found herself at odds with her family’s political views in dictatorship-ruled Portugal, eventually fleeing to Havana with her husband, a Swiss diplomat. There she gave up her life and joined the Cuban Revolution while secretly falling in love with the famous Guevara.
Joining Gordinho (O Sitio da Mulher Morta) in the largest international cast ever assembled in a Portuguese drama are Adriano Luz (Secrets of Lisbon, Night Train to Lisbon) and Margarida Marinho (Meu Amor, low-flying aircraft), who play her parents Fernando and Nita, and French-German actor Pierre Kiwitt (The boat, Charite II) plays her husband Raymond. Most of the casting was done via Zoom in the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Henrique Oliveira (1986, Vidago Palace), CEO of Hop!, is a producer, writer and director. “This was something of a passion project for me and it took 20 years to bring Annie’s story to the screen after I first read about her in a newspaper article,” he said. “This series is probably the most ambitious period drama ever produced in Portugal – certainly in terms of its international cast – and I’m thrilled to have the Keshet International team represent it.”
Anke Stoll, Vice President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at KI added: “This is an incredible true story of a woman who changed so many lives to follow her passion and strong political beliefs. The Hop! Movies have done a fantastic job of bringing their vivid story to life for television viewers.”
Several companies are believed to have pursued the project, but ultimately KI, which has sold several local language shows internationally, took over the rights.
Keren Shahar, KI’s COO and President of Distribution, said, “I’m delighted to add this vibrant, colorful and authentic drama to our list. Not only is this a captivating watch, I am delighted that we are helping to bring Annie’s life story to a global audience. It is fitting that more people will learn of her influential role in Cuban history.”
Other shows on KI’s Mipcom board include My name is Reeva: I was murdered by Oscar Pistorius Rabbit Films’ coming-of-age thriller summer of sorrow, which was selected for MipTV Drama Showcase 2022 in April; woodcut media The worst killers in the world and reality competition format The perfect dessertreturning to Keshet 12 for a second season during the World Championship.