UPDATED with video: Colombia’s International Feature Oscar submission El ovido que seremos (English title: Memories of My Father) hails from Oscar-winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba and stars Spanish legend Javier Cámara. It’s based on the memoir by Héctor Abad Faciolince about his father who was a doctor, professor and an activist for social justice who was murdered in 1987 by Colombian paramilitaries.
A love letter from son to father, the book was “so dear” to Trueba’s heart that he had given it to friends and family many times over the years. “It’s a book you don’t give to just anyone, you give it to people you really care for,” he says during Deadline’s Contenders International award-season event, where he also talked about making the decision to turn the subject matter into a film.
Even though one of his first thoughts was, “What a pity that Javier Cámara is not Colombian,” Trueba ultimately landed on the actor who bears a physical resemblance to the character, but much more.
Says Trueba: “This character was a man who loved life, in photographs of him that exist the guy is laughing — not smiling — laughing with a big laugh. This is one thing if you are the best actor in the world you can’t fake. You can be Marlon Brando, but you can’t fake this joy of life, and Javier has this.”
When Cámara first read the book, he was traveling to Colombia to shoot the Netflix series Narcos. When “Fernando decided to do this film and after a lot of reluctant moments in my life, because this is such a monumental character, I thought ‘Oh my God, I’m going to have the opportunity to do a story full of light.’ I was doing a very dark part of Colombia’s story,” he says. El ovidio was a chance “to go to Colombia again to be part of this amazing man and perform and play this flesh and bones of this guy.”
Faciolince and his family were present during the shoot and while Cámara says it was “a lot of pressure,” he also “never had such an amount of help in my life to enter in the life of a character.”
Cohen Media Group has domestic on El olvido que seremos.
Check out the panel video above.