Diego Lermans The Substitute Enlists Urban Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

Paris-based Urban Sales has boarded Diego Lerman’s “The Substitute” (“El Suplente”) which will have its world premiere at Toronto followed by San Sebastian.

“The Substitute” tells the story of Lucio (Minujín), a prestigious university professor who starts working as a substitute teacher at a high school in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, where he grew up. Through tales, novels and poetry, he tries to distract his class from the harsh reality of their everyday lives. But soon, he must step out of his professional duties when Dylan, one of his students, is threatened by a local drug kingpin.

One of Argentina’s leading filmmakers, Lerman won this year’s Locarno’s Silver Leopard award for “Suddenly.” He’s best known for directing “A Sort of Family” which played at Toronto, won best screenplay at San Sebastian and was acquired by Netflix; as well as “Refugiado” and “Invisible” which played at Cannes’ Director’s fortnight in 2014 and 2010, respectively.  “The Substitute” marks his sixth feature.

The thriller drama, which will unspool in the Special Presentations section at Toronto and compete at San Sebastian, is produced by Lerman and Nicolas Avruj at their Buenos Aires-based Campo Cine, and is co-produced by Arcadia Motion Pictures in Spain, Pimienta in Mexico and Vivo Film in Italy. Associate producers are France’s Bellota Films, Argentina’s Patagonik Film Group, Switzerland’s Bord Cadre Films and the U.K. banner Sovereign Films.

“The Substitute” boasts a strong local cast, including Juan Minujín (Netflix’ ‘El Marginal’), Alfredo Castro (“From Afar”) and Bárbara Lennie (“Petra”).

Urban Sales’s Florencia Gil said she has been tracking Diego Lerman’s work since she represented his TV Series “La Casa” seven years ago. Gil pointed that “The Substitute” is Lerman’s first film with a male protagonist. “This film takes us inside the classroom of an underprivileged high school, confirming Diego’s sensibility and commitment to taking risks and tackling timely issues, each time closer to the audience,” Gil continued.

On top of “The Substitute,” Urban Sales is repping a couple more films which will have their world premiere at fall festivals: Carolina Marcowicz’s Brazilian debut “Charocal” which will open in the Platform section at Toronto and play at San Sebastian, as well as the French debut “Spare Keys,” set to premiere at San Sebastian’s New Directors.

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