After making waves at last year’s Austin Film Festival, where its rights were ultimately acquired by digital content studio, Gunpowder & Sky, writer-director Nico Casavecchia’s amusing, fish-out-of-water love story for the digital age, Finding Sofia, is launching across multiple platforms. On February 10, the film will be available on a variety of major services including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, VUDU, and Xbox.
Produced by 1stAveMachine, Finding Sofia marks Argentina native Casavecchia’s feature-length debut and centers on a conflicted animation filmmaker named Alex (Being Human and Superman Returns’ Sam Huntington). A one-time viral star, Alex decides to postpone signing a big contract for a seemingly vacuous project, leave his big city life in Brooklyn and head to the outskirts of Buenos Aires to bring to fruition an online relationship with Sofia (Argentine TV, film and theater star Andrea Carballo), who was once a harsh critic of his past work. Leaving one island for another on his quest for love, though, brings on its fair share of hurdles and hijinks as Alex is soon confronted by Sofia’s intimidating artist boyfriend Victor (Argentine playwright, actor and director Rafael Spregelburd) and his assistant Flor (Sofia Brihet) upon his arrival on an island in El Tigre, a river delta located just outside of Buenos Aires. “I fell in love with the idea when Nico came to me,” Huntington recalls. “Alex felt like a three-dimensional, authentic, vanity-free character that was brought out so well by Nico and the entire team. This film was a transformative experience.”
According to Casavecchia, shooting in a somewhat remote location like El Tigre created its fair share of production challenges, but resulted an ultimately fruitful, communal experience. “The logistics of shooting in El Tigre were hard to overcome, nature was very present, cellphone connection is very spotty and internet non-existent,” the filmmaker explains. “You want to shoot this romantic setting in a way that conveys beautiful pleasantness, but you are surrounded by hoards of mosquitoes and stinging caterpillars that fall from the trees during the shot. It was hilarious and extremely difficult to get everything on time, but we pulled through by working together.”
Casavecchia made his mark in the entertainment and advertising industry with short films such as the stop-motion animated A Boy and His Atom for IBM, which was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film and garnered Cannes Gold and Bronze Lions in the process. Finding Sofia, though, not only signifies his first foray into feature films, but the first time he’s delved into feature screenwriting as well. “The biggest departure for me was the writing of the screenplay, that was a completely new craft,” he says. “I wrote shorts before but sustaining a statement for 90 minutes is a totally different thing.”
Completed over a period of 20 months, from pre-production to final copy, Finding Sofia not only required Casavecchia to take on dual roles as writer and director, but embrace the risk and spontaneity that came with the shooting process. “In terms of the shoot, everything felt very familiar to me, I just had to prepare longer,” he adds. “Every scene we shot felt like getting a tattoo, something that I needed to get right in the moment and live forever with. It was the most amazing and accelerating experience I ever had.”
According to 1stAveMachine Partner Serge Patzak, nurturing a unique film like Finding Sofia directly reflects the production company’s close relationship with its talent. “For 1stAveMachine, being a creative first, format second, company, it was a great honor to be able to make Nico’s vision come true. We encourage our creatives to dream big and never be satisfied with the status quo.”
1stAveMachine is a mixed media production company and storytelling outfit. They create video, digital, and experimental content for TV, print, web, and mobile, all with a unified singular vision. They have won numerous awards since their formation, including Gold, Silver, and Bronze Cannes Lions, AICP, One Show, and ANDY awards, and many others. Their work has been featured across the globe and during the Super Bowl, and their division 1stAve Content has been instrumental in pairing the perfect influencers and creators with agencies and brands.