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Chile’s ‘The Mole Agent’ Duo On How The Plot Thickened Their One-Of-A-Kind Documentary – Contenders Film: The Nominees

Anthony D'Alessandro
·1 min read

It’s not often we think of retirement homes as a place of suspense, but Chilean filmmaker Maite Alberdi and producer Marcela Sanitbañez stumbled upon an occurrence we don’t see daily: An 80-year-old man, Sergio, who is hired by a private investigator, Romulo, to be a mole infiltrating a senior living community suspected of elder abuse.

The end results in Gravitas VenturesThe Mole Agent are very moving, and when coupled with the film’s cool cinematic narrative, it comes as no surprise it would be nominated at this year’s Oscars for Best Documentary Feature.

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On a panel today for Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees virtual awards-season event, Alberdi and Santibañez told us how they were able to pull off The Mole Agent without having Sergio’s cover, or theirs, blown.

Alberdi said she and her collaborator “usually deal with old age” in their documentaries, so getting access to the senior center was quite feasible for the production team.

“We were super clear with the topic, but not with the synopsis,” added the director about their pitch to the nursing home.

But what if Sergio walked off the set? What then?

“There wasn’t any B plan,” explained Santibañez. “It was challenging, and at a certain point Sergio had cold feet.”

Nonetheless, there were no complications from either Sergio or the old-age home. Said Santibañez, “When they watched the film, it was everything that they expected.”

Check out the panel conversation above.

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