Tag Archives: Mercedes Reincke

Labour of Love

Friendship turns to romance in Argentinian drama Amar Despues de Amar (Love After Loving) – with devastating consequences. DQ hears more about the series from Telefe content manager Mercedes Reincke.

Complicated matters of the heart are laid bare when an affair is discovered at the beginning of Argentinian drama Amar Despues de Amar (ADDA, aka Love After Loving).

Set across two time periods – the present day and three years ago – the show follows the blossoming romance between a man and a woman who discover their partners have been having an affair when the latter couple are involved in a car crash that leaves the man in a coma, while the woman’s body disappears.

Starring Mariano Martinez and Isabel Macedo alongside Federico Amador and Eleonora Wexler as the central couples, ADDA debuted in January this year and runs to 70 episodes, produced and distributed by its Argentinian broadcaster Telefe.

Here, Mercedes Reincke, content manager at Telefe, tells DQ more about the series.

Mercedes Reincke

Tell us about the story of Love After Loving.
Love After Loving puts love at the centre of the story, highlighting moral dilemmas about love and betrayal. We attempt to tell the story in the most honest way possible, trying not to take sides with either of the couples and instead leaving that responsibility and freedom to the viewers.

What are the origins of the series?
We were always struck by the weight of guilt, the force of the inevitable and the fate of love. With Diego Rojas [Telefe’s head of global fiction] and Ivan Stoessel [writing coordinator], we worked hard to create a story from what we see happening around us: in the crisis of middle age, one does not want to hurt, because they love; but they want to live because death is drawing closer. It is an eternal theme.

How was the show developed for Telefe?
This is an idea that had been in development for several years, with several writers, until we found writers Gonzalo Demaria and Erika Harvolsen, with whom we worked as a team. That was the key to achieving the necessary balance. We knew we were tackling a challenging story but we also knew it was a strong bet for Telefe.

How would you describe the writing process?
Working as a team with Erika and Gonzalo, we wrote each script with the premise that every episode, without exception, must have a surprising ending with a powerful cliffhanger. It was an exciting process, with great demands, but it resulted in a story full of intrigue, tension and passion.

What are the challenges of creating enough story for 70 hours of television?
When a story is as rich and powerful as ADDA’s, the challenge is to be able to condense it into 70 chapters. Told across two timelines, our show features two deep love stories as well as secondary stories that are just as interesting as the protagonists’. It was originally 60 hours, but the power of the plot forced us to reach 70.

Love After Loving’s Kaplan family

How did the writers and directors work together to create the visual style of the show?
We began by writing the first 10 episodes to give us a solid outlook and a firm base from which to work. Once we had this, we shared it with the directors and then set up an interdisciplinary table where we discussed the material, the focus we wanted to give it and the visual style we envisaged. It was a very rich experience, with the dialogue with the directors resulting in ideas we decided to incorporate.

Who are the lead cast members and what do they bring to the series?
Mariano Martinez (Santiago), Isabel Macedo (Raquel), Federico Amador (Damian) and Eleonora Wexler (Carolina) are our four protagonists. We had a hard time putting together the cast. It had to have an exact artistic balance so the complex formula of the series did not break, and we could not have asked for a better lead cast. While each actor has their own style, there is something that unites them. They are all very dear to the public and the four are excellent actors.

Where was the series filmed and how are locations used on screen?
The series was mainly filmed in Buenos Aires, partly in our studios and partly on location. Having the tango as part of its history, we thought Buenos Aires was going to sit very well and it did. However, we also had several days of recording in Mar del Plata, using the port, which also gave a colour and a special look to the series. We had a very creative location designer, with filming took place in the countryside, villages, roads, forests, lakes and all kinds of non-urban locations. That was a great success by our producers and directors.

The Alvarado clan are the other family at the centre of the story

What were the biggest challenges you faced during production?
Undoubtedly the biggest challenge was to maintain the double story throughout the 70 episodes. This meant costumes, hairstyles and other continuities were duplicated. Some recording schedules became a puzzle to be able to meet production deadlines.

How would you describe the current state of TV drama in Argentina?
It’s a very competitive market. Viewers have access to many more windows as well as not only local but international stories, which requires us to develop more and better stories that meet their high standards. We believe there is a huge opportunity for our stories to travel like never before.

Are networks moving away from telenovelas towards shorter series, or is there room for both?
Opening new doors does not necessarily mean other doors have to be closed. The telenovela continues to have its audience and its demand, but with the growing number of ways to watch television, we have to adapt to new needs and also offer shorter content.

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Mixing it up

Mercedes Reincke, content development manager at Argentinian broadcaster Telefe, explains how thriller El Regreso de Lucas (The Return of Lucas) is shaking up its traditional telenovela formula.

It’s the story of every parent’s worst nightmare – their child disappearing, never to be seen again. Only in El Regreso de Lucas (The Return of Lucas), the eponymous missing boy reappears as an adult 20 years later – or so he claims.

Therein starts a thrilling drama in which a family question whether this man really is their lost son and brother, while Lucas’s sister Catalina becomes attracted to him, sowing the seeds for an impossible love story set across 60 episodes.

Ana María Orozco and Salvador Del Solar play mother Elena and father Reinaldo, alongside Pablo Martínez as Lucas, Macarena Achaga as Catalina and Sergio Gjurinovic as Juan.

The first coproduction between Argentina’s Telefe and América TV in Peru, it has already been sold to UniMas in the US, Mega in Chile and Ecuavisa in Ecuador. The show debuted in Peru earlier this month, recording a 37% share.

Here, Mercedes Reincke, content development manager at Telefe, tells DQ how this coproduction broke new boundaries in terms of casting, locations and storytelling.

Mercedes Reincke
Mercedes Reincke

DQ: What was the inspiration for the series?
Mercedes Reincke: There were multiple inspirations for the script. We had a concept we wanted to work with, which was ‘a parent’s worst fear.’ I told a personal story to my team about my mother – that she didn’t want to take me to the beach when I was a baby because she was afraid that she might get distracted for a second and somebody could kidnap me. While that sounds kind of paranoid, we soon discovered that under this exaggeration lies a universal fear of every parent – losing their children.

Why are viewers drawn to storylines about people who suddenly disappear?
The fear [of a loved one disappearing] is as old as humanity itself. Since the Bible, and even before, there have been many stories about mysterious cases of people appearing and disappearing. This makes these stories feel perfectly possible for the audience, especially when it concerns a kid. Every day, news channels show stories about missing people, so this is a subject that feels real and possible for viewers.

How would you describe the writing process?
First, we worked with the idea and the concept of the story. We brainstormed with our writers and creative partners from América TV and wrote a synopsis. Later, we discussed everything again and modified the synopsis, turning it into a treatment. At that point, we put together a writing team, composed by Martín Méndez and Bruno Luciani, two great Argentinian screenwriters. Their team wrote each episode’s script. We continued brainstorming and, once the story’s treatment was finished, we started working with step outlines. The writers sent us a step outline of each episode, then we made comments, asked for changes and made suggestions before they sent over a script. At that point, we made new suggestions until we reached the final version of each script.

How do you plan the storylines for 60 episodes?
It’s a hard process, in which the story undergoes many modifications. We knew how it had to end, especially the main plot lines, and we had an idea of each episode. However, during the process, we found conflicts that added much more energy to the plot. In those cases, we changed parts of the story. Thinking about a story from the beginning to the end and writing it is a dynamic process, with lot of people participating and modifying the material.

Ana María Orozco and Salvador Del Solar on set
Ana María Orozco and Salvador Del Solar on set

How would you describe the style and tone of the show? Was this clear from the start?
That was the biggest challenge in this series. We had the intention of doing a telenovela but with a thriller plot that would give us moments of tension and mystery. In the beginning, this mixture of genres was not easy at all. In fact, we had nine different versions of the first episode’s script. It was very important for us to set the tone and establish this combination of genres, which has not been attempted many times. We believed we could successfully accomplish this mixture, which is the hallmark of this series.

Are the characters clearly laid out in the script or do you like to give the actors the chance to have their own input?
The script is very specific; it contains a lot of work done by a lot of people. The writers are usually reluctant to have their dialogue changed, but they know how to listen to those who bring their characters to life. We are conscious that, on set, the actors and the director work the scene and dialogue, sometimes making the dialogue grow. We support anything that improves the story as long as it respects the road that has been drawn.

How did you work with the directors to bring the story to life?
With this particular project, we couldn’t be on set because it was shot in another country [Peru]. But we had lots of meetings with the directors [Mauro Scandolari and Leo Richiardelli] before shooting to establish the specific code of the series.

The Return of Lucas
The Return of Lucas comprises 60 episodes

What were the biggest challenges in writing and producing the show?
In the writing process, the biggest challenge was setting the tone. In production, the challenges were huge because El Regreso de Lucas was shot entirely on location with teams from Argentina and Peru. It was also our first coproduction experience so, as you can imagine, the challenge was enormous. Fortunately, the process ended with lots of learning and great results.

What do you hope viewers will take away from the series?
We would like them to see that a mother’s love is so strong that it can overcome time, lies, evil and other difficulties. We also want the spectator to feel that, even though fear will always exist, the key is to break through it and learn from that journey.

How does The Return of Lucas stand out from other Argentinian dramas and telenovelas?
Because it’s a mixture of Latin American telenovela and thriller, which is quite unusual. Also, it was shot in natural scenery, it’s a blockbuster and it has a great cast mixing Peruvian, Argentinian and Colombian talent. These are certainly the hallmarks of this project.

Do you agree this is a good time to be a storyteller working in television?
Absolutely, there has never been a better time for those who work telling stories. It’s a true golden age of television and we are determined to exploit it.

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