Oscar nominee, Catalina Sandino Moreno signs onto Sarah Siegel-Magness’s Historical Drama

Hollywood, CA—‘Castro’s Daughter ‘has taken face. Mankind Entertainment and Smokewood Entertainment Group are proud to announce that acclaimed Colombian actress, Catalina Sandino Moreno is confirmed to star in director, Sarah Siegel-Magness‘s upcoming award-driven historical drama.

Sandino Moreno, a highly acclaimed film and television star, is currently playing alongside Demian Bichir in the series ‘The Bridge,’ and is best known for starring in director JJ Marston’s critically acclaimed box office hit, ‘Maria Full of Grace;’ where she played a pregnant Colombian drug mule who risked her life and unborn child in order to flee to America for a better life. The film, which was Sandino Moreno’s acting debut, landed her an Academy award nomination for best leading actress, and swept an additional 25 awards and 34 nominations worldwide; most notably winning Sundance, Toronto, and the London Critics Circle and Toronto Film Critics Associations awards.
Sandino Moreno will play Fidel Castro’s exiled daughter, Alina Fernandez, who was the result of a 1950’s extra-marital love affair Castro had with wealthy Cuban socialite, Natalia “Naty” Revuelta, prior to taking power. Fernandez grew hidden in Castro’s shadow until the age of ten, when she learned that the man who would visit her during the odd hours of the night, and who she had seen on television giving speeches for hours on end, was her father.
Throughout her adolescence, Fernandez became disenchanted with communism. After years of disagreements with Castro, Fernandez later fled Cuba on an airplane disguised as a Spanish tourist; after becoming a dissident being caught in between wanting a better life for her daughter, and the heated political climate and declining conditions in Cuba at the time. Fernandez’s mother is said to had been a driving force of the revolution that helped put Castro in power for nearly half a century; having sold her jewelry and emptied her bank account to help fund his army during his first failed attempt at taking power. Fernandez now lives in Miami and participates in a national tour sharing her story with student groups at colleges around the nation.

The project was acquired and developed by Mankind Entertainment’s John Martinez O’Felan and Joe Lamy; who will be producing with Siegel-Magness and her husband Gary Magness through their Smokewood Entertainment Group label, best known for producing Lee Daniel’s directorial hit, ‘Precious.
Siegel-Magness went on to comment: “I am extremely honored to have Catalina Sandino Moreno join our team to bring our film Castro’s Daughter to life. She is a beautiful and talented actress with the experience and depth of character to play such an important role.”

‘Castro’s Daughter’ was written by Oscar and BAFTA winner, Bobby Moresco (‘Crash’) and acclaimed Cuban playwright crossover: Nilo Cruz (‘Anna in the Tropics’): the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer prize for drama. Producers are tagging the film as ‘Evita’ meets ‘Argo;’ told from a daughter’s perspective who overcomes the everlasting effects of the grips of her father through her own self-liberation. The film would detail parts of Fernandez’s childhood, and her escape, which wasn’t detailed in her book; and which has yet to be told on film. O’Felan commented, “It is very exciting to see Sarah’s passionate vision come together. Catalina’s performance was remarkable in Maria Full of Grace and we think she will empower the character of Alina and deliver the justice the story deserves.”

Smokewood and Mankind are currently casting and plan for a March 2014 start in Puerto Rico.

About Mankind Entertainment:
Mankind Entertainment is an entity formed for the development, packaging and production of feature films. The company was formed by Austin-based producers John Torres Martinez, and Joe Lamy, and focuses primarily on the financing, development and production of award-driven, specialty films.
Mankind is working on the upcoming adaptation of Anna in the Tropics; which is written by Nilo Cruz, with Academy award nominee, Lee Daniels (‘Precious’) having developed.

About Smokewood:
Founded in 2007 by Oscar and BAFTA nominated producers Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness; Smokewood Entertainment produces films with positive messages for diverse global audiences. The Denver-based company produced Lee Daniel’s award-winning motion picture



President Enrique Peña Nieto has declared that during the first year of the current administration, “We have devoted our determination and our efforts to making the structural changes the country requires to have economic growth and social development,” and to “building the foundations of this great house we want for all Mexicans, where there will be greater well-being and development.”


During his participation in “Mexico Summit 2013: The Next Chapter,” organized by The Economist magazine, President Peña Nieto declared, “This government has not moved one iota away from what it pledged to Mexicans,” adding that work is underway to make the structural changes Mexico requires, “So that on the basis of this, we will be able to rebuild the country we all want for the benefit of all Mexicans with solid foundations.”


He said that in the current political and economic climate in Mexico, and if the transformative reforms that have been promoted materialize, the results of these actions will be seen in the short and medium term.


“I am convinced that next year our economy will grow, and that this will be accompanied by the creation of better conditions for Mexicans. I think we can look forward to the possibility of achieving results and benefits for everyone,” he said.


The president said that the world is recognizing the effort Mexico is making in terms of structural changes, “Because this contrasts with the situation elsewhere.”


He said that a Financial Reform has been promoted which has yet to be fully approved, which modifies 30 legal regulations and seeks to extend and expand credit levels in our country. He said that although the capitalization levels of Mexican banks are undoubtedly higher than those of banks in other nations, “Credit levels remain extremely low.”


“On average, credit levels in private banking in Latin America are nearly 48 percent, whereas in Mexico they are barely 28 percent. There is undoubtedly a window of opportunity to make the credit a lever to increase the economic development of our country,” he declared.


He declared that the Tax Reform has several goals: to strengthen the capacity of the Mexican state to provide a better response to the needs of the population, and to enhance the macroeconomic stability the country should have.

The president also referred to the Energy Reform. He stated that the country should take advantage of nature’s generosity, “And that now this should be accompanied by a policy to enable Mexico to successfully exploit its energy wealth, while making it quite clear that the Mexican state’s stewardship and ownership of hydrocarbons is a fundamental premise and a condition that will not be affected or changed. He added that this reform also proposes new mechanisms for the exploitation of the country’s energy resources.

He explained the main political forces and the government have submitted Energy Reform proposals, “And Congress will be responsible for the definition and scope of reform that is eventually approved.

He noted that although the government will continue working to advance the eventual approval of this reform, “Congress will be responsible for defining the point of reconciliation between the various proposals submitted in this respect.”

What I hope there will eventually be, he continued, is “A new legal structure that will make Mexico an energy superpower.”

He added that unless Mexico becomes a nation that exploits more widely and rationally, it runs the risk of having productive investments go elsewhere.
President Peña Nieto said that nowadays, the world has great expectations about what it has observed in our nation, “A Mexico that is changing, which is advancing an agenda of change and transformation, and is also inspiring confidence to invest in our country.”

He mentioned three indicators, “Which are encouraging signs of the confidence that is being generated in Mexico”:

• From the end of the first week of December 2012, when this administration began, to the first week in November of this year, the rate of return on 28-day Treasury Certificates (CETES) fell by 0.87 percentage points from 4.23 to 3.36, equivalent to a reduction of 20.6 percent.

• During the same period, Mexico’s international reserves have increased by nearly 11 billion dollars, representing an increase of almost seven percent.

• We have had foreign direct investment of nearly 24 billion dollars during the first semester.

“According to the latest report by UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the FDI received by Mexico during the first half of this year exceeds that received by Germany, France, Italy, Japan and South Korea together,” he declared.

The President concluded by saying: “These are encouraging indicators that reflect the confidence that Mexico is projecting towards the rest of the world, and I think they will improve even further if the reform agenda we have set materializes.”