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