A ‘Real’ Estate Crime

I first interviewed André Guerra dos Santos in 2022, when he achieved success and local stardom with the movie adaptation of his screenplay, A Fada do Lar. I chatted with him again this month after filming finished for his new TV production, Faro, and he was awarded a silver medal by the city. 

“Everything went well except the weather,” he told me about the filming of his new TV series. Storm Nelson blew in while they were filming in the capital of Algarve. Despite being fiction, the series portrays a genuine issue in the region: property speculation. Written by André and directed by Joaquim Leitão, it will be aired on RTP in 2025.

The crime series was created and produced by Tino Navarro, who invited André to write the script. The plot centres around an influential local lawyer who is working for a real estate investment fund. It is about real estate speculation and revenge. Most of the action is filmed in the city or by the beach in Faro. André tells me, “With this drama, I was aiming to highlight the problem of my generation, which is that we cannot buy real estate.”

“Although it’s fiction, we try to touch people with a theme that is familiar to them,” Sandra Alves, production director, told Sul Informação. “We took great care to give opportunities to people from here, whether technicians or actors.”

Despite also wishing to celebrate local talent, André was delighted when Brazilian actress Taina Muller got cast. She is well known for starring in the Netflix series Good Morning Verônica. “It was very cool for me,” he says about having someone famous in his TV series. The cast also includes Algarve actors Luís Vicente, Tânia Silva, Letícia Blanc, Miguel Martins Pessoa and Carolina Santos, as well as José Jesus.

André is passionate about attracting more filming to the Algarve. “All I write now is about the Algarve. We are developing two other projects to be shot in the region. I am really trying to tell stories from this area. My projects not only take place in the Algarve, but my stories are about the people and the problems of the local people and real estate inflation is a big theme in this area.” The production team on Faro also worked with ETIC_Algarve, with some students on internship and others already integrated as professionals, to give local talent vital experience.

Still living in his hometown of Lagos but not yet ready to buy his own home, André is not interested in following the bright lights of the city. “I find the stories and the peace of mind I need to write in the Algarve.” 

On Dia do Município de Lagos 2024 (27 October), André was rewarded with a Municipal Merit Medal by Lagos city council, which recognises the achievements of local individuals and institutions. Every year, the city council holds a ceremony to award these honours. “It was a very emotional afternoon,” remembers André. “I had to make a speech, but I only wrote it the night before because I was very busy with my work. But everything went well, and it was good to have my family and some friends with me to celebrate.”

André confessed to being “happily busy” with his new projects for RTP. He has written another TV series set in the Algarve, which is currently in the financing process. He initially wrote the satire 10 years ago as a film. It focuses on a man at the edge of a mid-life crisis who finds himself forced to work as a geriatric gigolo to face the difficulties of inflation in the housing market. To show that good things come to those who wait, André finally had the idea taken up by a production company but as a series rather than a film. 

The project really is his ‘baby’ – it is the first time a production company has asked him to provide input about casting and locations, and he is also working on securing finance. “Because I live in Lagos, I have worked hard to get some financial support from the municipality to shoot in the Algarve, so I now have a seat in project meetings.

Also in the pipeline is another film. “I am working on a film based on a true story about an inspiring and important man in the Algarve’s deep, forgotten rural area who became a hero for the community. It was hard to believe that his life is true and not a work of fiction, but I now hope to bring it to the screen.”

It is invigorating to see new opportunities flourishing for the young, creative talent in this region. Who knows, maybe these opportunities will in turn enable young Algarvians to finally get on the property ladder?!

Read the previous interview with André on our blog: tomorrowalgarve.com/jan-2023-a-screenwriter-is-born

Instagram: @aguerradossantos


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