The Academy Award®-nominated documentary film "The Mole Agent” is about a private investigator who hires an 83-year-old man to go undercover in a nursing home in Chile. The film offers a compelling look at age, isolation and loneliness today.

Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday spoke with the film’s director Maite Alberdi and producer Marcela Santibáñez on Wednesday, April 7 at 3:00pm ET.


Director Maite Alberdi on the making of her Academy Award-nominated documentary "The Mole Agent" (The Washington Post)
Producer Marcela Santibáñez on challenges she faced making "The Mole Agent" (The Washington Post)


Maite Alberdi

Maite Alberdi studied Film and Aesthetics at the Universidad Católica de Chile. She is a writer-director who has developed a highly particular style that achieves an intimate portrayal of the characters she works with through everyday stories in small-scale worlds.

Alberdi has written and directed three documentary feature films (The Grown-Ups, Tea Time, and The Lifeguard) and three documentary short films (“I ́m Not from Here,” “The Hairdressers,” and “The Trapeze Artists”).

In 2011, Alberdi premiered at IDFA her first and noted feature film, The Lifeguard. Through Micromundo, her production company, she directed her film Tea Time (funded by: ITVS, Berta Fund, Tribeca Film Institute, FFA, CORFO), which premiered at IDFA 2014, broadcasted during POV season in 2015. Tea Time has received the following awards: AWJF-EDA Best Female-Directed Documentary IDFA, and Best Documentary Award at: Miami International Film Festival, EIDF-EBS Korea, DocsBarcelona, FICCI Cartagena, FICG Guadalajara, SANFIC Santiago, among others. In 2016, Alberdi premiered her short film “I’m Not from Here,” which won Best Short Film at Visions Du Reel 2016 and was given the Krakow Short Film Nomination for The European Film Awards 2016. In November 2016 she premiered her film The Grown-Ups in the official Feature Length Documentary Competition at IDFA.

Alberdi works as a documentary teacher at the Universidad Católica de Chile, and is co--writer of the book Teorías del cine documental en Chile: 1957--1973, or Documentary Film Theories in Chile: 1957--1973.

Marcela Santibáñez

Marcela Santibáñez is a Fulbright Scholar who studied film at the Universidad Católica de Chile. In the year 2014, she acquired her MFA in Film Producing at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.

Santibáñez created and produced the Television Show Chile Suena, which premiered on national TV in 2014 and was winner of the Chilean National TV Fund. She also worked in the marketing department at the distribution company “BF Distribution.” From 2012-2014 Santibáñez resided in Los Angeles. During her stay, she interned at Participant Media and Tugg Inc., and was one of the producers of the Television Pilot Doubleblind, winner of the 2013 “Outstanding Student Program Television/New Media” Award. During her stay she also produced three short films, including “Age of the Moon,” part of the upcoming James Franco omnibus, “Palo Alto: Killing Animals.”

Upon her return to Chile, Santibáñez started working as Producer at Micromundo, director Maite Alberdi’s production company. She was in charge of the Goya Awards campaign for the 2014 film Tea Time, and produced the documentary Flow from director Nicolás Molina, which premiered at Sheffield Doc Fest 2018. Since 2019, she has been the director of programming at FIDOCS, the Santiago International Documentary Film Festival, and is the producer of the upcoming feature The Mole Agent, which will premiere in the World Documentary Competition at The Sundance Film Festival 2020