High School Musical: El Desafío (The Challenge) is a spin-off of the American film High School Musical for the Argentine market, based on the book Battle of the Bands. It began filming in February 2008 and it is the third Disney-branded feature film made in Latin America, The first was Una Pelicula de Huevos and the second is El Arca.
The movie has a script created specifically for the cinema and an original plotline. Eight new songs have been produced exclusively for the movie. In addition to these songs, Alejandro Lerner also composed the main theme, which he performed, and which is played during the closing credits.
The roles in the movie are played by the winners and finalists of the Argentine TV program High School Musical: La Selección: Agus, Fer, Delfi, Walter, Gastón, Vale, Sofi and Juanchi. It also has the special participation of Andrea del Boca, Adriana Salonia, Peter McFarlane and the debut in a film of Liz Solari. The movie arrived in Argentine theaters on July 17, 2008, reaching in its debut week second place in the national box-office charts.
A new school year begins at the High School Argentina (HSA), and the students return from the summer vacations. Fer, the captain of the school rugby team, the Jaguars, discovers that Agus, his neighbor and classmate, has changed a lot over the summer. Delfi, however, continues being vain and wastes her time dominating her poor brother, Walter, and her associates Alicia, Clara and Valeria, or, as she prefers to call them, "The Invisibles".
The principal of the school and Ms. D'Arts, the art teacher, invite the students to take part in the school's first battle of the bands, where the kids will have a chance to be showcased as true music stars. Anne-Claire, a former student and now a famous singer, comes to the school as adviser to the contest. Delfi envies her greatly.
Working against the clock and with limited resources, the kids put all the forces for the big day. Fer and Agus, together with Juanchi, Sofi, Facha, Gaston and Walter participate in the contest, forming a band called the Scrum. At the same time, Delfi participates with her friends, and she tries the impossible task of separating Walter from his new friends. But only one band will be the winner, the one which can understand that teamwork, personal development, and study will make them better artists and also better people.
- Fer (Fernando Dente) is the male protagonist of the movie. He is the most popular male student at High School Argentina, and the captain of the varsity rugby team, the Jaguars. He faces a new challenge this year in the school: forming a band for the Battle of the Bands, where he will show, despite of the difficulties, his true leadership. (The equivalent of Troy Bolton.)
- Agus (Agustina Vera) is the female protagonist of the movie. She is the shy and studious student who, under the astonished eyes of all her peers, suddenly becomes an attractive young girl with a talent for singing. When she feels insecure, Anne-Claire encourages her to be herself and exhibit her artistic talents without fears. (The equivalent of Gabriella Montez.)
- Delfi (Delfina Peña) is the antagonist of the film. She is the typical "rich girl", vain, selfish, who does not spare a second for the others, even for her brother Walter, except to get what she wants: to be the absolute and undisputed star of the school. But at the end, she learns a valuable lesson and redeems herself. (The equivalent of Sharpay Evans.)
- Walter (Walter Bruno) is Delfi's brother, who must use all his ingenuity to evade the surveillance of his sister to be the coach of Fer's band, the Scrum. With Agus's help, and with his perseverance and recklessness, Walter manages to become independent and show his true artistic abilities. (The equivalent of Ryan Evans.)
- Gastón (Gastón Vietto) is Fer's best friend, who has a deep platonic love with Anne-Claire. There is nothing in the world he wouldn't do for her. (The equivalent of Chad Danforth.)
- Juanchi (Juan Macedonio). When there is a funny comment or sudden laughter, that is Juanchi, the guy who never loses his sense of humor. He is also a good drummer. (The equivalent of Chad Danforth.)
- Facha (Augusto Buccafusco). He does what he can with his guitar ... literally because the instrument has the unfortunate habit of falling down! Anne-Claire is the one who finally pulls out of the muck at the crucial moment in his performance. (The equivalent of Jason Cross.)
- Sofi (Sofía Agüero Petros) is the talented composer of the band. She also demonstrates her positive attitude when time is their principal enemy. (The equivalent of Kelsi Nielsen.)
- Vale (Valeria Baroni) is a great singer, but because she joins Delfi's musical group, she is always overshadowed by the "star". (The equivalent of Taylor McKessie.)
- Clarita and Alicia (Maria Clara Alonso and Sophie Oliver Sánchez) are Delfi's unconditional allies and members of her band. The two girls are completely subordinated to the whims and arrogance of the "star". (The equivalent of The Sharpettes.)
- Ms. D'Arts (Andrea del Boca) is HSA's art teacher, who, together with the principal, convenes the Battle of the Bands. (The equivalent of Ms. Darbus.)
- The High School Principal (Peter McFarlane)
- Anne-Claire (Liz Solari) is the adviser of the contest, is a former HSA student and now a famous singer and pianist. (the equivalent of Taylor McKessie.)
- Agus' Mum (Adriana Salonia)
- Fer's Dad (Mauricio Dayub) rugby coach of the team, pushes them hard. (the equivalent of Coach Bolton)
- Donato (Daniel Martins)
- Marta (Carolina Ibarra)
The special premiere took place on July 14, 2008 at the Gran Rex Theater. Following the film, the cast and the director, Jorge Nisco, went to the Alvear Hotel for a photo session and a press conference.
The film debuted in cinemas throughout Argentina on July 17, 2008.
Before the release of the movie, the film's soundtrack CD was released, featuring eight new songs produced by Fernando López Rossi. The album has a bonus track with the song "Now Is Time to Shine" (originally in Spanish, "Ya es tiempo de brillar") written by Alejandro Lerner especially for the film, and includes the music video of the song "The Summer Was Ended" ("El Verano Terminó").
List of songs
|1||El Verano Terminó (Summer Has Ended)||All|
|2||Siempre Juntos (Forever Together)||The Jaguars|
|3||Doo up||Delfy and Walter|
|4||Yo sabía... (I Knew...)||Agus and Fer|
|5||A Buscar el Sol (Look for the Sun)||Agus|
|6||Hoy Todo es Mejor (Today Everything is Better)||Fer|
|7||Superstar||Delfi and The Shadows (Vale, Clara and Alicia)|
|8||Mejor Hacerlo Todo Juntos (It's Better Doing It All Together)||Agus, Fer, Juanchi, Gaston, Facha and Sofi|
|9||Actuar, Bailar, Cantar (Act, Dance, Sing)||All|
|10||Ya es Hora de Brillar (Now It Is Time to Shine)||Alejandro Lerner|
|BT||El Verano Terminó (Video) (Summer Has Ended (Video))||All|
Other international versions
- In Mexico, as in Argentina, the winners were chosen by a contest (HSM: La Selección), from which Cristobal Orellana and Mariana Magaña emerged to play the leads. The antagonists were not cast from the contest; they were played by Cesar Fernando Soberanes and Mar Contreras. This version generally used the same dialogue (although the wording varied to reflect the Mexican version of Spanish) and songs as the Argentine version, although the songs were adapted with a reggaeton and hip hop style to appeal to the Mexican public. Ironically, the Mexican version was also filmed in Argentina. The Mexican version premiered on September 4, 2008.
- In Brazil, the finalists were chosen on HSM - A Seleção. From there emerged Renata Pinto Gomes Ferreira and Olavo Setembro Cavalheiro as the leads, along with Paula Pereia Barbosa and Fellipe Ferreira Guadanucci as the antagonists.
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