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Cartagena pic nod nixed

CARTAGENA, Colombia — In an unpopular decision, a film jury voided top pic and two other categories at the 34th Cartagena Intl. Film Festival, Latin America’s oldest competitive film event.

The jury, headed by Werner Herzog, charged that the films screened did not meet a “sufficient quality level” and therefore the following categories were left without a winner: best film, photography and actor.

The decision was met with boos from many at the closing ceremonies of the festival.

A large contingent of Latin American filmmakers responded that such criticism of the quality of current Latin American films was to negate the findings of other world fests, “where many of the films participating at Cartagena this year had been selected and prized.”

Mexican helmer Arturo Ripstein picked up the best director’s nod for “Principio y Fin” (“Beginning and End”), which won best film at last year’s San Sebastian Festival, while the domestic pic “Estrategia del Caracol” (Snail’s Stratagem), which nabbed best pic at Biarritz and Valladolid, was given the consolation prize of best first work, even though it is the second feature by Colombian director Sergio Cabrera.

More than 50 films were screened during the March 4-11 event. Besides Herzog, this year’s jury was made up of Mexican novelist/screenwriter Laura Esquivel (“Like Water for Chocolate”), Cuban helmer Mumberto Solas, Colombian artist and pioneer filmmaker Enrique Grau and Argentine actor Arnaldo Andre.

Awards at the Cartagena Intl. Film Festival follow.

Best director: Arturo Ripstein, “Principio y Fin” (Mexico)

Best script: “De Eso No Se Habla” (“Don’t Talk About That”), by Maria Luisa Demberg and Jorge Goldemberg (Argentina)

Best actress: Lio, for “La Madre Muerta” (The Dead Mother) (Spain)

Special jury prize: “De Eso No Se Habla,” by Maria Luisa Bemberg

Best first work: “Snail’s Stratagem,” by Sergio Cabrera (Colombia)

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