BAFIF to run April 12-24

BUENOS AIRES — The seventh Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film unspools April 12-24, the country’s biggest in terms of pics and second in international prestige to Mar del Plata. Event is a day longer than previous years and will feature some 375 films from more than 40 countries, up from 300 in 2004 and 150-250 in the two previous years.

For the first time under direction of Argentinian movie critic-archivist-programmer Fernando Martin Pena, event is heavy on homespun pics, with 60 features screening, many for the first time. This is a response to Argentina’s production boom — some 60-70 local flicks are set for commercial release this year, on par with 2004 and up from an average of 40 in previous years.

Two are opening and closing the event, out of competition. Jorge Gaggero’s “Cama adentro” (Beba’s Live-In), starring Norma Aleandro (“The Son of the Bride”) as a well-to-do women in money trouble, will launch fest. Albertina Carri’s sibling love affair “Geminis” will close it.

Sixteen titles will compete in the official international competition, all by first- and second-time helmers.

From Argentina are Luis Ortega’s “Monobloc,” Ernesto Baca’s “Samoa” and Jose Luis Garcia’s “Candido Lopez.”

Also competing are Maren Ade’s “The Forest for the Trees” and Thorsten Trimpop’s “The Irrational Remains,” both from Germany. French entries include Islid Le Besco’s “Halfprice” and Abdellatif Kechiche’s “L’esquive,” while Spanish pics include Mercedes Alvarez’s “The Sky Turns.” From China, Hao Ning’s “Mongolian Ping Pong” is competing, as are South Korean Whang Cheol-Mean’s “Spying Cam,” Mexican Fernando Eimbecke’s “Temporada de Patos” (Duck Season), Russian Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s “4” and Italian Saverio Costanzo’s “Private.”

Completing the slate are Dane Paprika Steen’s “Aftermath,” American Jennifer Reeves “The Time We Killed” and Palestinian Tawfki Abul Wael’s “Thirst.”

The seven-person jury includes Alberto Elena, Aruna Vasudev, Rudi Barnet, Andreas Kleinert, Albertina Carri, Pablo Stoll and Michel Reilhac.

The other competishes are for rookie and sophomore Argentinian helmers, with 10 entries including Jorge Gaggero’s “Vida en Falcon,” Ezequiel Acuna’s “Como un avion estrellado” and Gabriel Lichtmann’s “Judios en el espacio,” and a 15-entry contest for Argentinian shorts.

Directors to be highlighted are Chantal Akerman, Cristain Leighton, Albert and David Maysles, Andre S. Labarthe, Carlos Echeverria, Robert Frank, Monte Hellman, Ryuichi Hiroki, Caroline Leaf, Bill Plympton and Andreas Kleinert.

Like in previous years, foreign producers have events set to talk projects with domestic directors. The biggest are the European Commission’s Al-Invest and Buenos Aires Laboratory, in which European foundations arrange to co-produce Latin American pics.

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