BUENOS AIRES — The 8th Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film begins today with more films and the revival of a Latin American co-production market.
The 13-day fest, Argentina’s biggest in terms of pix and second in international prestige to Mar del Plata’s FIAPF category one event, will feature 450 features and shorts from more than 40 countries, up from 415 pix in 2005.
“This is a festival of discovery,” said movie critic-archivist-programmer Fernando Martin Pena, who is directing the event for a second year. “Independent films rarely make it to Argentina. The festival will compensate for this.”
A fresh focus is on Latin American films, expanding on the typically large slate of Argentine films. This year more than 90 homespun features and shorts will screen, several making their world premieres including two in the official competition — Veronica Chen’s swimming drama “Agua” and Lorena Munoz’s painting docu “Los proximos pasados” (Next to Be Gone).
Fest is bookended by Argentinean Ulises Rossel’s family comedy “Sofacama” (Sofabed) and Taiwanese Hou Hsiao-hsien’s love story “Three Times,” both out of competition.
Seven Latin American films will vie for awards in the 18-pic international competish.
The seven-person jury for the international competish includes Mercedes Alvarez, Jane Balfour, Alvaro Buela, Michael Fitzgerald, Lucrecia Martel and Paulo Antonio Paranagua.
Directors to be highlighted are Abbas Kiarostami, Ricardo Becher, Bill Douglas, Paul Driessen, Mike Hoolboom, Lodge Kerrigan and Barry Purves, among others.
Buenos Aires Lab (BAL), one of the world’s biggest markets for Europeans looking for Latin American co-production projects, is returning. Organizers called it off last year following the ouster of long-time director Eduardo Antin only four months before it began.
This year the three-day event is tipped to be the biggest and busiest since launching in 2003. More than 50 foreign producers are due to participate, up from 25 last time, to consider financing 35 projects selected from more than 200 proposals, said BAL coordinator Violeta Bava.
For the first time, the market has expanded to involve Latin American films in a co-production section. While Argentina has been a hot spot this decade, European producers are now also looking to Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Peru for fresh ideas and talent, Bava said.
Local buyers and distribs are expected to buy films that do well in the festival, said Pena. Yet they are “selective because a weak peso (it is some 65% weaker than the dollar) makes it costly to import,” he said.
Here is a full list of the competing films.
“Agua,” Veronica Chen, Argentina
“Next to Be Gone,” Lorena Munoz, Argentina
“The Most Beautiful of My Very Best Years,” Martin Boulo, Bolivia
“Drifting States,” Denis Cote, Canada
“The Sacred Family,” Sebastian Campos, Chile
“Invisible,” Thierry Jousse, France
“Longing,” Valeska Grisebach, Germany
“Black Brush,” Roland Vranik, Hungary
“Pavee Lackeen: A Traveller Girl,” Perry Ogden, Ireland
“Close to Home,” Vidi Bilu and Dalia Hager, Israel
“In the Pit”, Juan Carlos Rulfo, Mexico
“Blood,” Amat Escalante, Mexico
“First on the Moon,” Alexei Fedorchenko, Russia
“The Forsaken Land,” Vimukthi Jayasuadara, Sri Lanka
“The Legend of Time,” Isaki Lacuesta, Spain
“Reflections,” Yao Hung-i, Taiwan
“The Shoe Fairy,” Lee Yun-chan, Taiwan
“The Dog Pound,” Manuel Nieto, Uruguay
“Glue — Historia adolescente en medio de la nada”
“The Yellow,” Sergio Mazza
“The Tree,” Gustavo Fontan
“La escuela,” Eduardo Yedlin
“Suicidal,” Juan Villegas
“Maria and Juan (They Don’t Know Each Other and Get Along),” David Bisbano
“Porn,” Homero Cirelli
“Dry Soil,” Alejandro Alonso Blanco & Leonardo Demarco
“Solitude at the End of the World,” Fernando Zuber & Carlos Casas
“Around Buenos Aires,” by 11 young directors