Mexican helmer tops Buenos Aires fest

Rulto goes 'Into the Pit'

BUENOS AIRES — Mexican filmmaker Juan Carlos Rulfo’s “En el hoyo” (In the Pit) extended its winning spree at the eighth Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film for freshman and sophomore helmers, which wrapped Sunday.

Already honored at Sundance, Miami and Guadalajara, the docu won the jury and audience prizes in the international competition at BAFICI, Argentina’s biggest fest in terms of pics and second in international prestige to Mar del Plata’s FIAPF category-one event.

“Pit” is about workers building a second deck on Mexico City’s Periferico freeway.

Jury gave a special mention — the second most important prize — to “Longing,” a love story by Germany’s Valesk Grisebach.

In a first, the jury did not award prizes for director, thesps and other categories, saying the inclusion of docus in the lineup meant these were not applicable.

The other big winner was “Glue — Historia adolescente en medio de la nada” (Glue — Teenage Story in the Middle of Nowhere) from Argentina.

Alexis dos Santos’ teenage chronicle won top nods from the jury and audience for the 11-strong competish for homegrown features. It also scooped the top mark from the Federation of Image & Sound Schools of Ibero-America.

Fest, for the second year under the direction of Argentinean movie critic-archivist-programmer Fernando Pena, saw attendance of more than 235,000 for the 450 features and shorts from 49 countries unspoiled over its 13 days. That was up 27% from 185,000 spectators last year.

Pitching was brisk at Buenos Aires Lab, a co-production brought back after a year’s suspension with an expanded focus on Latin America, not just Argentina.

More than 50 foreign producers — mostly Europeans — attended the three-day event to hear pitches for more than 200 projects in a market considered increasingly important for finding Latin American co-production/financing projects.

“A lot of producers and representatives of TV channels and film funds came to listen to projects with a willingness to invest,” said Gustavo Montiel, executive director of Mexico’s Moro Films. “This is better than in previous years when it was only people who came to present projects.”

France’s Canal Arte awarded 5,000 euros ($6,194) to producer Rosa Martinez Rivero for “Agua y sal” (Water and Salt), a tragic love tale directed by Argentina’s Alejo Taube.

BAL awarded more than $3,000 in services to Brazil’s Sergio Machado Ribeiro dos Santos for his bank robbery drama “El acuario” (The Aquarium). The work-in-progress prize, consisting of production services, went to breaking-up drama “La novia errante” (The Wandering Bride) by Argentina’s Ana Katz.

And the winners are:

International Feature

“In the Pit” by Juan Carlos Rulfo, Mexico

Jury’s Special Prize

“Longing” by Valeska Grisebach, Germany

Argentina Feature

“Glue — Teenage Story in the Middle of Nowhere” by Alexis dos Santos

Jury’s Special Prize

“Solitude at the End of the World” by Fernando Zuber and Carlos Casas

Audience Award

Foreign: “In the Pit,” Mexico

Argentina: “Glue — Teenage Story in the Middle of Nowhere”

Argentina Short

“8 Horas” by Adrian Biniez

Special Mention: “Amancay” by Milagros Mumenthaler

Human Rights Award

“Pavee Lackeen: A Traveller Girl” by Perry Ogden, Ireland

FIPRESCI (Intl. Critics Assn.) Award for International Feature

“Los proximos pasados” (Next to Be Gone) by Lorena Munoz, Argentina

Signis Award For Feature

“La sagrada familia” by Sebastian Campos, Chile

Feisal (Iberian and Latin American Image & Sound Federation) Award for Feature

“Glue — Teenage Story in the Middle of Nowhere,” Argentina

“Solitude at the End of the World” by Fernando Zuber and Carlos Casas, Argentina

Mentions:

“Los proximos pasados,” Argentina

“El rastrojero: Utopias de la Argentina en potencia” by Marcos Pastor and Miguel Colombo, Argentina

“La escuela” by Eduardo Yedlin, Argentina

“Sangre” by Amat Escalante, Mexico

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