‘Offside’ to open Mar del Plata Film Fest

Event unspools March 8-18

BUENOS AIRES — Iranian helmer Jafar Panahi’s “Offside,” a dramedy about girls caught sneaking into Iran’s 2006 World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain, will open the 22nd Mar del Plata Film Fest, which runs March 8-18.

More than 300 films from 56 countries will unspool at Latin America’s only FIAPF class “A” event.

Panahi is slated to attend, as are German actress Hanna Schygulla, Italian helmer Mario Monicelli (“Big Deal on Madonna Street”) and Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla, who is up for an Oscar for “Babel.” Out of competition, French helmer Bruno Dumont will present “Flanders,” winner of the Grand Prix at the 2006 Cannes festival.

In the official international competition, 16 titles are in the running, including two locals: Gustavo Postiglione’s “La Peli” (A Wrecked Filmmaker), about a filmmaker’s breakdown, and Hernan Gaffet’s tango-tinged dramedy “Ciudad en celo” (City in Heat).

The other contender from the region is Brazilian Carlos Diegues’ “O major amor do mundo” (The Greatest Love in the World).

A novelty this year is a competish for Latin American pics from freshman and sophomore helmers, the latest thrust from Miguel Pereira (“The Internal Debt”), director of the festival for a fifth year, to make Mar del Plata a major venue for the region’s filmmakers.

“Cocalero,” a world preem at this year’s Sundance fest, will compete for the Che Guevara, a prize for the equivalent of $50,000, with helmer and producer splitting $20,000 and the rest going to help cover costs of a release in Argentina.

Directed by Alejandro Landes, “Cocalero” follows the campaign of Ay- maran Indian Evo Morales to become the first president of Bolivia from an indigenous tribe.

It faces Mexican Francisco Vargas’ “The Violin,” Brazilian Marcelo Santiago’s “Dancing in Utopia,” Cuban Pavel Giroud’s “La edad de la peseta” (The Silly Age) and Paraguayan Ramiro Gomez’s “Red Land.”

Also in the fray are Brazilian Karym Ainouz’s “Suely in the Sky” and Mexican Daniel Gruener’s “Morirse en domingo” (Never on a Sunday).

Retrospectives are programmed for late Argentine helmers Fabian Bielinsky (“Nine Queens”) and Eduardo Mignona (“Cleopatra”).

Jurors in the official international competition are Jay Jeon, Adriana Chiessa, Emily Atef, Charles Burnett and Marcelo Pineyro.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION, 22ND MAR DEL PLATA INTL. FILM FESTIVAL

“Bled Number One,” Rabah Ameur-Zaimeche (France-Algeria)
“Ciudad en celo,” Hernan Gaffet (Argentina)
“La peli,” Gustavo Postiglione (Argentina)
“Ten Canoes,” Rolf de Heer, Peter Djigirr (Australia)
“O maior amor do mundo,” Carlos Diegues (Brazil)
“Jardins in automne,” Otar Iosseliani (France)
“A Few Days in September,” Santiago Amigorena (Italy, France, Portugal)
“Khadak,” Peter Brosens, Jessica Woodworth (Germany, Belgium, Netherlands)
“The Man From the Embassy,” Dito Tsintsadze (Germany)
“Madonnas,” Maria Speth (Germany, Switzerland, Belgium)
“Come l’ombra,” Marina Spada (Italy)
“Woman on the Beach,” Hong Sangsoo (South Korea)
“Shall I Cry?” Choi Chang-Hwan (South Korea)
“Ficcion,” de Cesc Gay (Spain
“Honor de caballeria,” Albert Serra (Spain)
“4 Elements,” Jiska Rickels (Netherlands)

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