'Acne,' 'Neblina' also nab kudos

SAN SEBASTIAN — Julio Hernandez Cordon’s “Gasolina” swept up three prizes at Films in Progress, in San Sebastian. Guatemalan pic nabbed the Industry Award, The Casa de America Aid to Post-production Award $14,000 cash prize, and the Cicae (International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas) Award.

Industry Award consists in that a group of Spanish facility houses (including Estudios Exa, Mediapro, Molinare Madrid, Technicolor Entertainment Services Spain, Kodak División de Cine Profesional, and Titra Film) will pay for post-production through to a 35mm print.

Uruguayan Federico Veiroj’s “Acne” shared a TVE prize with Werner Schuman’s “Sol na neblina.” Prize consists of a pre-buy by the Spanish pubcaster.

And Fernando Diaz’s “La extranjera” took the Signis Award $25,000 cash prize. Films in Progress, San Sebastian’s showcase for in-the-works Latin American films, ended its 12th edition Wednesday with a 25% hike in attendance.

Spectators included fest reps from Tribeca, Rotterdam, Cannes Directors’ Fortnight and Locarno. However, French presence was the strongest one.

“The higher attendance can be put down to success at Cannes which screened six prior Films in Progress movies this year,” explained section director Jose Maria Riba.

Three of the six films selected this year – from 129 applications – turned on the world of the young. The theme runs through Argentine Celina Murga’s “Una semana solos,” “Acne” and Guatamalan Julio Hernandez Cordon’s “Gasolina.”

Social issues concerns, traditional in Latin American cinema, still remain. But they’re given a more intimate focus, especially when it comes to adolescence.

In “Una semana,” young teens and tweens stay behind in an exclusive residential zone after their parents leave. Their isolation unleashes unexpected consequences.

“Gasolina,” the first Guatamalan pic in Films in Progress and the overwhelming winner, dissects the country’s youth culture.

“Acne” is a “serious comedy,” says Veiroj, “and a fresh portrait of an adolescent’s rights of passage.”

“La extranjera,” turns on an unexpected return to her homeland on an Argentinean immigrant.

Other pics screening: Brazilian actor Matheus Nachtergaele’s deb “A festa da menina morta,” an Amazonian drama about the ferocity of faith; also from Brazil, Werner Schuman’s “Sol na neblina,” a story about solitude and teenage prostitution; and Argentinean Fernando Díaz’s “La extranjera,” about a woman’s return to Argentina.

Small national cinemas need initiatives like Films in Progress just to survive,” said “Acn锑s producer Fernando Epstein (“25 Watts,” “Whisky”).

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