Two Uruguayan pics win at San Sebastian

Two Uruguayan filmmakers, Federico Veiroj and thesp-turned-helmer Daniel Hendler, shared top kudos at San Sebastian Film Festival’s 16th Films in Progress showcase of rough-cut Latin American pics.

Veiroj’s “La vida util” won the Industry Award, a prize granted by Spanish facilities companies that covers much of a film’s post-production costs.

Hendler’s “Norberto apenas tarde” scooped the TVE Award, worth E60,000 ($85,000), with the broadcaster taking Spanish free-to-air rights.

“Vida” — shot in black-and-white — is a tribute to movies in general and Uruguay’s Cinemateca in particular.

The pic turns on a cinematheque programmer who is thrown out into the real world when the theater is closed down.

A more mainstream comedy, “Norberto apenas tarde” had a packed Films in Progress aud guffawing at the travails of a loser real estate agent who decides to take an acting course. There he discovers confidence and his true calling.

“Puzzle,” from Argentina’s Natalia Smirnoff, walked off with the Casa de America cash prize of $14,280. A cute comedy, Smirnoff’s debut turns on a dowdy housewife who discovers her genius at solving puzzles.

Films in Progress unspooled Tuesday and Wednesday. The San Sebastian festival closes Saturday.

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