'Zebra,' 'Bald, Fat, Short Man' scoop kudos

GUADALAJARA, Mexico — “The Sergeant Matacho,” Colombian William Gonzalez’s take on the consequences of armed conflict, topped Guadalajara Construye Wednesday, taking four nods.

Co-written by Gonzalez, “Matacho” begins in 1948 Colombia where a young Rosalba Velasco witnesses the murder of her husband by local police.

Suffering deep trauma, she abandons her family, and any sense of femininity or maternal instinct, despite bearing children by various bandit leaders, and hell-bent on revenge, becomes a killing machine.

Based on true events, “Matacho” enrolls action-adventure tropes — ambush, detention and torture — but focuses above all on Velasco’s dehumanization, caught in an intense, near speechless perf by actress Fabiana Medina.

“Matacho” won prizes from sales co. Latinofusion, which offered a $20,000 minimum guarantee against international rights, Churubusco Studios, covering transfer to positive print, Newart Sound, for 50 hours of THX-certified sound-mix, plus subtitling from Titra California.

Version seen at Guadalajara ran two and a half hours. Gonzalez said he could bring in a 1 hour, 40 minute final cut by May/June.

Otherwise, honors were split evenly between Mexican Fernando Leon Rodriguez’s “The Zebra,” an episodic, barbed Mexican Revolution buddy movie, and Colombian Carlos Osuna’s “Fat, Bald, Short Man,” an ingratiating animated feature mixing rotoscoping, line-drawn 2D and CGI backgrounds to chronicle the bathetic life of a chronically-shy law clerk.

“Zebra” nabbed a $3,000 cash prize from Mexico’s Filmadora Nacional,” plus 30,000 feet of negative and positive film and sound recording from Kodak.

Fix Comunicacion will run up a “Man” trailer, New Art Digital provide $20,000’s worth of on-line services or color correction.

It may not be a coincidence that both “Matacho” and “Zebra” feature modern-day prologues suggesting little has changed in Colombia and Mexico respectively.

“Colombian history has repeated itself. We’re committing the same mistakes,” Gonzalez said at Guadalajara.

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