Top kudowinners all debutants

MADRID — Fitting for an event that focuses on new or up-and-coming helmers, top kudos at Colombia’s 52nd Cartagena Film Festival went Wednesday to three of Latin America’s most talked-up recent directorial debuts.

The first helming outing from Santiago Mitre, a Pablo Trapero co-scribe, “The Student” — a mordant thriller take on Argentine college politics — scooped film in fest’s Ibero-American fiction competition, actor (Esteban Lamothe) and the Fipresci Intl. Federation of Film Critics Prize.

Alejandro Landres’ fiction debut, “Porfirio,” a singular truth-based docu-fiction explaining a hijack, collected film and director at national showcase Colombia al 100%, plus director in the Ibero-American fiction competish.

Mexican Tatiana Huezo won film and director in the documentary sidebar for her exquisitely lensed “The Tiniest Place,” about a Salvadoran village’s recovery from heart-numbing massacres.

Of other first-time directors, Mexican Kyzza Terrazas won a Special Jury Prize with “Machete Language.”

Femme drama “Choco,” the directorial debut of pioneering Colombian new wave producer Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza, opened Cartagena, winning its Cinecolor Audience Award.

Fest closed with Spaniard Alex de la Iglesia’s stinging social satire “As Luck Would Have It,” with Salma Hayek.

In its second year under director Monika Wagenberg, who has pushed its focus on Latin America’s newest talent, Cartagena also hiked its local impact.

Screenings were free, several held outdoor in neighborhoods across the colonial city. Isabella Rossellini picked up a lifetime achievement award. Also attending: Gael Garcia Bernal, Rodrigo Santoro, Angie Cepeda and helmers Hector Babenco and Clare Denis.

And the winners are:

IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION:

BEST PICTURE:

“The Student” (Santiago Mitre, Argentina)

BEST DIRECTOR:

Alejandro Landes, “Porfirio” (Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, France)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD:

“Machete Language” (Kyzza Terrazas, Mexico)

BEST ACTOR:

Esteban Lamothe, “The Student”

INTERNATIONAL CRITIC AWARD – FIPRESCI:

“The Student”

ADDITIONAL AWARDS IN FICTION:

CINECOLOR AUDIENCE AWARD:

“Choco” (Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza, Colombia)

100% AL COLOMBIA COMPETITION:

BEST PICTURE:

“Porfirio” (Alejandro Landes)

BEST DIRECTOR:

Alejandro Landes, “Porfirio”

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