Norteado prize goes to 'So Much Water' at San Sebastian

SAN SEBASTIAN — Chilean Sebastian Lelio’s dramedy “Gloria” topped San Sebastian’s prestigious pix-in-post Films in Progress strand, winning its main Films in Progress Industry Award Wednesday night.

Told with large doses of humor, it turns on a 58-year-old woman who still feels young, searches for love at parties for single adults, but is finally forced to face the fact she is getting old.

“Gloria” proved a popular winner. The pic reps a move toward accessible art-house filmmaking by Lelio, director of “The Sacred Family,” “Christmas,” which was put through Cannes’ Residence, and last year’s “The Year of the Tiger.” “Gloria,” which was admired at Locarno, immediately established itself after its late Wednesday afternoon screening as one of San Sebastian’s hottest new titles, circled by multiple sales agents and foreign distributors alike.

“The actress Paulina Garcia is extraordinary, her role very well-written. It’s a seemingly light comedy, but still gives a sense in the background of what’s happened in Chile in the last 45 years,” one fest programmer enthused.

Written by Lelio and regular co-scribe Gonzalo Mazo, “Gloria” was produced by Pablo and Juan de Dios Larrain’s high-flying Fabula, whose credits include Cannes fest hit “No,” a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pick-up.

FIP’s second plaudit, the Norteado Films in Progress Award went to “So Much Water,” the feature debut of Uruguay’s Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, and an understated family

dramedy about a divorced dad attempting to entertain his kids at a rain-swept spa.

Prizes could have gone elsewhere. Mexico’s Aaron Fernandez’s won praise, if no prize, but certainly some sales agent interest, for “The Empty Hours,” a composed misfits drama featuring the building friendship between a 17-year-old guy and a woman twice his age, but equally lonely, both with time to kill at a Pacific coast motel.

FIP pix played to packed audiences, boasting most of Europe’s art-house sales agents: One sign of a dramatic increase in industry presence at this year’s San Sebastian.

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