Spotlight: Ventana Sur 2012

ARMANDO BO
Director-scribe, Argentina
Bo’s debut “The Last Elvis,” about an Elvis impersonator, pulled off what few Argentine films do: It won critical and popular acclaim. While full of personal explorations, Bo believes films should reach a mass audience. He is in pre-production on his next film, “Stand By,” for 2013 or 2014, using the same commercial-personal concept and based on a script he wrote with Nicolas Giacobone, his partner on “Elvis” and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Biutiful.”

JUAN PABLO GUGLIOTTA & NATHALIA VIDELA PENA
Producers, Argentina
Gugliotta and Videla Pena’s Magma Cine is one of the fastest-growing labels in Latin America. It has expanded its director roster, moved into auteur genre — think Adrian Caetano’s “Mala,” Santiago Fernandez’s “The Second Death” — and upped the ante on name-driven movies targeting wider audiences at home and abroad: Victoria Galardi’s “I Thought It Was a Party,” with Elena Anaya and Valeria Bertuccelli, now Pablo Fendrik’s “Ardor,” pairing Gael Garcia Bernal and Alice Braga.

DANIEL HENDLER
Thesp-director-scribe, Urugua
Though making his mark as an actor, Hendler, who stars in Argentina’s No. 1 TV hit “Graduados,” has also proven adept behind the camera . His 2010 directorial debut “Norbert’s Deadline,” which he penned, made the rounds of top fests, from Toronto to San Sebastian. Hendler, 36, is now busy writing follow-up “El Palomar,” a dark comedy-political thriller that explores his recurring themes of self-discovery and reinvention.

TANIA HERMIDA
Director-scribe, Ecuador
Hermida leads the charge among a surge of femme filmmakers in Ecuador. Spain’s El Pais hailed her as the new face of Latin America when debut “How Much Further” proved a critical and box office hit in Spain and Ecuador in 2006. Kudos rained on “In the Name of the Daughter,” a Match Factory pick-up. Hermida is crafting her next two projects, again exploring how names and language can define a person’s worldview.

JUAN DE DIOS LARRAIN
Producer, Chile
Has any other Latin American producer had a better 2012? Produced by Larrain’s Fabula, Marialy Rivas’ “Young and Wild” won screenplay at Sundance; “No,” from brother and Fabula partner Pablo scooped Participant Media investment, a Sony Pictures Classics’ U.S. pick-up and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight’s biggest prize; Sebastian Lelio’s “Gloria” topped San Sebastian’s Films in Progress. Larrain is at the forefront of Latin America’s international interface.

GABRIEL MARINO
Thesp-director-scribe, Mexico
Following in a line of Mexican auteur storytellers, Marino’s first feature, “A Secret World,” is a stylish contemplation on burgeoning adulthood. It took off after competing in San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, bowing in Berlin’s Generation 14Plus section, and taking a Guadalajara youth prize, among other honors. “World” producer Tatiana Graullera credits Marino with holding “a clear, mental vision of the essence of what he wanted to tell” and “flexibly working with what we had, making it look like our first choice every time.”

SELTON MELLO
Thesp-director-scribe, Brazil
A telenovela actor since age 7, Mello is a national TV star but he does not hide his true love for cinema. He has starred in two dozen pics, including blockbusters “The Dog’s Will,” “My Name Ain’t Johnny” and “A mulher invisivel.” He made his directorial debut with 2008’s drama “December.” His helming breakthrough, however, came with second pic “The Clown,” a Fellini-like road movie-drama selected as Brazil’s Oscar foreign-lan guage entry.

KLEBER MENDONCA FILHO
Director-scribe, Brazil
Like the Nouvelle Vague masters, Filho moved from being a film critic to helmer, and is regarded as the most prominent director in a new generation of filmmakers from Brazil’s north-east. Following celebrated shorts and feature doc “The Critic,” about the tense relationship between directors and revie wers, he made “Neighboring Sounds,” which nabbed best film and screenplay kudos at October’s Rio fest, Rotterdam’s Fipresci prize and four awards at Brazil’s Gramado fest.

WILLIAM VEGA
Director-scribe, Colombia
Vega’s stunning debut “La Sirga” swept Toulouse’s 21st Films in Progress and gained critical acclaim at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight in May. A remote location will again play a vital role in Vega’s next pic, “Salomon.” Drama revolves around a puppeteer and his paternal relationship with a boy, featuring real people Vega encountered while casting “La Sirga.” He plans to shoot in Nevia, central Colombia, by late 2013 or early 2014.

John Hopewell, Anna Marie de la Fuente, Charles Newbery, James Young, Jonathan Holland

Spotlight: Ventana Sur 2012
Ventana Sur fires up biz | Ventana lure | Latinos to love

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