Valdivia Builds, Adds Sections

Fest provides launch-pad for Chilean directors

LOCARNO — Marking its 20th anni, October‘s Valdivia Festival, Chile’s most important film event and a launch-pad for a now dazzling new generation of Chilean directors, will throw a spotlight on films that have changed Latin American film history.

As Australab, Valdivia’s parallel and autonomous industry section run by Erick Gonzalez, has established itself as the key industry event in Chile, Valdivia has invited celebrated U.S. indie producers Christine Vachon (“The Calling,” “Mildred Pierce,” “I’m Not There”) and Ted Hope (“Dark Horse,” “21 Grams,” “In the Bedroom”) to give master classes.

“They will bring an American indie point-of-view which is needed nowadays to complement European viewpoints,” Bruno Bettati, Valdivia director since 2010, said at Locarno.

“The challenge for Latin American production is that we do have a lot of soft-funding and increasingly non-soft-funding but we need to get our audiences back,” he added.

The festival has invited the director and programmers of nine other Latin American film festivals to choose together with Valdivia “the essential 10 Latin American films of the last 20 years.”

These 10 films will be presented during Valdivia, which runs Oct. 7-13.

Valdivia is also launching a new Latin American children’s short film panorama, plus, in another departure, a short film competition for the Araucania-Los Rios region of southern Chile.

As regional film production mounts in key countries throughout Latin America, think Brazil and Argentina – the section recognizes Araucania-Los Rios’ building fiction production, partly driven by the influence of the Valdivia Festival, its director, Bruno Bettati, commented in Locarno.

Fest’s line-up will be announced in Santiago de Chile on Sept. 3.

Boasting multiple Latin American premieres in an increasingly important market for studio and indie productions alike – 2012’s edition featured the Latin American debuts of “Holy Motors,” “Viola,” “Sofia Last Ambulance,” “The Last Time I Saw Macau,” “Leviathan,” “Dust,” “Dog Flesh,” “Greatest Hits,” “Paradise: Love,” and “El Bella Vista” – Valdivia marks the birthplace of the so-called Newest Chilean Cinema, which burst onto the scene at its 2005 edition.

It still remains a launch pad: 2012’s edition was won, for example, by Dominga Sotomayor’s debut “Thursday Through Sunday (pictured).

“Valdivia’s the biggest and most important Chilean festival in terms of international outreach which has most impact presenting the present and future of Chilean cinema,” said Constanza Arena, CinemaChile exec director.

Despite – or because of its – distance from major U.S. or European film centers and even Chilean capital Santiago, Valdivia has battled much more than most Latin American events, to bring international professionals to its festival. From 2009, we were able to find enough money from Chile, other Latin American countries and the European Union to bring over about 30 professionals, when the major festival challenge for visitors is airfare,” Bettati said.

Boosting its international heft, it has also entered multiple overseas partnerships.

In one international link-up, aimed at enhancing the creativity and raising the profile on a wide range of new films from Latin America. the Valdivia Festival’s Australab in Chile, BAL in Buenos Aires and the Rotterdam Festival’s Cinemart market will partner on a round-the-year Latin American project development program.

Kicking in 2014 at BAL, targeting ten projects from across the region, the initiative will stage workshops at April’s BAL and October’s Valdivia, then present four-or-more projects at Cinemart in 2015.

Australab’s focus remains, however, a workshop on distribution and exhibition, which Bettati describes as the main problems for Latin America cinema these days.

Tellingly, it has abandoned its former works in progress focus and co-production meet.

“The strength of Australab resides not only in its international partnerships of worldwide reach, but also in the fact Australab proposes innovative solutions, avoiding the repetition of schemes, and being in sync with the evolution of the international film industry,” Bettati argued.

At Locarno, Australab is teaming with CinemaChile and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to support the festival’s Chile-focused Carte Blanche.

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