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‘California,’ ‘Honeymoon,’ ‘Similars’ Top Primer Corte, Blood Window

Ventana Sur industry competitions add prizes, Blood Window consolidates

BUENOS AIRES –In a show of Mexico’s strength in depth in young genre pic talent, Isaac Ezban’s “The Similars” and Diego Cohen’s “Honeymoon,” won two prizes a piece at Ventana Sur’s Bloody Window Work in Progress, a section where all six plaudits went to Mexican productions; Brazilian Marina Person’s “California” topped Ventana Sur’s pix-in-post Primer Corte, a films-at-rough-cut competition for general features.

Partnering with Blood Window in a two-way exchange of projects, the Austin Fantastic Fest selected two projects for next September’s Fantastic Market, the other big Latin American genre industry showcase.

Also at Ventana Sur to screen his completed debut, fest fave “The Incident,” scribe-helmer Isaac Ezban’s“The Similars,” high-concept, low-fi sci-fi – a burgeoning trend in Latin America – won a Wildfox/Assimilate color-correction/xfx consultancy award, plus title credits design coin from Mexico’s Morbido Fest. “Honeymoon,” a raw basement torture movie, snagged the Roma Lazio Film Commission’s post-pro award, plus a $5,000 world sales rights minimum guarantee from Habanero.

The top Morbido Fest Award, an offer of Mexican distrib rights purchase, went to to Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s “Scherzo Diabolico,” a kidnap thriller made by a Mexico-based Argentine. A fourth winner in Bloody Work In Progress, a section curated by San Sebastian Fest director Jose Luis Rebordinos, Argentine Santiago Fernandez took a Mr. Music and Mr. Films Award for sound-mastering for sound mastering for crime thriller “Intimate Witness,” produced by Argentina’s Magma Cine and co-produced by Mexico’s Nimbus Comunicación,

Curated by Cannes Cinefondation’s Georges Goldenstern, Primer Corte underscored another trend in Latin American and indeed much of world cinema: Steady slippage towards the mainstream of national cinemas once more renown for art pic production.

One example: “California,” a middle-brow high-school coming of age tale which mixed ultimately feel-good vibes and a extensive soundtrack with at least some social heft from its ‘80s setting, capturing early ‘80s reactions in Brazil to AIDs. Supported by compatriots who packed out a rough-cut screening Thursday, “California,” the first feature from Person, a former MTV host with a seemingly deep ken for The Cure, “California” was the most applauded of Primer Corte’s six titles at its industry screening. Its trio of prizes took in a Wildfox/Assimilate Award, an Incaa TV Prize and a Variety Primer Corte Award.

An exercise in Uruguayan deadpan, Federico Borgia and Guillermo Madeiro’s “Clever,” the oddball portrait of an obnoxiously egocentric adultescent, took the Haciendo Cine Award and Latam Vision Habanero Prize, a sales rights offer.

Directed by Argentina’s Luis Zorraquin, and produced by Paraguay’s Vanguardia Cine and Argentina’s Zmascine, “Guarani” chronicles a hidebound Guarani fisherman’s ’slow bonding with his much more modern grand-daughter during a boat/road trip from Paraguay to Buenos Aires.

The first feature won the European Vision Award, granted by France’s Canal Plus Club, TitraTVS and Gomedia.

The Primer Corte and, from last year, BWIP plaudits used to be the only kudos at Ventana Sur, a market-meet organized by Cannes Film Market and Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute that wrapped Friday in Buenos Aires.

For the first time this year, two awards were given in Blood Window’s genre project pitching forum, Beyond the Window. Cuban Carlos Lechuga’s “Havana, Vampire Territory,” from the producers of “Juan of the Dead,” won a Psycho Mention from the Roma Lazio Film Commission. Argentina’s Daniel de la Vega drew the biggest applause of the prize ceremony winning the Divicom Rental Award and offer off use of a latest-generation Alexa camera for crime thriller “Dead End.” Making shorts as way back as 1997, De la Vega is, by the standards of Latin America’s genre production, a hallowed veteran.

Austin Fantastic Fest invited two titles: Ramiro Garcia Bogliano’s hallucinogenic horror thriller “Demon Driven” where ACID-affected teens battle an evil force; and “Desalmados,” a zombie suspense actioner from Brazil’s Armando Fonseca and Raphael Borghi.

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