‘Aurora,’ ‘Ausencia’ Win Toulouse

Films in Progress often a springboard for Cannes

Rapidly carving out its credentials as a potential big fest player and art film breakout, Chilean Rodrigo Sepulveda’s “Aurora” scooped both the Toulouse Films in Progress Prize and the Cine Plus Special Prize at the 25th Toulouse/San Sebastian Films in Progress.

Brazilian Chico TeixeiraAusencia” won backing from Europa Distribution and the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE), an art-house association.

Cannes Market’s Producers Network, a training and networking initiative, has extended two invites to the producers of all six films in the Films in Progress lineup.

A pix-in-post showcase, Toulouse’s Films in Progress was held over March 27-28 at the Toulouse Cinelatino Rencontres in Southern France.

Unspooling seven weeks’ before May’s Cannes Festival, plaudits at Toulouse in the films-at-rough-cut-competish have often proved a springboard for selection at Cannes which, this year as last and 2012, looks set to boast a significant roster of Latin American titles.

A film’s major fest play potential – Cannes, or beyond – also gooses the chances of its scoring a sales agent.

“Aurora” is produced by Chile’s Florencia Larrea (“Illiterate”), helmed by Sepulveda (“Padre Nuestro”) and based on true events. It turns on a woman who becomes obsessed by a dead baby she finds in a landfill and attempts to adopt it to give it burial. “Aurora” already topped Miami’s Encounters on March 15, the Miami Fest’s major competitive industry section, winning a $35,000 pre-sales contract for Latin America from the Fox International Channels Moviecity.

At Miami, the Encounters jury praised “Aurora’s” “perfect combination of acting and cinematography“: the drama boasts a powerful performance by Amparo Noguera who already impressed in Sepuleveda’s 2002 “A Thief and His Wife.”

The Toulouse Films in Progress prize includes a grant from France’s CNC film board for post-production work, and subtitling, DCP and duplication and –in a sign of the times – – the preparation of an iTunes or Google Play package from Titra Film Paris. Mactari offers $15,000 of sound-mix and editing, Firefly color correction software, Commune Image low-cost editing suites, sound mix and 4K calibration.

France’s CCAS will cover five-weeks in Paris for Sepulveda, to complete or promote “Aurora.”

Awarded by French pay TV giant Canal Plus’ movie channel bouquet, the Cine Plus Special Prize offers a $15,000 pay TV rights pick-up, if the film scores theatrical distribution in France.

Lead-produced by Brazil’s Bossa Nova Filmes, written by Teixeira (“Alice’s House”), Sabina Anzuategui (“Alice’s House”) and Marcelo Gomes (“The Man of the Crowd,” “Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures,”) “Ausencia” (aka “The Santo Amaro Circus”) chronicles the daily life and sexual awakening of a 14-year-old boy, who is deeply hurt by his father’s abandonment.

Europa Distribution has committed to promote the film to its 125 indie distributor members; CICAE will send information to its about 2,000 cinema theater manager rank-and-file.

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