Cannes Mart Spotlights Unfinished Latin Movies

2013’s inaugural Bal Goes to Cannes, a showcase for a bevy of Latin American pix-in-post, was a milestone, the first Works in Progress event ever organized by the Cannes Market.

Co-run by BAL, the industry strand of Buenos Aires’ Bafici Festival, the second BAL Goes to Cannes, which runs May 20 at the Palais des Festivals, will take a “further step in the same direction, highlighting films that otherwise wouldn’t be in Cannes” says BAL co-director Violeta Bava.

Showcasing excerpts from four unfinished features — Matias Pineiro’s “The Princess of France” and Luis Ortega’s “Lulez,” both from Argentina, plus Mexican Nicolas Pereda’s “The Absent” and Brazilian Andre Novais Oliveira’s “She Comes Back on Thursday” — BAL Goes to Cannes highlights four directors who are hardly unknown.

Pineiro was chosen in 2012 by the New York Times as one of the world’s rising directors and his “Viola” was selected for Toronto, then Berlin. Pereda, who has a seven-year feature career but is just 32, has merited a score or more retrospectives worldwide.

That said, the section’s films are exactly those that need support most, says BAL co-director Ilse Hughan. “Lulez” is the latest from Argentina’s enfant terrible, Ortega; “Absent” and “Thursday” are situated on the borderlands between fiction and documentary.

The second edition will “deepen the editorial line of the first,” Bava says. So they buck the standard of straight-arrow social issue dramas often seen at festivals.

“Thursday” is inspired by Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep.” “Our film turns on a black family living in the suburbs, but we didn’t want to talk about poverty, we wanted to talk about their relationship,” says the picture’s producer Thiago Macedo Correia.

“Absent” producer Edgar San Juan says, “Before, Latin America cinema focused on poverty, inequality, conflicts. Now, its narratives and issues are changing a lot.”

After the first BAL Goes to Cannes, the UDI-sold “All About the Feathers” premiered in Toronto, sold to HBO Latino; “Some Girls” snagged selection for Venice; “Reimon” got post-production from Germany, Bava says.

“A Work in Progress showcase in the second part of the Marche is perfect for sales agents to screen films when they’re a bit more relaxed and it’s so difficult to get as many buyers as you can at Cannes,” said Cannes Market’s Jerome Paillard.

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