Chile’s ‘Gloria’ Tops First Platino Awards

'Gloria’ wins pic, actress (Paulina Garcia) and screenplay; ‘Heli’ wins director, Eugenio Derbez actor for ‘Instructions Not Included’

PANAMA CITY – Already a sales and fest hit, Chilean Sebastian Lelio’s fourth feature “Gloria” won picture at the first Platino Ibero-American Film Awards, held Saturday in Panama City.

In what was probably the closest to a shoo-in for an award, “Gloria’s” Paulina Garcia nabbed actress for her turn as a 58-year-old divorcee searching for love and affection. Garcia already took best actress at Berlin last year for the same perf.

Sebastian Lelio (pictured) and Gonzalo Maza, his regular co-scribe, scooped the first Platino in history with best screenplay for “Gloria,” “a real attempt to connect [with audiences],” Lelio told Variety of his dramatic comedy.

For auteurs, the road to a real audience connection is littered with corpses, but “Gloria,” bucking the trend and sold by Funny Balloons, was one of the biggest sales stories at last year’s Berlin, deals including a Roadside Attractions U.S. pick-up. It now has three Platino Awards under its belt.

While “Gloria” was among the favorites, it was not expected that any one title would win three plaudits – a measure of “Gloria’s” success.

In a thumbs-up for no-concessions cinema, Mexico’s Amat Escalante took director for “Heli,” a no-holds-held portrait of drug cartel violence impinging one family. Produced by Jaime Romandia’s Mantarraya and Carlos Reygadas’ NoDream Cinema and Mexico’s Oscar entry, “Heli” won the director plaudit at Cannes last year. Like ‘Gloria,’ it also broke out of an art-house niche, selling to 35 territories and notching ap a creditabñe 100,000 admissions in Mexico, Escalante said.

In what looks like one of the hardest-fought categories of the night, Eugenio Derbez lifted actor for the Monica Lozano-produced “Instructions Not Included,” a true-blue multi-territory blockbuster which grossed $90 million in the U.S. and Mexico combined and has opened in Colombia to an eye-catching $1.4 million.

Lead-produced by Luis Puenzo’s Buenos Aires-based Historias Cinematograficas, Lucia’s Puenzo’s “The German Doctor” (aka “Wakolda”) scooped best co-production for a movie whose international partnerships – Spain’s Wanda Films, France’s Pyramide Productions and Norway’s Hummelfilm – allowed for a step-up in scale for Puenzo demanded by the subject. Adapted from her own novel, “Doctor” turns on Auschwitz’s Angel of Death Josef Mengele who, having adopted a new identity, endears himself to a model Argentinean German-speaking family in the wilds of Patagonia.

Having been picked up last month by The Weinstein Company for the U.S.,- where it will be released as “Underdogs” – Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France – and won at New York’s International Children’s Film Festival, Argentine Juan Jose Campanella’s “Foosball” scored a double. Composer Emilio Kauderer (“Miss Bala,” “The Secret in Their Eyes”) won best score for his richly nuanced orchestration, riffing off a broad range of styles.

Producer Gaston Gorali accepted best animation film for “Foosball,” which has an official budget of $21 million and also cost 47 therapeutists and 12 babies born during production, Gorali joked.

Produced by Agustin Almodovar and Enrique Cerezo, Diego Galan’s “Con la pata quebrada, “ a chronicle of Spanish cinema’s images of women from the Republic down the ages, won best documentary.

Sonia Braga (“Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands”) received an honorary career achievement Platino. She dedicated her award to Jose Wilker, her co-star in “Dona Flor,” who died Saturday morning.

Appearing onstage at one point as a “substitute” host, Eugenio Derbez added the major note of humor to the awards: With “Instructions Not Included,” “It’s an honor we swept the box office in the U.S, because we normally sweep the floors,” he joked, to laughter.

Hollywood-based Juan Carlos Arciniegas, the Colombian presenter of CNN en Espanol’s Showbiz news seg, co-emceed the Platinos with quiet irony, along with the more exuberant Mexican singer-actress Alessandro Rosaldo – and Derbez’s soon-to-be-a-mother wife – who made her big-screen debut in “Instructions,” playing the devious ex-wife’s equally devious lawyer.

Ceremony highlights included excerpts from 100 Ibero-American films – including master moments, such as the opening scene of Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s “Un chien andaluz,” a cornerstone of surrealism, picturing Bunuel slicing a woman’s eye.

Cerezo, Mexican actress Blanca Guerra, the president of Mexico’s Film Academy, Brazil’s Leandro Leal, star of Fernando Coimbra’s “A Wolf at the Door,” Spain’s Victoria Abril, Jorge Sanz and Javier Camara and “Instruction’s” young femme star Loreto Peralta were among figures who presented plaudits.

Musical acts featured Colombia’s cumbia pop singer Carlos Vives, singing “Quiero casarme contigo,” Venezuela’s Carlos Baute, Argentine latino pop cantautor Diego Torres, who belted out a romantic cover of “I Will Survive,” Fanny Lu and Spain’s Shaila Durcal.

A bold attempt to create kudos of Oscar or Latin Grammy prestige, if not yet of their impact, for now closer-knit and radically-ramped up movie industries in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, the Platino Awards unspooled Saturday at the imposing Teatro Anayansi in Panama City very new part, surrounded by a skyline of at least 21 concrete high-rises, the lowest 30 stories high.

Looking out from the Teatro Anayansi, there is not an old building in sight. The Platinos are also a sign of modernization. Having ramped up production levels to 701 movies produced last year, Latin America has turned to second-phase growth concerns, such as how to distribute and promote them.

The new awards come at a time of a notably hiked festival presence for Latin American films. “In any festival – Cannes, San Sebastian, Toronto, Berlin – you’ll have four-of-five Ibero-American films,” said Enrique Cerezo, president of Spain’s EGEDA producers’ right collection society which organized the awards with FIPCA, the Ibero-American Federation of Film and Audiovisual Producers.

Yet many Ibero-American films, when they are released, achieve very little recognition in their own countries, let alone across region, Cerezo argued.

Organizers will now look to build on the pioneering event for the second Platino Awards, to be held again in Panama City in 2015.

FIRST PLATINO IBERO-AMERICAN FILM AWARDS, APRIL 5, 2014

And the winners are:

PICTURE

“Gloria,” Sebastian Lelio (Chile)

DIRECTOR

Amat Escalante (“Heli,” Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, France)

ACTOR

Eugenio Derbez (“Instructions Not Included, Mexico”)

ACTRESS

Paulina Garcia (“Gloria,” Sebastian Lelio, Chile)

ORIGINAL SCORE

Emilio Kauderer (“Foosball,” Juan Jose Campanella, Argentina-Spain)

ANIMATED FILM

“Foosball”

DOCUMENTARY

“Con la pata quebrada,” Diego Galan (Spain)

SCREENPLAY

Sebastian Lelio, Gonzalo Maza (“Gloria,” Chile)

CAMILO VIVES 2014 PLATINO AWARD, BEST IBERO-AMERICAN CO-PRODUCTION

“The German Doctor,” (Lucia Puenzo, Argentina, Spain, France, Norway)

HONORARY PLATINO IBERO-AMERICAN FILM AWARD

Sonia Braga

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