Gabriel Ripstein’s “600 Miles,” Lorenzo Vigas’ “From Afar” and Julio Hernandez Cordon’s “I Promise You Anarchy,” three recent international award-winning pics, figure among the 11 features selected to play at Mar del Plata Festival’s Latin American Competition, which this year is clearly dominated by Mexican film.
One of Latin America’s most exciting and flourishing of film industries, Mexico’s remarkable boom finds a logical reflection in Mar del Plata’s programming, with eight features produced or co-produced by Mexican companies competing in the regional sidebar.
Mexico’s foreign-language Oscar submission, Tim Roth starrer “600 Miles” is a drama thriller, road movie and abiove all relationship thriller turning on an ATF agent (Roth) tracking gun trafficking between the U.S. and Mexico.
Produced by Mexico City’s Lucia Films, headed by Michel Franco, “600 Miles” won Berlin best first feature, best Mexican feature at Guadalajara and best actor (Kristyan Ferrer) at Vladivostok’s Pacific Meridian International Film Fest.
Lucia Films has also co-produced Venice’s Golden Lion winner, Lorenzo Vigas’ love story “From Afar,” in partnership with Venezuela-based outfits Malandro Films and Factor RH.
Turning on a middle-aged gay man in search of young companions in the streets of Caracas, “From Afar’s” world sales rights have been acquired by Hengameh Panahi’s Celluloid Dreams.
A Latido Films-pickup, Hernandez Cordon’s male love story “I Promise You Anarchy” won in April the top prize at IFF Panama’s pics-in-post showcase Primera Mirada. World preeming at Locarno’s International Competition, the film snagged the Fipresci Award for best Latin American film at Rio de Janeiro Fest.
Co-produced by Mexican arthouse Interior XIII and Germany’s Rohfilm, “Anarchy” suggests something of a move toward the mainstream by Mexican-Guatemalan writer-director Hernandez Cordon, who made a name for himself with previous, multi-awarded pics “Gasoline,” “Dust” and “Marimbas from Hell.”
Further Mexican titles at Mar del Plata’s Latin American Competition include Marcia Tambutti Allende’s documentary “Beyond My Grandfather Allende,” a co-production by Chile’s Errante and Mexico’s Mart Films, in which Tambutti delivers a personal portrait of her grandfather, former Chilean presidente Salvador Allende.
Sold by Paris-based Doc & Film International, “Beyond” won the first L’Oeil d’Or for best documentary at the last Cannes fest.
Typically for Mar del Plata, many of the films in its line-up are lower-profile, often worthy of discovery. Mexico-based Chilean director Sebastian Sanchez Amunategui, co-producer of Sebastian Silva international hit comedy “The Maid,” presents his feature film helming debut, “What We Never Said,” an intimate story of a small family, whose only daughter, that lives in Mexico, returns to her native Mendoza because her father is dying.
The drama is co-produced in Mexico by Antonio Hernandez’s Cinenauta and Flavia Atencio’s Selva Films with Diego Corsini at Buenos Aires’ Cineworld.
Another Chilean filmmaker, Jeronimo Rodriguez, directs and produces “The Monument Hunter,” an essay documentary that immerses itself in lost memories. Rodriguez was a script and editing consultant on Alejandro Fernandez Almendras’ “Orphan” and “To Kill a Man,” two contenders in past Mar del Plata editions.
From Brazil, Sandra Kogut competes with Ipanema-set children drama “Campo Grande,” a co-production between Brazil’s Tambellini Films and France’s Gloria Films, which world preemed in Toronto’s Comtemporary World Cinema and is handled by Films Distribution.
Argentine helmer Raul Perrone returns to the Latin American sidebar with silent movies-inspired pic “Samuray-S,” after competing last year with his poetic essay “Favula.”
The Latin American Competition lineup is rounded up with three more Mexican titles from first-time feature filmmakers: Natalia Bruschtein’s documentary “Suspended Time,” on a collective amnesia about crimes of state in Argentina, Joshua Gil’s drama “Evilness,” a Berlin Forum section player, and Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias’ “Santa Teresa & Other Stories,” the cinema adaptation of Roberto Bolano’s novel “2666,” winner of the George de Beauregard Prize at the Marseille’s Intl. Film Fest.