Ventana Sur: ‘Spider Thieves,’ ‘Sangre,’ ‘Swamp’ Make Primer Corte Cut

Established springboard for Berlin and beyond runs at early December’s Buenos Aires Ventana Sur

MADRID – “The Spider Thieves,” “Sangre en la boca” and “The Swamp, Between Sea and Land” have made the cut of Ventana Sur’s 7th Primer Corte, its pix-in-post showcase curated by the Cannes Festival’s Cinefondation general manager Georges Goldenstern, which is one of the Latin American meet-mart’s biggest industry drags.

A six-title competition with movies screening in their entirety in rough cut, Primer Corte has seen a hike in both the number of submissions and prizes, said Ventana Sur co-director Bernardo Bergeret.

Running Nov. 30-Dec. 4, Ventana Sur is a joint initiative of Argentina’s INCAA Film Institute and the Cannes Festival and Cannes Film Market.

Set up at Chile’s Altirofilms and co-produced by the Puenzo families Historias Cinematograficas, one of Latin America’s prestige production acts, “Niñas aranas” (Spider Thieves) weighs in as the feature debut of Chile’s Guillermo Helo, a TV director now moving into theatrical film direction. Hitting Ventana Sur with a good buzz, the humor-laced “Thieves” follows three dirt-poor adolescent girls who dream of a richer life who scale buildings to rob expensive apartments. They become media celebs, heroines for some. Production has Chilean Fondo Nacional and Argentine INCAA Film Institute state backing.

One of the big potential Argentina B.O. plays of 2016, “Sangre en la boca” stars Leonardo Sbaraglia (“Wild Tales”) re-teaming with director Hernan Belon after 2011 Venice Critics’ Week player “El Campo” (In the Open).

“A melodrama with elements of film noir,” “Sangre” charts the destructive sadomasochistic relationship between Ramon a near over-the-hill boxing champ and Deborah, a young boxing trainee. Argentina’s Cactus Cine produces. Italy’s Cinedea co-produces, providing post-production services, said producer Nico Carreras.

Locked in an amour fou, Ramon and Deborah beat each other, make love to exhaustion, train together, get tattooed, get hurt, bleed, abuse their bodies without mercy, as if they were numb and “pain was the only way to wake each other up,” Belon has commented.

Helmed by Mexico’s Ivan Avila, still best known for his debut (“Adam and Eve (Still)”, which won Guadalajara’s Best First Feature and seven Mexican Academy Ariel noms, “The Romantic Hairdresser” is produced by 13 Lunas and Arte Mecanica, one of Mexico’s fast-rising production-distribution houses. Co-financed by funding from Fidecine, a Mexican state film support fund, and co-produced by Spain’s OnTime Ekoizpenak, it turns on a depressed Mexican barber who loves classic movies, old songs, supports the worst soccer team in Mexico, and whose ordered life is thrown out of synch when he discovers he’s inherited a house in Rio de Janeiro.

“The film is a funny, adventure-strewn road movie contrasting Mexican and Brazilian ways of life,” said Goldenstern.

Within a broad range, many 2015 Primer Corte titles key in on social issues, a trend in the past, but others focus on more personal stories, Goldenstern said.

Radically expanded in number, Primer Corte prizes are grouped in five categories: a European Vision Prizes, which range from a Cine Plus/Club: Cine Plus Award of €15,000 () to TitraFilm’s €5,000 for sound mixing and €2,000 for digital copies; and a Latam Vision Prizes, including a $10,000 promotion/international sales rights minimum guarantee from Habanero Films. Other awards: Jose Luis Diaz/Tauro and Sinsistema post-pro services plaudits; and an INCAA TV award, representing acquisition of rights for broadcast in Argentina.

Chile-born, but La Paz based for many years, Claudio Araya Silva’s “The Problem with Desires” is set up at Araya’s Diable Cine, features a woman who battles to save her daughter, caught up in a bloody power-battle to control Bolivia’s transport union, involving an unscrupulous union boss who pulls off dirty tricks for his own benefit. “The Problem with Desires” comes as Bolivia’s production sector is battling for a governmental film law creating a state support system for production. Ventana Sur receives four Bolivian pix-in-post admissions, said Goldenstern, a sign of a nascent feature production sector.

Dominican Yanillys Perez’s first feature, “Jeffrey” centers on the daily existence of poor young Dominican kids who washes cars’ windshields; one dreams of becoming a Reggaeton singer.

“The Swamp, Between Sea and Land,” Colombian Manolo Cruz’s first feature, centers on a mother-son relationship, from when the son, who suffers Dystonia – sustained muscle contractions – is three-years-old through to 28. He falls in love with a girl who’s his best friend.

Sourced from Chile’s Sanfic Festival, screening in Primer Corte, but not in competition, “Red Gringo” is a bio-doc of crooner Dean Reed, the so-called Red Elvis, who, shocked by poverty while touring Latin America, developed left wing ideals, made a film about the Chilean Workers Party, starred in another about Victor Jara, and defected to East Germany. Tom Hanks was said to be preparing a film about him; Chilean Miguel Angel Vidaurre has made a documentary.

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