Embrace of the Serpent
Photo: Andres Cordoba

Annual TV awards show to be held Saturday during the 56th Cartagena Int’l Film Festival, running March 2-7

Ciro Guerra may have lost the Best Foreign Language Oscar statuette to “Son of Saul” helmer Lazlo Nemes but to Colombians, he is a resounding winner. For Guerra’s stunning black-and-white opus “Embrace of the Serpent” to have clinched an Oscar nomination – the very first one for Colombia – more than justifies the years of government and television support that have helped to revitalize the country’s film biz.

Throughout the years, RCN and Caracol TV have extended a lifeline to many filmmakers, thanks to their support in both coin and marketing.

To this end, the Premios India Catalina, the annual television awards show held during the Cartagena Int’l Film Festival, will pay homage to Guerra on Saturday.

According to Alejandro Bernal, general manager of new channels and film at Caracol Television, the company put up 30% of the Amazon-set pic’s $1.4 million budget and spent another $500,000 on marketing and promotion. RCN will broadcast the ceremony hosted by Miguel Varoni. The pre-show produced by RCN broadcasts simultaneously on Senal Colombia, Telecaribe and Canal Tr3ce.

Aside from backing broad comedies by Dago Garcia, whose annual output invariably reaches blockbuster status, Caracol has allotted a modest annual budget of $2 million to film production. Among the nine pics it funded last year, Josef Kubota Wladyka’s “Manos Sucias,” was nominated for Best First Feature and Best Editing prizes at the Independent Spirit Awards. This year’s investments include the upcoming Dynamo-Patagonik co-production “Malcriados,” a remake of Mexican hit “Nosotros los Nobles,” and 64A’s “Fragmentos de Amor.”

RCN’s investment in film kicked off in 2006 when it supported Rodrigo Triana’s military dramedy “Sonar No Cuesta Nada” (“A Ton of Luck”), which drew a record-breaking 1.2 million admissions.

Meanwhile, another division at Caracol, run by Felipe Boshell, produces low-budget mainstream Colombian films with local producers, and co-produces or provides production services to foreign films that tap the country’s generous 40% cash rebates for filmmaking services and 20% for logistical expenditures.

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