Buenos Aires fest expands

No. of pix screened has doubled over last two years

BUENOS AIRES — With production booming in Argentina — 100 domestic pix are set for release this year, double that of 2003, the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film has added more films, screens and an extra day to its April 14-25 edition.

The festival, the country’s biggest in terms of pix screened, will feature 300 films from 30 countries, up from 250 in 2003 and 150 the year before.

Sixteen titles will compete in the official competition, all by first- and second-time fiction directors.

From Argentina are Ana Poliak’s “Parapalos,” about a young worker in a bowling alley, and Enrique Pineryo’s “Whisky Romeo Zulu,” a drama based on the lead-up to a 1999 plane crash in Buenos Aires.

Also competing in the fest’s sixth edition are “15” by Singapore’s Ryoston Tan, “All Tomorrow’s Parties” by China’s Lik-wai Yu, “Before Things Change” by Portugal’s Luis Fonseca, “Changes” by Poland’s Lukasz Barczyk and “Days of Santiago” by Peru’s Josue Mendez. South Korean helmers Gina Kim’s “Invisible Light” and Jun-hwan Jeong’s “Save the Green Planet!” and French directors Emilie Deleuze’s “Mister V” and Eugene Green’s “The Living World” are also entered.

Completing the slate are Austrian Ruth Mader’s “Struggle,” Russian Alexei German Jr.’s “The Last Train,” German duo Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni’s “The Story of the Weeping Camel,” Spaniard Jaime Rosales’ “The Hours of the Day” and American Clark Walker’s “Levelland.”

Argentinian helmer Manuel Antin, director of the fest, will lead a seven-person jury including German scribe Wieland Speck and the helmers Sara Driver (U.S.), Jose Padilha (Brazil) and Valeria Sarmiento (Chile).

New to the fest is a 14-pic competish for features with human rights themes.

It joins the established secondary competitions for pix from rookie Argentinian helmers, with 12 entries including Daniel Rosenfeld’s “La quimera de los heroes” and Homero Cirelli’s “Berlin,” and an eight-pic contest for Argentine shorts.

Directors to be highlighted are Martin Rejtman, who’s “Los guantes magicos” (The Magic Gloves), will open the event, Eduardo de Gregorio, Thom Andersen, Emil De Antonio, James Benning, Sara Driver, Jonas Mekas, John Ford, Heinz Emigholz, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Glauber Rocha and Raul Ruiz.

Like in previous years, foreign producers have events set to talk projects with domestic directors. The biggest are the European Commission’s Al-Invest and Buenos Aires Laboratory, in which European foundations arrange to co-produce Latin American pix.

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