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Argentine fest fires its director

Financer believes dual gigs were conflict of interest

ROME — The Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival has let go its director and program coordinator.

Argentinian film critics Eduardo “Quintin” Antin and his wife, Flavia de la Fuente, were fired last week because of Antin’s work programming the Mar del Plata Independent Film Festival. Gustavo Lopez, secretary of culture for the city of Buenos Aires, fest’s chief financer, believes Antin’s dual gigs represented a conflict of interest.

The privately funded B.A. fest, unspooling Dec. 1-10, has raised hackles at the Argentinian cinema institute Incaa and at the well-established Mar del Plata fest.

Named to replace Antin as director of April’s event is Fernando Pena, a young teacher and film collector who programs pics at the privately owned Malba museum in Buenos Aires.

Antin, a founder of the monthly El Amante/Cine, had directed Buenos Aires since 2000. Putting glamorous guests on the back burner, he and program coordinator de la Fuente built up a dedicated group of international guest programmers including Simon Field, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Kent Jones and Adrian Martin.

Antin, who heard he was fired while attending a film festival in Turin, Italy, said: “The Buenos Aires Independent Festival was nontraditional, culturally very radical and open to young, non-mainstream filmmaking. Evidently, the city prefers to export tango to developing its profile as a city of cinema.”

In his acceptance speech at Turin as winner of the film prize for “Los Muertos,” which premiered at the previous Buenos Aires Independent fest, filmmaker Lisandro Alonso thanked Antin and predicted, “This change could be the beginning of the end of independent Argentine cinema.”

Dates of the seventh festival were previously announced as April 12-24.

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