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Mar del Plata taps film veteran chief

Suarez hopes to improve film festival

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s national film institute, Incaa, has tapped veteran filmmaker Jose A. Martinez Suarez to run the Mar del Plata Intl. Film Festival as it shifts from March to November to improve programming and attendance.

He replaces Miguel Pereira, who resigned after five editions to focus on his own projects, including his feature “El Destino” (Destiny).

Martinez Suarez, 82, will begin with the 23rd edition of Latin America’s only FIAPF class A event, which “almost certainly” will be held in November 2008, an Incaa spokeswoman said.

March is tough for programming because the fest is sandwiched between Berlin in February and Cannes in May.

Martinez Suarez made his directing debut with the 1960 soccer tale “El crack” (The Crack). He produced the 2001 Huelva and Mar del Plata-laurelled life-after-prison comedy “Rosarigasinos” (Gangs From Rosario).

In recent years, he has taught film out of his home, with alumni including Juan Jose Campanella (“Son of the Bride”) and Lucrecia Martel (“The Swamp”).

His experience and influence — he is part of a 1960s independent movement that still shapes the country’s filmmaking — is thought to be key for bridging the divide between new talent and the old guard.

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