‘Abel’ to open Horizontes Latinos

Section rich in new generation LatAm pics

Thesp Diego Luna’s fiction feature directorial debut, “Abel,” will open the 58th San Sebastian Festival’s Horizontes Latinos on Sept. 17.

The family dramedy, about a 9-year-old who becomes the man of the house after his father walks out, won praise at Sundance and Cannes.

It bowed in Mexico May 28 and took $2.5 million at the B.O., becoming the highest-grossing film for production house Canana, which Luna founded in 2004 with Gael Garcia Bernal and Pablo Cruz.

A panorama of contempo Latin American films, Horizontes underscores the rich talent of a new generation of filmmakers. Seven of the 11 pics on show are first features.

Horizontes highlights include four films shown in rough cut to substantial applause at San Sebastian’s 2009 Films in Progress showcase.

Three have gone on to fest gigs: Argentinian Natalia Smirnoff’s housewife-finds-independence tale “Puzzle” was a Berlin competition player; “Cold Water of the Sea,” from Costa Rica’s Paz Fabrega, was a Rotterdam Festival VPRO Tiger winner; and “Norberto’s Deadline,” a comedy about a sales agent-turned-actor from Argentine actor-director Daniel Hendler, will play the Locarno fest this month.

Also featuring at Films in Progress, Mexican Sebastian Hiriart’s “A Stone Throw Away” starts off as a Mexican-U.S. immigration drama but develops an unexpected vein of magical realism.

Horizontes also showcases family dramedy “October,” from Peruvian brothers Daniel and Diego Vega, which won the jury prize at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard this year, and Delfina Castagnino’s friendship dramedy “What I Love the Most,” prized as best Argentine film in international competition at April’s Buenos Aires Film Festival.

Of more established helmers, Argentina’s Diego Lerman will present “The Invisible Eye,” Chile’s Pablo Larrain brings “Post Mortem,” Patricio Guzman has “Nostalgia for the Light,” and Agentina’s Anahi Berneri brings “It’s Your Fault.”

Section offers a $46,000 prize. Fest runs Sept. 17-25.

(James Young in Mexico contributed to this report.)

“Abel,” Diego Luna (Mexico)
“A Stone Throw Away,” Sebastian Hiriart (Mexico)
“Cold Water of the Sea,” Paz Fabrega (Costa Rica, France, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico)
“What I Love the Most,” Delfina Castagnino (Argentina)
The Invisible Eye,” Diego Lerman (Argentina, Spain, France)
“Norberto’s Deadline,” Daniel Hendler (Uruguay, Argentina)
“Nostalgia for the Light,” Patricio Guzman (France, Germany, Chile)
“October,” Daniel Vega, Diego Vega (Peru)
“It’s Your Fault,” Anahi Berneri (Argentina)
“Post Mortem,” Pablo Larrain (Chile,Mexico,Germany)
“Puzzle,” Natalia Smirnoff (Argentina, France)

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