Buenos Aires fest set to unspool

Harmony Korine, Angela Bassett will be attending

BUENOS AIRES – The 12th Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film unspools April 7-18 with a competitive lineup including Harmony Korine (“Trash Humpers”) and Angela Bassett (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) in attendance.

Argentina’s biggest fest, it will screen 422 films with a focus on new talent.

Many of the titles in competition are first and second efforts, making the event a platform for seeing the latest out of Argentina, the most prolific production market in Latin America, and from elsewhere in the region.

Eleven films in the Argentina competish will make their world permiere, and another two their Latin American premiere.

“The festival offers around 100 films that are Latin American premieres, and 30 Argentine films making their world premiere,” Sergio Wolf, who is directing the fest for a third consecutive year, told Daily Variety on the sidelines of a press conference. “It is big window for Argentine and Latin American cinema.”

Fest will open with Argentine Rafael Filippelli’s “Secuestro y muerte” (Abduction and Death), a drama based on the true story of the last days of an Argentine general before his execution, and will close with Spaniard Isaki Lacuesta’s “The Condemned,” a thriller about the search for a political activist who disappeared during Argentina’s 1976-82 military dictatorship.

Nineteen titles in the international competition will vie for film, director, actor and actress awards, and a special jury mention as well as the viewers’ vote.

Three are homespun: “El ambulante” (The Peddler,) directed by Eduardo de la Serna, Lucas Marcheggiano and Adriana Yurcovich, is a documentary about a man who convinces authorities to let him make a film in a village in exchange for food and lodging. The others are Sebastian Martinez’s “Centro” (Downtown), about the bustling life of downtown Buenos Aires, and Delfina Castagnino’s friendship comedy “Lo que mas quiero” (What I Love the Most).

They will compete against Australian Adam Elliot’s pen-pal drama “Mary and Max,” plus Berlin-entered “The Robber” by Germany’s Benjamin Heisenberg, and Brazilian Esmir Filho’s “The Famous and the Dead” about a teenage girl off to escape village life for the big city and a Bob Dylan concert.

Other entries are Paraguayan Renate Costa’s “Cuchillo de palo” (108) about the persecution of gays in her homeland, and Javier Rebollo’s “La mujer sin piano” (Woman without Piano) about an aging woman’s escape from routine life.

From the U.S. are Zach Weintraub’s teenage road flick “Bummer Summer,” Josh & Benny Safdie’s fatherhood tale “Go Get Some Rosemary” and Matthew Porterfield’s “Putty Hill,” about the impact of a young man’s death on a community.

Other entries are Chilean Rene Ballesteros’ chronicle about his mother’s disappearance, “La quemadura” (The Burn), first-love tale “The French Kissers” by Frenchman Riad Sattouf and Oscar-nommed “Ajami” by Israeli helmers Scandar Coptia and Yaron Shani.

Italian Pietro Marcello’s love story “The Mouth of the Wolf” is in competition, so too father-son tale “Alamar” (To the Sea) by Belgium-born Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio and Peruvian Hector Galvez’s “Paraiso” (Paradise), about five teenagers trying to rise out of poverty.

Rounding out the slate are Cannes-laurelled “Police, Adjective” by Corneliu Porumboiu of Romania, and “Red Dragonflies,” a story about returning home by Singapore’s Jiekai Liao.

On jury duty for the international competish are Cesar Aira, Angela Bassett, Raya Martin, Olivier Pere and Joao Pedro Rodrigues.

Thirteen features will compete for film, director and the jury’s special mention in a competish for Argentine fare.

These include Raul Perrone’s “Los actos cotidianos” (The Daily Actions), Carmen Guarini’s artist documentary “Gorri” and “Los Labios” (The Lips) by Santiago Loza and Ivan Fund, as well as “Ocio” by Juan Villegas and Alejandro Lingenti, and Enrique Pineyro’s “The Rati Horror Show,” a look at police corruption. Also in the competition is Ines de Oliveira Cezar’s road-accident drama “El recuento de los danos” (The Counting of the Damages).

There also is a 13-strong competish for Argentine shorts and another with 18 titles for new cinema.

Buenos Aires Lab (BAL), one of the world’s biggest markets for Europeans to find Latin American co-production projects, will run April 8-11, offering a look into new films and works in progress for producers to enter into in co-production deals.

In its seventh edition, Argentine vet producer Lita Stantic and Uruguayan producer Fernando Epstein will be judging along with Martin Schweighoffer, president of the Austrian Film Commission.

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