‘Childhood’ wins at Guadalajara fest

Benjamin Avila's drama played in Iberoamerican competition

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Helmer Benjamin Avila’s “Infancia clandestina” (Clandestine Childhood), a tale of lost innocence amid Argentina’s brutal dictatorship, took top honors in the Iberoamerican fiction section of the 28th Guadalajara Film Festival, which closed Saturday.

An Argentina-Spain-Brazil co-production, the pic was Argentina’s bid for the foreign language Oscar this year, having toured the major festivals. It’s sold by Pyramide Intl. and has been acquired for U.S. distribution by Film Movement.

Environmental conservation-themed “Xingu” took the special jury prize in the main fiction competish. Produced by Fernando Mereilles’ O2 Filmes, “Xingu” is from Cao Hamburger.

The Mezcal Prize, dedicated to Mexican entries, went to Jose Luis Valle’s social-themed “Workers,” which bowed in Berlin. The pic, the director’s first fiction effort, was an early favorite and drew near unanimous praise from critics, programmers and a slew of festgoers.

MPM Film is selling the pic, a production of Autentika Films, Zensky Cine, Imcine-Forprocine and CUEC-Mexico.

Best first work went to “Tanta agua” (So Much Water), a father-daughter coming-of-ager set during a rainy vacation in the Uruguayan countryside. Co-directed by Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, the pic is a Uruguay-Mexico-Holland co-production run by Agustina Chiarino and Tania Zarak with Bonita Films, Topkapi Films and Komplizen Film. Alpha Violet is sales agent.

Ensemble comedy “Tercera llamada” (Final Call) came away with the public prize, having also won the press prize in a separate ceremony Friday. Pic is directed by Francisco Franco (“Burn the Bridges”) and produced by Laura Imperiale.

Pic grew buzz through the week and exhibited potential for healthy commercial appeal in Mexico plus fest pickups. The femme cast won a collective prize for top female performance in a film.

In the documentary category, the best film prize went to Chilean helmer Ignacio Aguero’s “El otro dia” (The Other Day), lensed inside the filmmaker’s house as the surrounding city of Santiago de Chile intercedes. Aguero also produced the pic, which was a Work in Progress at the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film (Bafici) last year.

The special jury prize in the section went to “Quebranto” (Disrupted), by producer-director Roberto Fiesco, about former child actor Francisco Garcia’s decision to become a woman.

Fiesco garnered two parallel awards on Friday — the press prize and the Maguey Prize in the fest’s GLBT competition.

The section had an increased profile in its second year thanks in large part to the work of its head, Pavel Cortes, who also sat on the Teddy jury this year.

The jury gave a special mention to the doc “Elena” from Brazil’s Petra Costa, a lyrical study of the director’s older sister. Produced by Busca Vida Filmes, pic unspooled at SXSW on Sunday.

Best director went to Dario Nardi for “Las mariposas de Sadourni” (Sadourni’s Butterflies) from Argentina with co-production partners from the U.K. and Italy. Bold visual style and production helped generate buzz from critics for the project.

Several noteworthy Mexican films were not in competition, including “Inercia” (Inertia) by Isabel Munoz Cota Callejas. The pic comes out of the CCC film school in Mexico City, which has consistently produced a quality slate in recent years.

In the film, a happy encounter at a hospital with a former lover turns darker with his deteriorating condition. Film stars Flavio Medina and Marisela Penalosa.

Already confirmed for Bafici, Chilean Jose Manuel Sandoval’s “Soy mucho mejor que vos” (I Am Much Better Than You) world premed Friday to steady and hearty laughter. Pic is a continuation of helmer’s previous film “You Think You’re the Prettiest, But You Are the Sluttiest.” New pic is set for theatrical release in Chile in September.

Other buzzy Mexican entries shut out of the main competition include CCC-produced “Las lagrimas” (The Tears) from Pablo Delgado Sanchez. Pic, which bowed at Morelia, has buzz and solid reviews with a strong performance from young thesp Gabriel Santoyo Navidad; and “Levantamuertos” (Death Strokes) from first-time director Miguel Nunez, who produced the film without government coin, a rarity today for Mexican films.

More Film

  • 'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in

    'Tomb Raider' Star Simon Yam in Hospital After Stabbing

    Hugely popular Hong Kong actor, Simon Yam was stabbed while on stage Saturday at a presentation in Zhongshan, Guangdong province in southern China. He is in hospital recovering. The incident happened at the opening of a branch of the Beijing Easyhome building materials company, where Yam was a guest. A man was seen rushing on [...]

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]


    Director Sara Gouveia on ‘Looking At Resilience Through Art’

    DURBAN–The Mapiko dance of Mozambique’s indigenous Makonde people was long used as a tool for social commentary. But during the colonial era it became an act of political resistance, prompting the Portuguese to stamp it out during Mozambique’s 10-year war for independence. Decades later, the art has been revived as a celebration of freedom. For [...]

  • Don Edkins

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

  • A Faithful Man

    Film Review: 'A Faithful Man'

    French actor Louis Garrel has been married twice, first to Iranian talent Golshifteh Farahani, and now to model-cum-actress Laetitia Casta. He has also directed two features, the first a free-wheeling love-triangle comedy called “Two Friends” in which Garrel plays the cad who comes between his best friend and the object of his obsession (played by [...]

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content