×

Mar del Plata’s Argentina Competition Highlights Industry Cross Section

A dozen hopefuls vie for one of fest’s top prizes

MAR DEL PLATA – A cross section of Argentina’s burgeoning film industry was on display at the 29th Mar del Plata Film Festival, which unspooled November 22-30. In competition were a wide range of genres, including comedies, dramas, docus, and experimental pics.

Among the 12 pics in the Argentine competition section, comedies and docus were stand-outs, said juror Meghan Monsour, programming director of Mexico’s traveling docu film fest Ambulante, which is in talks to launch an Argentine version.

With perhaps only a few exceptions, most of the filmmakers vying for a prize in the Argentine competition sidebar were born in the ‘70s and ‘80s, representing the fast-growing crop of young filmmakers emerging from Argentina.

Not surprisingly, pics by the older generation showed a firmer command of their material. Dario Doria, whose black and white docu “Salud Rural” about a gentle doctor in the countryside, is 45.

Mariano Galperin, 52, presented a fiction-docu hybrid about Argentine rock-tango musician Daniel Melingo, “Su Realidad,” which enthralled fest auds with its playful verve, music and imagery.

Sebastian Schindel, 39, drew on his docu-making experience to expose the gritty truth behind Argentina’s meat industry in “The Boss: Anatomy of a Crime.” “I continue to enjoy eating meat,” he said wryly.

One of the youngest in the group, Leonardo D’Antoni, 33, combined improvisation and rehearsed lines to draw natural performances from his cast, led by French-Colombian actress Melanie Delloye-Betancourt, who is his wife and co-scribe in “Aventurera,” an otherwise traditional but slickly-made tale of ambition.

Humor is a key element in Adrian Biniez’s “El 5 de Talleres,” Federico Sosa’s “Yo se lo que Envenena,” and Jazmin Stuart’s “Pistas para Volver a Casa,” likely making them the most mainstream of the lot.

The festival is hamstrung, in a way, by its mandate that all Argentine pics in competition may not have screened elsewhere in the country. “Since we’re held at the end of the year, some filmmakers would rather opt for an earlier festival so that they can collect their subsidies from [film institute] INCAA before year end,” said festival artistic director Fernando Spiner. “Otherwise they collect them next year.”

Despite this, Mar del Plata brought in filmmakers who have usually opted to preem their pics at rival fests or abroad.

For the first time, Lisandro Alonso, a Cannes regular, came to Mar del Plata with his latest pic, “Jauja” to vie for a prize in the international section. Raul Perrone, who normally frequents the Buenos Aires indie film fest BAFICI, brought his poetic film essay “Favula” to compete in the Latin American sidebar.

It may have helped that Spiner, who is just on his second year at Mar del Plata, is an accomplished film director himself, and plumbed his close connections to Argentina’s vibrant film community to lure top talent. Damian Szifron, whose “Wild Tales” has been a local box office phenomenon (3.35 million admissions/$18 million and counting), made a quick visit to the fest, which presented his 2015 Foreign Oscar contender at a free outdoor screening by the beach.

More Film

  • The Lion King Box Office

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Rules With $185 Million Debut

    Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s “The Lion King” dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three day of release. The movie landed the best domestic launch for a PG film and set a [...]

  • Creative-Producers-Indaba-Cover-Image-1920x1080-px-2

    Realness, EAVE, IFFR, Sundance Launch African Producers Network

    DURBAN–South Africa’s Realness Institute, EAVE, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Sundance Institute are joining forces to create the Creative Producers Indaba, a professional training program designed to support emerging African producers. Inspired by initiatives such as the EAVE Producers Workshop and Sundance’s Creative Producing, the program will bring together 15 participants to develop [...]

  • BOTM-Eve-Viper-Gang

    Director Angus Gibson: My Audience is ‘Young, Black South Africans’

    DURBAN–Sophiatown, 1958. On the outskirts of Johannesburg, as the apartheid police prepare to demolish the community at the heart of black South African cultural and intellectual life, a notorious gang leader is determined to make a last stand. Resisting the forced evictions that will transport the residents of Sophiatown to a desolate township miles away, [...]

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content