MAR DEL PLATA – A cohort of Latin America’s young high priests of horror – Uruguay’s Gustavo Hernandez, Argentina’s Adrian and Ramiro Garcia Bogliano and Daniel de la Vega, Mexico/L.A.’s Lemon Films, Colombia’s Rhayuela, Cuba’s 5th Avenue – will congregate for Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, which ranks, besides Austin’s Fantastic Market as one of Latin America’s two big Latin America genre jamborees.
Notably, Latin America’s modern genre build is an almost entirely 21st century phenomenon. None of the 21 directors featured at Blood Window in either its six-title Work in Progress or much larger Beyond the Window helmed a feature before 2000.
“There’s always been a sensation, not only in Argentina but also over Latin America, that genre couldn’t really belong to us: It was the almost exclusive preserve of Americans,” said INCAA’s Javier Fernandez, Blood Window organizer.
“Just a few years back, there were virtually no sci-fi films, f/x movies, even action movies.”
That’s now changed. Fernandez cited the case of 2014’s Argentine movie “The Super Bonaerenses,” a brutal corralled cops actioner “not that far from early Robert Rodriguez films.”
Another departure: Argentina’s INCAA Film Agency has begun to actively fund genre movies. Some play Blood Window: Santiago’s Fernandez’s “Intimate Witness,” now in post, Daniel de la Vega’s “Dead End,” Ramiro Garcia Bogliano’s “Devil Driven,” both projects.
Forward-looking U.S. creators, companies and events are increasingly getting a piece of the action. Eli Roth produced Guillermo Amoedo’s English-language “The Stranger,” a Ventana Sur Special Screening and BloodWindow Prize winner at Sitges, which forms part of his Chilewood production hub, co-created with Nicolas Lopez. XYZ Films exec produced and now sells “Redeemer,” starring Marko Zaror (“Expendables 2,” “Machete Kills”), another Special Screening, a Spanish-language action thriller “Redeemer,” which is helmed by Chile’s Ernesto Diaz Espinosa, a director on “Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman,” and editor of the Roth-directed “The Green Inferno.”
Austin Fest’s Fantastic Market sources titles from Blood Window, and vice-versa. “We have a very healthy relationship,” said Fernandez.
Hernandez (“La casa muda,” “Local God”) and Adrian Garcia Bogliano (“Here Comes the Devil,” “Penumbra,” ”I’ll Never Die Alone”), who has “Scherzo Diabolico” in post at Blood Window’s Work in Progress, will both speak on a genre directors’ panel.
Of potential standouts at Beyond the Window, a project-pitching co-pro forum, produced by Ignacio Garcia Cucucovich, Hernandez’s partner at Montevideo’s Mother Superior Films, “Ice for the Eagles,” a debunking modern witch hunt tale, marks Juan Manuel “Juma” Frodde follow-up to “Splendorous Garden of the Heart,” an Austin Fantastic Market WIP winner.
Described as a “hallucogenic, savage horror film in which psychotropic drugs and the Devil clash some Saturday night,” Ramiro Garcia Bogliano’s “Devil Driven” delivers an original take on a classic genre staple, the Garcia Bogliano brothers’ speciality, here young partying friends awakening a demoniac force.
“Dead End” is a perfect crime thriller from Argentine modern genre pioneer Daniel de la Vega, co-helmer of 2004 Faye Dunaway thriller “Jennifer’s Shadow.”
Directed by Colombia’s Juan Felipe Orozco, who helmed 2011 vengeance thriller “Greetings to the Devil,” with Edgar Ramirez (“Carlos”), “The Shore” packs a powerful Mexican production team of Alexis Fridman (“Mexico’s Most Wanted,” “After Lucia”) and Lemon Films co-topper Fernando Rovzar (“Casa de mi padre,” “The Last Death,” “Saving Private Ryan”).
Set up at Colombia’s Rhayuela, producer of the Wild Bunch sold “El Paramo,” and producer Federico Duran’sfirst tirn behind the camera, “Dark Room” boasts Rhayuela’s hallmark social issue genre mix: a psycho thriller about high-school vengeance, which is mistaken for a kidnapping.
From Claudia Calvino, producer of “Juan of the Dead” at 5th Avenue, where she partners with “Juan” director Alejandro Brugues, “Havana, Vampire Territory” offers a vampire riff on Cuba’s early ‘90s crisis. Project co-won Austin Fantastic Market’s Best Pitching Project Award.
Packing 13 titles, Beyond the Window affords an overview of Latin America genre trends.
One is social-issue genre, allowing directors to have their cake and eat it too, talk about society, the eternal need of Latin American film, but also deliver entertainment closer to younger audience tastes.
“Night Vision,” from Argentina’s Santiago Fernandez (“The Second Death,” “Intimate Witness”), is a vampire self-discovery story that, he says, looks at human trafficking.
Produced by Loris Curci, who took a producer’s credit on Darren Lynn Bousman’s “11-11-11,” home invasion thriller “Breath,” is “a very direct violent film with a message about Chilean social problems,” said Chilean Patricio Valladares, who broke through with “Hidden in the Woods.”
Another tectonic shift in Latin American film: the rise of sci-fi. There are no full-on “Interstellars” which is only natural: The biggest budgeted of Window projects weighs in at just $5 million. But several projects are mind-benders: In metaphysical thriller “Fractum,” from Argentina’s Sergio Esquenazi, a film crew is caught in a quantum physic universe.
Brazilian Pedro Marques’ igh-concept “Tales of Tomorrow,” which is sparking good buzz, turns on a high-school student, Jefferson, who in 1999 received audio tapes about an event which is about to happen in 2165, the kidnapping of Michele de Madeiros, an important political figure, which could trigger a disastrous civil war in Porto Zero Um, one of the world’s last remaining cities.
Set up at Chile’s Glaciar Films, “Requiem For a Robot,” Austrian Christian Rainer’s feature-length version of his same-titled short, which won a Toronto Emerging Filmmaker Award, turns on an alcoholic robot which loses its heart processor, so needs to gain human qualities to survive.
Beyond the Window also illuminates burgeoning genre production hubs around Latin America.
One is Brazil’s Porto Alegre, home to its biggest fantasy fest,
Fantaspoa, where zombi suspense-actioner “Desalmados” – from directors Armando Fonseca and Raphael Borghi and producer Kapel Furman, like Borghi a f/x specialist – won best short. Sold by Elo Company, the upgrade will be pitched at Beyond the Window.
Another significant scarefare scene is Colombia, which also yields “Hidden Frequency,” directed by Alejandro Correa and produced by Bogota-based MadLove Film Factory’s Natalia Agudelo Campillo. A suspense genre thriller, it has two radio D.J.s trying to explain seemingly paranormal events during one of their shows.
From a rapidly blood-steeped Argentina, Damian Rugna, a director-producer since 2007’s English-language “The Last Getaway,” two parapsychologists investigate a neighborhood that is terrorized by deaths, ghoulish voices and returns from the dead.
Latin America’s biggest genre center remains, however, Mexico, where film funding is now sluiced by tax breaks.
To be structured as a Mexican-U.S. company co-production, and, at a projected $4.5 million, one of the biggest-budgeted movies in Beyond the Window, “Dollhouse,” a “House of Wax”-like Gothic horror tale, boasts an even stronger piece-de-resistance as the house’s secret: Lifesize, stuffed humans, now dolls. Mexico’s Gabriel Govela Azuela directs, Juan Aura, his partner at Tete Films, produces.
Ventana Sur’s Blood Window runs Dec. 1-5 in Buenos Aires.