MADRID – Amat Escalante’s “Heli,” David Trueba’s “Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed” and Bruno Barreto’s “Reaching For the Moon” are among 21 features from Latin America and Spain that will compete for 2014’s Cine Latino Award at the Palm Springs Festival, which kicks off Friday.
Mexico’s Oscar submission, “Heli,” a sometime seeringly brutal account of how Mexico’s nightmarishly brutal drug wars impacts on one family, won best director for Escalante at Cannes.
A San Sebastian competition player, where it ranked second in Spanish critics’ charts, Trueba’s 1966-set “Living” follows a mild-mannered English teacher (Javier Camara, “Talk To Her”) as he tries to meet John Lennon, then shooting “How I Won the War” in Almeria, and connects with deeper feelings of tentative love and righteous anger.
The penultimate film to date from Brazil’s Barreto, director of “Last Stop 174” and “Four Days in September,” “Moon” charts the increasingly tempestuous love affair between American poet Elizabeth Bishop and feisty Brazilian architect Lota de Macedo.
Launched in 2013 in recognition of the talent and creativity of Latin American cinema, the Cine Latino Prize is backed by the University of Guadalajara Foundation in the U.S. and Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival whose presence in the U.S. grows both with the films its prizes, increasing Mexico-U.S. cross-border business, and the annual FICG in LA showcase of Guadalajara Fest winners and standouts.
This year’s richly diverse competition boasts five foreign-language Oscar submissions – Spain’s “15 Years and One Day,” Chile’s “Gloria,” Uruguay’s “Anina,” Mexico’s “Heli” and Argentina’s “The German Doctor” – and four large international sales hits: “Gloria,” which took best actress for Paulina Garcia at Berlin; Cannes Un Certain Talent winner “La jaula de oro”; Lucia Puenzo’s “The German Doctor,” a Samuel Goldwyn Films U.S. pick-up; and Chilean Marcela Said’s “The Summer of Flying Fish,” one of AMC/Sundance Channel Global’s first two Latino movie pick-ups for its new Latin American Sundance Channel.
Also in the mix are eight first fiction features, including “Jaula” and “Flying Fish,” Uruguayan Alfredo Soderguit’s winsome animation feature “Anina” and Spaniard Lois Patino’s “Coast of Death,” which won best director at Locarno’s Cineasti del Presente section.
Further fiction bows are Horacio Alcala’s “Grazing the Sky,” a docu about trapeze artists: Chilean’s Matias Rojas Valencia’s road movie “Root”; Brazilian Hilton Lacerda’s 1978 anarchist-erotic cabaret-set “Tattoo,” which won five plaudits at the Rio Fest last October; and Spaniard Isabel Ayguavives’ expansive family reunion drama, “The Magnetic Tree.”
“2013 has been a stellar year for Ibero-American films,” said Hebe Tabachnik, PSIFF Ibero-American programmer.
“We have seen the emergence of new voices coming out not only from some countries in Latin America for the first time, but also from new regions within those countries. 2013 brought captivating stories and also revealed new pieces of these countries’ history,” she added.
“I have no doubt the competition will be fierce. The program is extraordinary in the quantity and above all in the quality of selected films,” said Ivan Trujillo Bolio, director of the Guadalajara Festival and a Cine Latino Award jury member with Variety’s chief Latin American writer Anna Marie de la Fuente and composer Emilio Kauderer who scored the Academy Award-winning “The Secret in Their Eyes.”
The Palm Springs Festival runs Jan. 3-13.
PALM SPRINGS 2014 CINE LATINO AWARD COMPETITION
“Anina,” (Alfredo Soderguit, Uruguay, Colombia)
“Coast of Death,” (Lois Patino, Spain)
“Gloria (Sebastian Lelio, Chile, Spain)
“Grazing the Sky,” (Horacio Alcala, Spain, Portugal, Mexico)
“Heli,”(Amat Escalante, Mexico, Germany, Netherlands, France),
“Ignasi M,” (Ventura Pons, Spain)
“La jaula de oro,” (Diego Quemada Diez, Mexico, Spain),
“Last Call,” (Francisco Franco, Mexico)
“Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed,” (David Trueba, Spain)
“Purgatorio,” (Rodrigo Reyes, Mexico, U.S.)
“Rabbit Woman,” (Veronica Chen, Argentina, Spain)
“Reaching for the Moon,” (Bruno Barreto, Brazil)
“Roa,” (Andres Baiz, Colombia, Argentina)
“Root,” (Matias Rojas Valencia, Chile)
“Tattoo,” (Hilton Lacerda, Brazil)
“The German Doctor,” (Lucia Puenzo, Argentina)
“The Magnetic Tree,” (Isabel Ayguavives, Spain, Chile)
“El mudo,” (Daniel and Diego Vega, Peru, France, Mexico)
“The Searches,” (Jose Luis Valle, Mexico)
“The Summer of Flying Fish,” (Marcela Said, Chile, France)