GUADALAJARA – Sebastian Schindel’s “El Patron” (The Boss), a movie that lifts the lid on Argentina’s butchers’ business, swept five awards Wednesday at Guadalajara’s 8th Films in Progress, a pix-in-post showcase.
Sergio Mazza’s “The Kid” and Tata Amaral’s “Bring It Inside” also scored multiple plaudits in a competition where seven of the eleven awards went to Argentina, a sign of the current strength of Argentine production.
The fiction feature debut of Schindel (pictured) – though he is well-known for the inspirational docu “Mundo Alas” – and 14 years from conception to rough cut, “The Boss,” a social issue drama with suspense elements, turns on how and especially why a humble country lad, played as a doe-eyed ingenue by Joaquin Furriel, a well-known TV actor, comes to run a butcher’s shop and ends up knifing his tyrannical boss to death.
Based on a true case, “The Boss” had an audience of sales agents and fest-heads creaming at scabrous details of what amounts to a beginner’s guide to butcher trade chicanery. (Rotten meat? Serve it in breaded cutlets, a more seasoned butcher recommends).
An expose of modern slavery, “The Boss” won prizes from Boogieman Media – key art graphic design for its promotion, also offered to “Bring It Inside” – Color Space (initial and final credit rolls, plus VFX, such as for breath condensation in the butcher’s coldroom), plus a trailer from Fix Comunicacion, 80 hours of digital mixing at Labo Digital and the offer of a $15,000 minimum guarantee for international sales rights, from Habanero Film Sales.
“It’s the most commercial project of the lot; it’s also timely as it deals with the theme of modern slavery,” said Habanero’s Alfredo Calvino.
Set in the singular flatlands of Argentina’s Entre Rios that yield natural metaphors for the film’s characters – boats beached up on dry land, a countryside littered with wreckage, scrap and stray dogs – “The Kid” turns on the endeavors of a plucky 10-year-old to find a place to live for his baby sister and himself, as his mother lays dying.
“The Kid” pulled down one of the best prizes of the night – $10,000 with no strings attached from HBO Latin America – plus subtitling from Titra California.
Sleekly shot in a modern Brazil with seemingly little interest in its recent past, and a big-screen makeover of Amaral’s four-part mini TV series of the same title, made for Brazil’s TV Cultura, “Bring” turns on a dramatist, once part of the armed resistance against Brazil’s military dictatorship, who stages a play to recall his past experiences.
Famed for her Fernando Meirelles-produced girls band saga “Antonia,” “Bring” also won $5,000 from HBO Latin America, plus post-production worth 500,000 pesos ($38,000) from Estudios Churubusco America.
Winner of Work in Progress at November’s Vina del Mar Festival in Chile, and a study in female derangement, “The Woman of the Cape” won $25,000 worth of color correction from Chemistry Cine.
Chilean Alfonso Gazitua’s second fiction feature after “Rey de San Gregorio,” it turns on a shy seamstress’s slippage towards madness, a victim of guilt, unrequited love and, above all, solitude, exacerbated by a village’s religious festival.
Only one Mexican title made the six-pic cut: Jorge Bidault’s “Con el alma en una pieza: La leyenda de El Personal,” a vision of one of Guadalajara’s most celebrated counter-culture fusion bands.
“It makes me wonder if it’’s because there are too many festivals offering post-production incentives in Mexico, said Andres Martinez-Rios, director of Chemistry, listing Guadalajara, Morelia, Guanajuato, Riviera Maya and Cabos.
Guadalajara’s Films in Progress ran March 25-26.
Anna Marie de la Fuente contributed to this article