‘Wild Tales,’ Patricio Guzman Take Fenix Special Awards

Filmoteca Española, Jorge Ayala Blanco among other Special Awards winners

MORELIA – Damian Szifron’s “Wild Tales” and Chile’s Patricio Guzman count among winners of the 2nd Fenix Special Film Awards, announced this week at Mexico’s Morelia Festival at a party attended by, among others, Isabelle Huppert, Morelia Fest president Alejandro Ramirez and director Daniela Michel.

Fenix kudos celebrate the films and industry professionals of Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Further plaudits will go to Spain’s Filmoteca Española and vet Mexican film writer Jorge Ayala Blanco.

An initiative of promotion org Cinema23, whose members include Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, the 2nd Fenix Ibero-American Film Awards ceremony will take place Nov. 25 in Mexico City.

A breakout B.O. juggernaut in its native Argentina, Szifron’s “Wild Tales” has won the Fenix Exhibitors Award, chosen by five of Latin America’s principal cinema chains: Cineopolis, Cinecolombia, Cinemark, Cineplex and Cines Unidos.

Little wonder. In its industrial conception, “Wild Tales” has helped break in a new model for Latin American promotion: A powerful co-production between drivers of prestige international film production – Argentina’s K & S, The Almodovar-brothers El Deseo and Telefonica Studios, via Telefe; muscular promotion in its home territory via broadcaster Telefe; and a first class big festival platform: Cannes Competition. Grossing $17.5 million in Argentina, “Wild Tales” helped Argentina punched a 17.8% national market share in 2014, a modern record,

Distributed throughout Ibero-America – and in France – by Warner Bros. “Wild Tales” also became one of the very few recent Latin American titles that broke out to seven-figure dollar B.O. in multiple territories outside its country of origin: $4.4 million in Spain $1.1 million in Brazil. Only two or three Ibero-American films achieve such figures each year.

Guzman has won the Fenix Career Achievement Award. The doyen of Latin American documentary filmmakers, from 1973’s cine verité pioneer “The Battle of Chile” through 1997’s “Chile, Obstinate Memory,” 2010’s “Nostalgia For the Light” and 2015’s “The Pearl Button,” Guzman has pursued a passion for Chile’s preservation of a collective memory of the past before it disappears, and a huge sympathy for the history of its losers.

“Nostalgia For the Light” won Best Documentary at both 2010’s European Film Awards and at the 2011 DGA IDA Documentary Awards. Exploring hallmark Guzman themes – memory, the historical past, for example – transplanted to an extraordinary new context: Chile’s Western Patagonia Archipelago, Guzman’s 2015 feature “The Pearl Button” snagged best screenplay at Berlin.

A Fenix winner for its contribution to Ibero-American film culture, from 1953, through thick and thin, Spain’s Filmoteca Española has battled – briefly under Luis Berlanga, during recent decades under Chema Prado – to recuperate not only basic titles from its national film history but also a film record of the past.

Featuring among the largest achievements of the Filmoteca Español is the complete recuperation, digitization and documentation, in partnership with pubcaster RTVE, of 43 years of Spain’s weekly NO-DO newsreel, created by Francoist’s regime to screen before movies in cinema theaters; plus TV program/DVD “La guerra filmada,” an archive record of the Spanish Civil War, as seen from both sides.

A columnist in El Financiero from 1989, and critic for more than 50 years, Ayala Blanco wins the 2nd Critics’ Work Fenix Award, given by the Intl. Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci).

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