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San Sebastian: ‘Cambridge Squatter’ Wins Films in Progress

Elaine Caffe’s portrait of Sao Paulo homeless beats out strong competition

SAN SEBASTIAN – The welcome fillip of major awards at major 2015 fests – Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Venice – for Latin American cinema played out over San Sebastian’s 2015 Films in Progress where screening wee packed and distributors circled several titles. Sales agents pick-up deals look set to go down on three-or more, maybe one-or two before fest ends.

In kudos stakes, “The Cambridge Squatter,” Eliane Caffé’s portrayal of Sao Paulo’s homeless – their joys, dramas, divergences, and constant fear of eviction – won the Industry Award at San Sebastian’s pix-in-post showcase Films in Progress, one of fest’s main industry attractions.

Award reps vindication for Brazil’s Caffé, whose movies have grabbed major awards at big Brazilian fests such as Rio de Janeiro, where “The Midday Sun” won actor (Luiz Carlos Vasconcelos, Chico Diaz) and actress (Claudia Assunçao) and now have a major industry plaudit at San Sebastian.

“We believe that ‘The Cambridge Squatter’ is a transformative work of important social aspects, with the power to inspire people from all over the world,” Caffé said.

Produced by André Montenegro at Aurora Filmes, and with dialogue in six languages, movie has been made in collaboration with social activist groups.

The Industry Award marks yet another triumph at the Spanish fest, the biggest event in the Spanish-speaking world, for Paris-based Edgard Tenembaum at Tu Vas Voir, “The Motorcycle Diaries” producer, who won San Sebastian’s 2nd Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum in 2013 with Cuban Pavel Giroud’s “The Companion” and snagged acclaim and a sales agent (Film Factory) at 2014’s Films in Progress with Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixcanul” which went on to garner Berlin’s Alfred Bauer Award and sell worldwide.

“The Cambridge Squatter” shut out a powerful Chilean trio of “Much Ado About Nothing,” from Sundance winner Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, Marialy Rivas “Princess,” produced by the Larrain brothers Fabula, and Pepa San Martin’s “Rara.”

No matter: Though still far from a final cut, “Much Ado,” already picked up by Film Factory, sparked large distributor interest. On “Princess” and “Rara,” it looks like just a question of who will snag world sales rights, not if they’ll see a pick-up.

The 28th Films in Progress ran at San Sebastian Sept. 21-23.

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