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Gael Garcia Bernal Starrer ‘Eva No Duerme’ Tops Toulouse Films in Progress

French Fest also prizes “From Afar,” Venezuelan Lorenzo Vigas’ debut

Building its credentials for a berth at Cannes or another major fest, Pablo Aguero’s “Eva No Duerme” (Eva Doesn’t Sleep), a chronicle of the 25-year odyssey of Eva Peron’s embalmed corpse, took top honors at France’s Toulouse CineLatino Festival’s Films in Progress, which also prized “From Afar,” Venezuelan Lorenzo Vigas’ directorial debut.

A pics-in-post showcase, taking place twice-a-year at Toulouse and San Sebastian, the 27th Films in Progress ran March 26-27.

Aguero’s third feature, after his debut, “Salamandra,” screened at Cannes’ 2008 Directors’ Fortnight and “77 Doronship” at the 15th Films in Progress and San Sebastian’s New Directors section, “Eva No Duerme” won both the Toulouse Films in Progress Prize and the Cine Plus Films in Progress Special Prize:

“Far Away” took awards from Mactari and Titra TVS, Europa Distribution, the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) and the Cannes Festival’s Producers’ Network.

Starring Gael Garcia Bernal as the infamous Admiral Emilio Massera, who rose in the ranks to mastermind Argentina’s Dirty War, “Eva No Duerme” was always a frontrunner for Toulouse kudos, given the pedigree of its director and production team and its remarkable though resonant story. A remarkable chapter in historical surrealism asking why Peron stirred such incendiary reactions, it starts in 1952 when Eva Peron addresses the thronging masses, claiming she will return “alive or dead,” and then promptly dies.

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It also takes in the corpse’s journey to Italy and Spàin and doesn’t end until Massera finally officially buries Evita after the Junta’s 1976 coup d’etat — under six meters of cement. That, Aguero claims, made Evita the first person to disappear under the dictatorship.

Backed by a powerful producer combo – France’s JBA, and Spain’s Tornasol Films and Buenos Aires’ Haddock Films, the companies behind Juan Jose Campanella’s Oscar-winning “The Secret in the Eyes” – “Evita No Duerme” reps the latest from a rising star of Argentina’s seemingly bottomless well of new talent. “Far Away’s” plaudits recognize a first-time director whose film’s main claim to fame when in production was that it marked the first outing outside his native Chile of Alfredo Castro, star or co-star of all Pablo Larrain’s movies, including “Tony Manero” and “Post Mortem,” “No” and Berlin 2015 Grand Jury Winner “The Club.” Castro plays a dentist, who was abandoned by his father and one night takes home a small-time thug.

Awarded to “Eva No Duerme” by French pay TV giant Canal Plus’ movie channel bouquet, the Cine Plus Films in Progress Special Prize offers a $15,000 pay TV rights pickup which, if picked up for theatrical distribution, goes to the distributor in France of “Eva No Duerme.”

Toulouse’s Films in Progress Prize includes a grant from France’s CNC film board for post-production work, and subtitling, DCP duplication and –in a sign of the times – – the preparation of an iTunes or Google Play package from Titra TVS. Mactari offers €15,000 of sound-mix and editing, Firefly color correction software, Commune Image 10 days of calibration, Eaux Vives four weeks of post-production coordination.

France’s CCAS will cover five weeks in Paris for Aguero to complete “Eva Doesn’t Sleep” or promote it in France.

Teaming for an Exceptional Prize, Mactari and Titra is offering the same services to “Far Away” as to “Eva Doesn’t Sleep.” The International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE), an arthouse association, will promote “From Afar” among its 2,000 cinema members.

Cannes Market’s Producers Network, a training and networking initiative, has extended two invites to the producers of all six films in the Films in Progress lineup. Europa Distribution has committed to promote the film to its 125 indie distributor members; CICAE will send information to its about 2,000 cinema theater manager rank-and-file.

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