Jimena Montemayor’s “Wind Traces,” Nathalia Isabel Orozco’s “When the Guns Go Silent” and “Intimate Julia,” from Karina Minujin, were among six winners at the Guadalajara Festival’s 11th Co-production Meeting, one of its most important industry events.
Notably, of the six feature film projects, five were directed or co-helmed by women, a sign of how they are beginning to play a somewhat more significant role – outside Argentina, already notable for its notable distaff directors – in Latin American countries’ national cinemas.
Of the victors, four will be first-time feature directors, if their films lift off. Three winning directors have studied or live abroad, another sign of Latin America’s newest cinema’s globalization. Many of the projects register or analyze the impact of sweeping historical change on individuals in a continent where, economic growth notwithstanding, people rarely feel masters of their fate.
A graduate of Mexico’s Centro de Captación Cinematográfica (CCC) – whose alums and lecturers include Rodrigo Prieto, Jorge Michel Grau, Rodrigo Pla and Maria Novaro, – who studied at the Prague Film and TV School and was d.p. on Elisa Miller’s Palme d’Or winning short “Ver llover,” Montemayor’s “Wind Traces” won the Churubusco Prize, worth Pesos 500,000-1,500,000 ($32,438-$97,314) in co-production equity from the Mexico City studios.
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Montemayor’s follow-up to “En la sangre,” seen at Locarno’s Carte Blanche, “Wind Traces” turns on the impact of a father’s sudden death on his two children. Told by their mother that their father will return, the seven-year-old son imagines the father coming back as a cadaver.
Set up at Mexico’s Conejo Media and Varios Lobos Producciones, producer of Cannes Atelier-selected “The Darkness,” “Wind Traces” is “a film about the impact [of sudden death] on a young generation, the lack of communication and words to talk about death with children, Montemayor told Variety, adding that the children, “thanks to their resilience, transit mourning better than an adult, here the mother. It’s a story about how death can be an injection of life,” she said, noting both “The Spirit of the Beehive” and “Raise Ravens” as references.
Penetrating the inside world of the FARC guerrilla high-command – not usual at all in media coverage – “Guns” interviews its military strategist Comandante Pablo Catatumbo, as FARC faces ongoing demobilization. “Guns” marks the first feature of Orozco Rojas, who studied at the Sorbonne. It nabbed up to Pesos350,000 ($22,700) worth of services from Equipment & Film Design.
Marina Fonseca, who is developing Minujin’s “Intimate Julia” for Argentina’s Red Kimono, describes the film as a drama with romance and thriller elements. 1989-set, and the Co-pro Meeting’s LCI Seguros prize winner, “Intimate Julia” turns on young woman, still in her teens, who discovers the man she cleans for is a Romanian erotic novelist and opposition leader, living in hiding in Buenos Aires. That arouses her, but unleashes the writer’s inner demons.
Set in the same year – it may or may not be a coincidence that cineastes are finding inspiration in another turbulent time of period of historical change, “1989,” from Toronto-based Cubans Sebastian and Rodrigo Barriuso, at Creative Artisans Media, won a MEETS Co-production Prize. Based on true events, a follows a Russian literature lecturer who begins to translate for Chernobyl radiation patients treated in La Habana.
“1989” “talks mostly about not taking things for granted, and how life can change so drastically within seconds and our personal bubbles (the life that we live for ourselves) can disappear,” said co-director Sebastian Barriuso told Variety, saying that “1989” also suggests “how important it is for people less fortunate to feel supported when life can be threatening.”
Five of the six Co-production Meeting’s victors could in one way or another be described as based on true events. Winningly singular in its focus, “Static Miracle” is a documentary on buildings in Cuba – and their inhabitants – that should by all rights have fallen down. Helmed by Cuba’s Noelia Lacayo and Gustavo Vinagre, “Miracle” scooped the Meeting’s New Art Digital Award, the equivalent of Pesos 680,000 ($44,116) in post-production services.
Receiving an honorable mention, “Where Things Remain,” from Guadalajara’s own Daniela Silva Solorzano, is a docu-portrait of Jalisco fossil-collector Federico Solorzano, her grandfather.