MARBELLA, Spain – Damian Szifron’s Oscar-nominated and Cannes competition player “Wild Tales” swept the 2nd Platino Awards for Latin American Cinema winning eight kudos in all, including best picture, director, screenplay, music (Gustavo Santaolalla) and actress, Erica Rivas, the scorned bride in the final short).
Best picture was accepted by Agustin Almodovar and Hugo Sigman who exhorted a larger collaboration between Iberoa-American film agencies to create a cinema in Latinn America, Spain and Portugal with greater international reach.
Presented by Spanish actor Imanol Arias, Mexican actress-singer Alessandra Rosario and CNN presenter Juan Carlos Arciniegas, the awards proved a triumphal march for “Wild Tales.” Of major plaudits, only best actor went elsewhere, – to Spain’s Oscar Jaenada for his performance as the great Mexican comic in “Cantinflas,” a performance so convincing that it won over most Mexicans and went on to become the second highest-grossing foreign film in the U.S. last year.
Produced by Argentina’s K & S Films, Pedro and Agustin Almodovar’s El Deseo in Spain, and Telefe-Telefonica Studios, and a Sony Pictures Classics U.S. pick-up, “Wild Tales” frames six tales of frustration, rage and hate. These explodes in acts of violent and sometimes blackly hilarious revenge – multiple murders, a bride having sex with a waiter at her own wedding (Rivas), a bombing – in a film where everybody is a victim, Szifron told Variety at the Platino Award, which unspooled in Marbella, southern Spain.
“There a sense of consumerism, of wasting so much time, of being dominated by a life which has been decided and people just have to fit in,” Szifron went on.
Of other plaudits, “Marshland” won cinematography (Alex Catalan) as well as Audience Awards for best picture and actor (Javier Gutierrez).
Ale Abreu’s “The Boy and the World,” an Annecy Animation Fest 2014 Grand Cristal winner and a Gkids U.S. acquisition, won best animation for the tale of a small child’s epic discovery of the modern world, told in often kaleidoscopic colors.
Best documentary went to “The Salt of the Earth,” directed by Wim Wenders and Julio Salagado Ribeiro, a documentary on the life journey of shutterbug Sebastian Salgado from early photos of indigenous communities in Latin America – the Saraguros of south Ecuador, peasant communities in Oaxaca, North Mexico’s Tarahamaras – to his magnum opus “Workers.”
In one award that will certainly shine more light on a little-known title, Venezuela-Spain co-pro “The Longest Distance,” helmed by Claudia Pinto, about a child whose mother is killed in a senseless act of violence in Caracas, won best first fiction feature.
In an overly serious ceremony, the comedy highlight was a mano a mano between Eugenio Derbez and Santiago Segura, locking horns in a mock argument about the virtues of Mexico and Spain, both simply underscoring their large comic talent.
Accepting his Honorary Platino Award from Rita Moreno, who looked extraordinary for her 83 years, and reminding the audience that he had acted in 14 Latin American movies, seven Mexican, Antonio Banderas said that it was only in Hollywood that he realized the power of Latinos.
“Though we all love our countries of origen, we can embrace the idea and pride of being Latinos, and vindicate our language in productions. Nobody will help us if we don’t help ourselves,” portraying himself as a maybe Quixotic figure.
Apart from Banderas, who arrived with girlfriend Nicole Kimpel, others hitting the red carpet included Moreno who won a supporting actress Academy Award for “West Side Story,” the Oscar-nominated Edward James Olmos, Guillermo Francella (“The Secret in Their Eyes”), Jordi Molla (“Elizabeth: The Golden Age”), Dario Grandinetti (“Talk to Her”) and Maribel Verdu (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”).
Though Latin America’s economic growth is decelerating, the 2nd Platino Awards catches Latin American cinema still on the rise.
Ibero-America’s film industry has been building for a long time. In Marbella, Lucrecia Cardoso, president of Argentina’s INCAA film-TV agency, pointed out that over 2009-14, more than 50% of INCAA-backed films, via its main subsidy lines, were international co-productions, with 24 countries in total.
“In terms of furthering co-production, promoting stories which involve the whole region, and creating a pan-regional star system, the Platino Award advance, consolidates and deepens this process,” Cardoso said.
The strength of Latin American production can be seen in the large talent at the Platino Awards which have scored prizes and plaudits at major fests but didn’t make the Platino final nomination cut: Brazilian Coimbra’s “A Wolf at the Door,” though actress Leandra Leal scored a best actress nom; Daniel y Diego Vega’s “El Mudo”; Javier Fuentes Leon’s “The Vanished Elephant.” If the American Academy Awards have more than five best picture nominations, so could the Platinos. There’s certainly enough talent in Latin America to justify that.
While higher-end Spanish movie production remains severely challenged by government countenanced piracy and a huge backlog in the payment of direct subsidies, bigger picture stats paint an at-least-in part buoyant picture of Latin America. Though down by 2.7% on 2013, aggregate 2014 production levels in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela still came in at 477 features in 2014, double 2006’s figure, per stats announced by the European Audiovisual Observatory at Cannes.
Some 2015 stats revealed at the Platino Awards are encouraging, however. Awaiting some of its biggest 2015 plays – Pablo Trapero’s “The Clan,” Cesc Gay’s “Truman,” Daniel Burman’s “The King of Once” – Argentine films’ domestic market share to date is around 11%, thanks to adolescence-themed “Abzurdah,” “No Kids,” “Paulina,” “Socio por accidente,” as Argentina punched 25 million admissions first half 2015, a record since 1986, Cardoso said.
National film share might not break Argentina’s 2014 17.8% modern record, driven by “Wild Tales,” but should be significantly up on the average for years before 2013 when Argentina’s national share rose to 15%, she observed.
“Argentina’s production section is growing, and making films at a higher scale and ambition,” she added by way of explanation.
The Platino Awards are fast consolidating, adding four new technical categories, and were broadcast live by Spanish pubcaster RTVE and TNT Latin America, guaranteeing wider TV reach than last year. They are still, also, a Work in Progress. Their main challenge is the reason why they were invented: the lack off distribution, so knowledge of movies from Ibero-America outside their country of origin. That, however, is a paradox that the Awards, and production at a still greater scale, may well solve.
2ND PLATINO AWARDS FOR IBERO-AMERICAN CINEMA, JULY 18, 2015 MARBELLA, SPAIN
“Wild Tales,” (Damián Szifron, Argentina, Spain)
Gustavo Santaolalla, (“Wild Tales,” Argentina, Spain)
Oscar Jaenada, (“Cantinflas,” Mexico)
Erica Rivas (“Wild Tales,” Argentina, Spain)
BEST ANIMATED FILM
“The Boy and the World,” (Ale Abreu, Brazil)
“The Salt of the Earth,” (Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado , France, Italy, Brazil)
FIRST FICTION FEATURE
“The Longest Distance,” (Claudia Pinto , Spain, Venezuela)
Damián Szifron, Pablo Barbieri, (“Wild Tales”)
Clara Notari, (“Wild Tales”)
Alex Catalán, (“Marshland,” Spain)
José Luis Díaz, (“Wild Tales”)
HONORARY PLATINO AWARD
AUDIENCE AWARD: BEST PICTURE
“Marshland” (Alberto Rodriguez, Spain)
AUDIENCE AWARD: ACTOR
Javier Gutierrez (“Marshland”)
AUDIENCE AWARD: ACTRESS
Erica Rivas (“Wild Tales,” Argentina, Spain)