Colombia’s Bogota, Latin America’s fourth biggest city, is energetically re-launching its Bogota Intl. Film Festival (BIFF), backed by a powerful broad-based industry alliance, including Caracol TV, RCN TV, Cine Colombia, the country’s biggest distribution/exhibition circuit, as well as Colombia’s directors and producers.
Former Bogota Audiovisual Market head Andres Bayona will serve as the new director-CEO at the rebooted BIFF, which will run Oct. 9-17, during students’ fall break. The new Bogota Intl. Film Festival will be officially launched at next week’s Cannes Festival.
Targeting Colombia’s youth audiences – the average age of Bogota’s inhabitants is around 25 – Bogota Fest Fest will highlight new directors, innovative features, reflecting cutting-edge trends and new technology and format works from Colombian creators, Bayona said.
Bogota’s ambitions are large: In a first place to create a first-class and world-class festival in line with other Bogota events.
“Bogotá is a city of eight million inhabitants with an average age of 25, a vibrant pluri-ethnic multi-cultural city with multiple important museums, several symphonic orchestras, galleries, book-stories, FITBO, the most important theater festival in the world and artBO, one of Latin America’s most important contemporary art fairs,” said Bayona.
Secondly, supported by key Bogota institutions – Invest in Bogota, the Bogota Chamber of Commerce – the fest re-launches as Colombia’s upscale film scene begins to build. Cine Colombia, for example, launched an arthouse division seven years ago, runs an arthouse multiplex in Bogota, is building a second in Cali.
BIFF is positioning as part of this build, seen it own national cinema which this year has three titles at Cannes:
“The Bogota Intl. Film Festival will be take risks with its programming, highlight films whose themes and contents interest a young public, educate and attract new audiences, increasing the demand for this kind of programming in cinema theaters and television networks in the country.”
A further ambition: To become, in the space of a decade, the most important and recognized festival in the region, and for BIFF to become a destination event for the international film industry, Bayona said.
Aiding this, Bayona is one of Colombia’s most internationally connected film execs as the longtime project director and international markets coordinator at Colombia state agency Proimagenes.
Further members of the BIFF selection committee are highly-respected fest programmers and distributors well liked in the international industry community: Rebeca Conget, former VP acquisitions, distribution at U.S. international arthouse distributor Film Movement; Javier Martin, the Berlin Fest programmer for much of Latin America; Cannes Critics’ Week delegate Raymond Phathanavirangoon and before that a longtime Fortissimo Films exec.
Per Bayona, international companies which have manifested their support for the re-set Bogota Fest include sales agents –Coproduction Office, Alpha Violet, Beta Cinema, Latido Films – plus key state agencies in Europe – UniFrance, the British Council, German Films, among many – and in Latin America: INCAA, Imcine, Cinema do Brasil – essential for the presence of international talent and movies.
Fest reps an early initiative at Bayona’s Transit Entertainment, launched in November and a cultural industry event, services and consultancy company.