SAN SEBASTIAN — In a triple triumph for Argentina, Javier Van De Couter’s “7:35 am,” Maura Delpero’s “Hogar” and Juan Pablo Felix’s “Malambo King” won the top plaudits at the San Sebastian Festival’s 5th Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum, now firmly established as a key meet for producers on both sides of the Atlantic working the fertile axis between the two regions.
Produced and co-written by Anahi Berneri, a distinguished director in her own right, whose “Aire Libre” played in competition at 2014’s San Sebastian, “7:35 am” marks the second feature from Van De Couter, a co-scribe on “Aire Libre.”
Set up at Varsovia Films, the film company Berneri heads up with Diego Dubcovsky, Daniel Burman’s producing partner for 20 years, it turns on one of the major current themes of Latin American cinema: Violence.
“7:35 am” refers to the time on Sept. 28, 2004 when a 15-year-old walked into a classroom in Carmen de Patagones, some 600 miles south of Buenos Aires, drew a handgun and shot dead four classmates, wounding five more. Set 12 years later, “7:35 am” follows two of the school massacre survivors, one with scars, another with a bullet in one lung, as they attempt to track down the attacker. “The film is a journey which may bring some relief, and asks the questions: Why did he do it? Why them? Why him?” Van De Couter commented.
“This is a journey of reconciliation, to try to fin a certain peace. A metaphor for Argentina? It’s more about thinking about the future than reconciling oneself with the past,” Berneri added..
Lead-produced by Nico Avruj and Diego Lerman’s Buenos Aires-based Campo Cine, producer of all Lerman’s movies, “Hogar” won two awards, the Arte International Prize, adjudicated by Arte France Cinema, its French co-production arm and offering €5,000 ($5,500) to the project’s lead producer; and a special mention from the Co-Production Best Project Award jury.
Co-produced by Italy’s Vivo Film (“Le Quattro Volte”) and Dispàrte. “Hogar” has already tapped coin from an Argentina-Italy bilateral development fund. Set at “Hogar,” a Buenos Aires home for teen mothers, Delpero’s film explores various forms of female desire: One inmate’s longing for a boy outside the home, and the birth of maternal instinct in a young Italian nun who looks after the this teen mother’s baby when she escapes to see her boyfriend.
“The intensity of adolescence plus motherhood all in the same body, this is a problem,” Delpero said when presenting the project Monday at the Co-production Forum.
The first feature of Argentina’s Juan Pablo Felix, “Malambo King” took home a new prize: the Efads-Caci Europe-Latin America Co-Production Grant, worth $22,000 and given by the powerful associations of European and Latin American public film agencies respectively.
Set up at Argentina’s Bikini Films, the movie underscored how even a debut can now command strong co-production support, “Malambo King” hitting San Sebastian with strong partners: Veronica Cura’s Utopia Group in Argentina, Santiago Segura’s Bowfinger Intl. Pictures in Spain, and France’s Melocoton Film.
Part road-movie, part father-daughter family drama, “Malambo King” turns on a con who gains a permit to leave jail for a few days to visit his daughters, but uses it to stage a highway hold-up.
His daughters, however young, are far better without him, they finally decide, positioning “Malambo King” as a film which talks about the generation disconnect between parents and their children – a major focus of movies this year at San Sebastian.
Said Felix: “This is a universal story about the value of a paternal model-figure which existed in society, and how today it is being reinterpreted, as the generational gap has moreover opened up.”
Emiliano de Pablos contributed to this article