MADRID — Adrian Garcia Bogliano’s anticipated “Svart Circle” (Black Circle), Jimena Monteoliva solo directorial debut “Clementina” and Emilio’s Portes’ “Belzebuth” feature in Blood Window’s 2016 Work in Progress, one of Latin America’s most important genre movie showcases.
Curated by Jose Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Festival, this year’s Work In Progress is a case in point. Traditionally six, the number of titles, now rise to eight. In a further innovation, four of the WIP titles will be screened in 10-minute excerpts. That has practical considerations, allowing Blood Window to spread the net wider, accessing iconic or higher-quality titles some months off their first rough-cut.
But it is also a sign of the times.
“Latin America combines two unique narrative traditions,” Telefe film production head Axel Kuschevatsky writes in the “Manual de Cine de Genero,” an essay series on Latin Americam genre presented last December at Ventana Sur. He added: “We belong to a region where literature and social cinema are a fundamental part of our epics, stories, and we have inherited from Europe a passion for pure genre.”
That said, Argentina’s genre industry is a “relatively new phenomenon that burst onto the scene over the last decade,” writes the “Manual’s” co-author Carina Rodriguez 28 Argentine genre movies were made last century vs. 150 since 2000, she adds. That ramp-up us repeated over Latin America.
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The huge technological leap of the past decade, seen in digital cameras and cheap post-production software have paved the way for filmmakers yearning to shoot films without any government financing, said Uruguay’s Fede Alvarez, whose “Evil Dead” and “Don’t Breathe” both bowed No. 1 in U.S. box office charts.
So Blood Window’s WIP illustrates two trends: Hiked ambition of genre veterans, leveraging their cache and kudos to plunge into out-of-the-box international co-production (Adrian Garcia Bogliano) or a move into move into English-language production (Emilio Portes) with one eye on the increasingly permeable U.S. SVOD market; Latin America’s seemingly bottomless well of new genre talent as the film type has often become the new arthouse, fearing questions of gender violence (Monteolivo) and professional over-achievement (Garcia Bogliano). “
“Being a fan of the horror genre, I always try to use it as a springboard for themes that I’m interested in portraying,” Garcia Bogliano told Screen Anarchy, confirming “Black Circle,” which reps one of the biggest career departures for the ever evolving Garcia Bogliano, whose Spanish-language “Here Comes the Devil” was a 2012 Austin Fantastic Fest five-prize winner.
His career has been built on delivering auteur-ist twists to a bouquet of sub-genres. Here he embarks on a personal take on a national genre cinema: Sweden’s. “Svart Cirkel” (Black Circle) is a Swedish-language supernatural thriller produced by Mexico’s Salto de Fe Films, Bogliano’s label with Andrea Quiroz Hernandez. It is also backed by Joshua Sobel’s L.A.-based F, as well as Sweden’s Klubb Super 8 and Solid Ent., Mikko Aromaa’s Tenebrae Enterprises from Finland and the U.K.’s Mondo Macabro (“A Field in England”). Turning on two sisters subjected to hypnosis using a mysterious 1970s vinyl album, it co-stars Swedish icon Christina Lindberg, Quentin Tarantino’s inspiration for “Kill Bill,” through her role in 1973 Swedish cult classic “They Call Her One-Eye.” Garcia Bogliano, Sobel and Aromaa – also director of Night Visions, Scandinavia’s biggest genre film festival – will present the film and talk afterwards about the challenges of making a multi-national genre production, said Incaa’s Javier Fernandez, who oversees Blood Window.
A classic Antichrist’s coming scarefest set on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, spoken in an English/Spanish mix and starring Tobin Bell, “Saw’s” Jigsaw, and Mexico’s Joaquin Cosio (“Quantum of Solace”), “Belzebuth” features renegade priests and the slaughter of innocent children presaging the Antichrist’s arrival. Mexico’s Emilio Portes whose action comedy ”Pastoral” swept three Ariel Awards in 2012, directs his third feature.
It is, however, the slew of new or still young talent, making their feature debuts or the latest in a string of very recent titles, which remains the dominant trend of this year’s Work in Progress. Of the nine directors helming horror shorts for “Barbarous Mexico II,” five have made features – ”Lex Ortega (“Atrocious”), Diego Cohen (“Honeymoon”), Fernando Urdapilleta (“Los reyes del juego”), Christian Cueva (“Jiron”) and Carlos Melendez (“Hysteria”) – but none before 2010. Indeed, only two directors in the whole of WIP’s 16 talents – Garcia Bogliano and Portes – were jobbing features directors last decade.
Also screening in WIP, “Clementina” marks the solo feature debut of Argentina’s Jimena Monteoliva, a production manager on Pablo Trapero’s Cannes Competition player “Lion’s Den” and longtime producer of Tamae Garateguy (“Pompeya,” “She Wolf, which played Austin’s SXSW and Fantastic Fest), as well as Nicanor Loreti’s “Kryptonite,” a cult Argentine superhero movie. Monteoliva also co-directed with Garateguy “All Night Long,” a standout at Mar del Plata’s 2015 Midnight Screamings. Set up at Crudo Films, “Clementina” turns on a woman who’s in shock at the loss of her baby due to her husband’s batterings. Clementina’s trauma causes her to see ghosts. Or maybe they’re for real.
From Chile’s Jorge Mella Navarro, another WIP title, “The Gravity of the Pugilist” is a horror-laced procedural, turning on a boxer who discovers a corpse at the end of a tunnel. WIP also features excerpts from “Fleshless,” directed by Mexico’s Mario Alberto Roman and Venezuela’s “Infection,” from Flavio Pedota, plus a screening of “Y, Abrazame” (Then, Hug Me), an Argentine indie production helmed by Javier Roa.