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Guadalajara: ‘Goddesses,’ ‘Sites,’ ‘Vogulys,’ among DOCTV Latin America winners

Initiative celebrates its 10th anniversary

“Twilight of the Goddesses,” “The Site of Sites” and “Vogulys” are among the 17 documentary winners of the Latin American DOCTV program, now in its fifth year of operations. 

DOCTV program marks a strategic alliance between the state film-TV agencies and pubcasters of Latin America.

Among the winners, Colombia’s title, Lukas Jaramillo Ortiz’s “Vogulys” turns on a singular magician, inventor, matchmaker and accordionist. Vogulys also set up Colombia’s oldest dating agency.

The chosen doc from Dominican Republic is Oriol Estrada and Natalia Cabral’s “The Site of Sites,” about the building of a luxurious resort on a paridisiacal shoreline close to a fishing village; its inhabitants becomes workers and cleaning staff for the resort’s guests, who are searching for happiness.

Carlos Mignon’s “Twilight of the Goddesses,” from Mexico, turns on two siblings who attempt to regain a relationship after one falls seriously ill.

The DOCTV program consists of a documentary project from each one of the seventeen countries included in the network of contributing countries, which, once produced, are air on 21 member pubcasters in Latin America.

Colombia’s Ministry of Culture was appointed as the fifth yearly organizer of DOCTV. Selected projects -most of them in production- are announced at Guadalajara, where members will also discuss their official broadcast launch.

Interestingly, six out of seventeen selected docs suggest different approaches to the concept of happiness. Aside rom “Sites,” Argentine Hernán Fernández’s “Unarmed” explores the meaning of contemporary happiness through interviews and the story of a family that suffered the assassination of their son; Patricia Velásquez Guzmán’s “The Shadow of Naranjo,” from Costa Rica, turns on the big changes, challenges and aspirations of Costa Rica over the last four decades; Marcel Beltrán’s “Hands of Father,” a Cuban documetary, portrays a mature couple examining their relationship, both their personal achievements and sacrifices over many years; Omar Camilo Ramos’ “La mujer maravilla sobre ruedas,” a Puerto Rican doc, follows a woman suffering from a stroke who determiners to enjoy life. Finally, Marcelo Martinessi’s “Apyka,” from Paraguay, investigates the happiness, or lack of, of the Guarani people.

DOCTV originated as a local initiative in Brazil in 2003 backed by the Audiovisual Department of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, a Brazil pubcaster , the Public Television Network and Brazil’s Association of Documentary Makers. Later the CACI, the umbrella organization of Ibero-American state film and TV boards, decided to expand these objectives to the entire region. Under the guidance of Brazil’s ANCINE, a first DOCT Ibero-American program operated over 2005-07. 

“When DOCTV Latin America started, it included 13 countries; today in its fifth edition, DOCTV is a network with 17 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela– and 21 pubcasters. In these ten years, DOCTV has consolidated as the most important program for documentary production and for the next edition, we expect the re-incorporation of Chile,” said Consuelo Castillo DOCTV project coordinator.

The selected project from Uruguay is José Pedro Charlo Filipovich’s “Los de siempre,” where a group of neighbors gathers to sing in a chorus in a humble suburb of Montevideo. Their passion contrasts with their ordinary lives; Ana Endara Mislov’s “La felicidad del sonido,” from Panama, portrays an imaginary map of sounds from people, a radio, animals. Also in a musical vein, Soledad Domínguez’ “El cielo que habitamos” a Bolivia docu, shows how a popular musical band from the Bolivian highlands deals with its harsh life conditions. Nicaraguan José Wheelock’s “1, 2, 3 a bailar” explores the dance world in different forms –through a dance teacher and a dance school for handicapped people.

Maria Pereira’s “Historias de descuido” from Brazil, depicts six teenagers living from borderline crime. In Peruvian Nelson García Miranda’s “Entre palos y risas,” a conflictive area village cop develops a second activity, turnin into a clown to entertain ill children.

Through its ten years of life, DOCTV has invested $5 million in documentaries. 58 have been produced and aired. All of them are “documentaries that tell us about the Latin-American history, becoming part of the memory of our continent,” Castillo said.

Other docus selected in this edition are Daniel Pérez Brito’s “7 muros” (Ecuador), an autobiographical musing on the meaning of walls; Hugo Koper’s “El tabal de Sololá” (Guatemala), on a Guatemalan centennial tradition enacting the expelling of the devil from the lives of a community; and Mohamed Hussain’s “Sembradores de agua,” (Venezuela) about a Venezuelan Andes people need for and redistribution of water.

“I think that documakers are looking for new ways to interpret reality. There’s a strong trend in telling us about their personal lives, with a bigger presence of the family, the search for often hidden secrets and new storytelling modes. All this signals the noteworthy status of current Latin-American documentaries,” Castillo concluded.

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