SANFIC: ‘Penal Cordillera,’ ‘Los Colonos,’ ‘The Monster Within’ Make Santiago Lab Forum Cut

Projects should a build in genre, women’s empowerment movies

Felipe Carmona’s “Penal Cordillera,” Felipe Galvez’s “Los Colonos” and Rodrigo Susarte’s “The Monster Within” are three of the 20 fiction feature projects which will be pitched at next week’s Santiago Lab in Chile, the Santiago Intl. Film Festival’s major industry forum for feature film projects.

In a major departure, for the first time, the Lab has opened up from just Chilean projects to titles from the whole of Ibero-America – Latin America, Spain and Portugal.

In one of building links between two powerhouse nations in Latin American arthouse movie production, Chile’s Felipe Carmona, a playwright-director, is teaming with Argentine talent-to-track Alejandro Fadel – director of Cannes 2012 Critics’ Week ACID prize winner “The Wild Ones” and co-scribe of Pablo Trapero’s “Lion’s Den,” “Carancho” and “White Elephant” – to write the screenplay of “Penal Cordillera,” which is set up at Chile’s Cinestación and El Otro Film.

Based on true events, “Penal Cordillera” turns on the last stand by five Pinochet army generals, his most murderous torturers, to avoid at any cost their transfer from a luxury prison in the Andes foothills. Framing a “strong and political point-of-view, said Cinestación producer Omar Zuñiga, “Penal Cordillera” tips into horror as the former-torturers’ decision to fight oblivion reawakens their monstrosity – and a nightmarish atmosphere in the prison.

Felipe Galvez’s anti-Western, which won as a project at a hard-fought Mar del Plata LoboLab competition in 2015, and is now produced by Giancarlo Nasi, chronicles how Chile’s South was won, via the epic story of three men sent to massacre any indigenous population which put up resistance. Sweeping in setting, themes and character arcs, “Los Colonos” is based on a real 1895 investigation into human rights abuse in southern Chile, a violent and revisionist picture of Chile’s own colonial past and, via a second part, set in 1913, its official version. History, say “Los colonos’” makers, is a 2fiction constructed from massacres and lies.”

Produced by Forastero (“The Maid,” “Aurora”) and directed by Rodrigo Susarte (“Ventana”) and written by Valeria Hofmann (“Attitude Test”), “The Monster Within” follows a cop who is transferred with his daughter to a benighted town in Chile’s South, an epicenter of terrorist attacks, and is given the case of a cult killing. The project was presented at Austin’s Fantastic Market, then Berlin’s Co-production Market this year.

Used by established international producers based out of Chile and beyond down to far less experienced players, the Lab allows for a larger picture of industry trends coursing through the cutting-edge of movies in development.

One is genre, present in “Penal Cordillera” and “The Monster Within,” encouraged by SANFIC which gives an especial focus to genre, and developed by a largely young generation of filmmakers who often seek to mesh genre beats with specific local mythology. In “The Monster Within,” for example, the cult which commits the murder is made up of local warlocks. The policeman ends up confronting a creature of Mapuche legend: El Invunche.

Other films also enroll Mapuche myth. In Florencia Dupont’s “Ngen Mawida,” a group of teens are attacked by the eponymous Mapuche lords of the forest, in a eco-chiller forming part of SANFIC’s genre strand.

Directed by Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz, “A Filmaker’s Disappearance” is a mockumentary made by a cineaste about his film director father, Mauricio Arias, who vanished in 1993 after pulling the plugs on the shoot of a horror film which suffered supposed paranormal activity. Produced  by Maximiliano Scheleff for Chile’s Pajareza Films, “the movie reflects on “the making of horror cinema” as it connects with “a Latin American identity rich in imagery and mythological iconography,” said Arias.

To be directed by Chile’s Martín Pizarro (“Crisis”), “Teatro Amapola” taps into other Chilean inspiration, mixing fantasy, memory and a man’s crude reality of being tortured to reveal the whereabouts of the woman he loves.

As present among the movie projects to be pitched at Santiago Lab, however, are movies which turn on women’s empowerment, or domestic abuse.

Produced by Sebastian Gonzalez for Chile’s Maltrato Films and Trebol Films and a post-punk, pop comedy about female friendship, according to director Alexandra Hyland, “Those Girls” turns – in a country, Chile, where abortion is only legal under certain circumstances, on two girls, Rafaella and Gabriela,  who set off to earn, whether it’s entertaining at children’s parties or giving blow-jobs, the money to terminate Rafaella’s pregnancy. What people think about them matters them not.

“Primeros pinos” tells the story of a woman who realizes her husband’s a fraud who swindles people. She has to decide whether to buy him out of jail or start a new life with their children and without him. Victoria Andino directs. Her label, Argentina’s Ah! Cine, which took an associate producer credit on “The Desert Bride,” produces.

“La cocinera,” a tale of domestic violence and macabre revenge, marks the second feature of Chile’s Enrique Farias, whose “The Mother of the Lamb,” a spinster’s second chance drama, debuted in San Sebastian’s New Directors competition.

Multiple projects at 2017’s Santiago Lab will still, however, explore urgent social and even political themes of a convulsed contemporary world.

Buzzed-up at Guadalajara’s 2017 Co-production Meeting, but now with new elements, political thriller “The False Prophet,” Colombian David Herrera’s debut, turns son a powerful journalist who develops a Messiah complex.

In Sebastián Ayala’s “La Isla de las gaviotas” a 17-year-old homosexual is rejected by his family, flees home to try his luck in a male transformist competition, and finds a new family.

Produced by Alejandro Ugarte at Chile’s Infractor Film Factory and directed by Juan Cáceres, who teamed with Ugarte on their first feature, “Perro Bomba,” “El ñiño prodigio” is billed as a magic-realist action fantasy drama with a social overtones.

It centers on a 12-year-old who performs Yoruba miracles in Colombia, witnesses his aunt’s murder by cartel sicarios, flees to Chile under a protection program, and breaks silence in a TV interview in 2006.

Produced by Chile’s Carnada Films and Italy’s Event Horozont, and written and to be directed by Pablo Berthelon, “Partir de Cero” presents a fiction feature vision of a 25-year-old Peruvian immigrant’s new life in Santiago de Chile. The experience is a cautionary tale.

“Sin Salida Al Mar” is a socially grounded psychological thriller set at a Buenos Aires laundromat and directed by Argentina’s Joaquin Cambre and produced by Rosalia Ortiz de Zárate at Rebecca Films.

Joining a burgeoning cannon of industrial action musicals (think “The Nothing Factory,” from Portugal’s Pedro Pinho, which played Cannes Directors’ Fortnight), Juan Pablo Ternicier’s Cantata Rock Santa María de Iquique” narrates 1907 industrial action by Atacama nitrate mine workers which builds up to their slaughter by Chile’s army.

Of other titles at Santiago Lab, in Andrés Nazarala’s “Los años salvajes,” Ricky Palace, a wild child of Chile’s ’60’s New Wave attempts to relaunch hid career and life in Valparaiso, many decades later.

Produced by Chile’s Estudios 702, “Cecilia” is Fernando Castilla’s first feature, a bio of the ‘60s Chilean singer and gay icon, Cecilia Pantoja.

Set up at Madrid’s Creta Producciones, “Conexo” adapts Spaniard Carlos Garcia Miranda’s high-school sci-fi novel published in Spain, Mexico. Colombia and France.

To be directed by Paula Cons, and another Spanish project, which often skew more mainstream than their Latin American counterparts, “El Santa Isabel” portrays the human drama sparked by the steamship Santa Isabel, known as Galicia’s Titanic, which sank of Spain’s Atlantic Coast with the loss of 210 lives in 1921.

In “Pelea como un animal,” Colombian Carlos Tellez’s first feature, an aging boxer yearns for a rematch with the friend who, now world champion, humiliated him in a fight ten years before. It’s the only way for him to recuperate his dignity, and make money. Whether it will ever happen or whether he has any chance at all of winning are other matters. “pelea como un animal” has been prized at project labs, and has a letter of interest in co-production from Mexico’s Argos Cine. Angel Trejos produces out of Cali’s Underdog.

The 2017 Santiago Lab runs Aug. 21-25, as part of this year’s SANFIC-Santiago Intl. Film Festival which opens Sunday with Santiago Mitre’s political thriller “The Summit.“

2017 SANTIAGO LAB FICTION FEATURE PROJECTS

“Los años salvajes,” (Andrés Nazarala, Chile)

“Cantata Rock Santa María de Iquique,” (Juan Pablo Ternicier, Chile)

“Cecilia,” (Fernando Castillo, Chile)

“La cocinera,” (Enrique Farías, Chile)

“Los colonos,” (Felipe Galvez, Chile)

“Conexo,” (Carlos García Miranda, Spain)

“The False Prophet,” (David Herrera, Colombia)

“A Filmmaker’s Disappearance,” (Juan Pablo Arias Muñoz, Chile)

“La isla de las gaviotas,” (Sebastián Ayala, Chile)

“The Monster Within,” (Rodrigo Susarte, Chile)

“Ngen Mawida,” (Florencia Dupont, Chile)

“El niño prodigio,” (Juan Cáceres, Chile)

“Partir de cero,” (Pablo Berthelon Aldunate, Chile)

“Pelea como un animal,” (Carlos Téllez, Colombia)

“Penal Cordillera,” (Felipe Carmona, Chile)

“Primeros pinos,” (María Victoria Andino, Argentina)

“El Santa Isabel,” (Paula Cons, Spain)

“Sin salida al mar,” (Joaquín Cambre, Argentina)

“Teatro Amapolas,” (Martín Pizarro Veglia, Chile)

“Those Girls,” (Alexandra Hyland, Chile)

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