SANFIC: Venezuelan Drama ‘La Familia’ Snags Top Honors at This Year’s Festival

Chilean capital plays host to crowd of industry and festival pros, led by Matt Dillon

La Familia SANFIC
Courtesy of SANFIC

SANTIAGO DE CHILE — Venezuelan drama “La Familia,” which had its world premiere at Cannes Critics Week, took home top international honors at the 13th edition of the SANFIC Santiago International Film Festival. The film’s father-son leads, Giovanny García and Reggie Reyes, also scored best actor awards.

Snagging best director was fiction feature “Porto,” from Brazilian Gabe Klinger whose prior movie “Double Play” won best documentary at Venice. Korean arthouse film “Autumn, Autumn,” and Brazilian doc “In the Intense Now,” secured special mentions at Saturday night’s award ceremony.

“La Familia” marks the feature debut for Venezuelan director Gustavo Rondón Córdova. Set against the seething violence of the city of Caracas, the film focuses on the estranged relationship between Pedro, a street-wise 12-year old boy played by non-pro actor Reyes, and his father Andres, played by García. Pedro finds himself in trouble with the law after a street altercation. The boy and his father are forced to flee, and eventually bond through the experience.

In the Chilean cinema category, best picture honors went to Juan Pablo Ternicier’s journalistic thriller “Sapo.” Best director went to Andrés Lübbert for his harrowing documentary “The Color of the Chameleon.” Best actor plaudits were reserved for Tomás Vidiella and Jaime McManus for their performances in the family drama “La Memoria de mi Padre” while documentaries “Stealing Rodin” and “In Transit” received special mentions.

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The industry awards, held on Friday evening, gave out prizes in cash and kind to the winning films. WIP juror Tom Davia of Cinemaven said of the participating films: “Such a strong and diverse selection of WIPs this year! My fellow jurors Charles Tesson, Andres Martinez and I really had a challenging time making the final decisions.” “Unit 15, Jailbreak,” was the eventual winner of the Chemistry WIP LatAm award, which came with a cash prize of $48,000.

Speaking at the industry awards night, film commissioner Joyce Zylberberg and Claudio Maggi, head of development at state agency Corfo, announced the imminent approval of a 30% cash rebate for international projects shooting in Chile as they awarded a Kimera prize to the competing Chilean film that best presented Chile’s diverse locations, “Mala Junta.”

In the Santiago Lab section, Chilean newcomer Alexandra Hyland took home the Tribeca Film Institute Award for her debut feature “Those Girls,” which comes with an invitation to participate in the industry section of the festival. Javier Martin, Berlinale LatAm delegate and Santiago Lab Docs Juror, said of the competition: “Of the 15 mainly Chilean docs, many of them dealt with themes of gender identity, collective memory and issues of the indigenous community, the Mapuche.”

Industry director Gabriela Sandoval added: “We identified five projects as a sub-section of genre films.” Artistic director and founder Carlos Nuñez concurred: “There’ve been some interesting projects, and an upsurge of genre films. The Chilean audience likes genre films so we’re programming in that direction.”

This year, SANFIC organizers estimate more than 40,000 admissions, up from last year’s 35,000. Present through the week were more than 160 accredited industry guests, as well as 40 festival pros. The festival also hosted special guests Matt Dillon and Swiss photographer Rainer Klausmann. To welcome the Hollywood star, the festival screened a retrospective of the actor’s 30-plus years in the industry, including his most iconic films – 1983’s “Rumble Fish” and 1998’s “There’s Something About Mary.” The actor also held talks on Friday and Saturday for the press and festival attendees, respectively. Klausmann was at the festival to present Fatih Akin’s most recent film, “In the Fade,” which had its premiere at Cannes.

A complete list of winners can be viewed below.

International competition:

Best picture:
“La Familia” — Gustavo Rondón Córdova (Venezuela)

Best director:
Gabe Klinger — “Porto” (Portugal, France, Poland, U.S.)

Best actor:
Giovanny García and Reggie Reyes — “La Familia” (Venezuela)
Special mention: Jan Woo-Jin — “Autumn, Autumn” (Korea)
Special mention: João Moreira Salles — “In the Intense Now” (Brazil)

Audience award:
The Color of the Chameleon” by Andrés Lübbert (Chile)

Chilean cinema awards:

Best picture:
“Sapo” — Juan Pablo Ternicier

Best director:
Andrés Lübbert — “The Color of the Chameleon”

Best actor:
Tomás Vidiella and Jaime McManus — “La Memoria de mi Padre”
Special mention: Cristóbal Valenzuela — “Stealing Rodin”
Special mention: Constanza Gallardo — “In Transit”

Best short
“Hombre Eléctrico” — Álvaro Muñoz
Special mention: “La Duda” — Juan Cáceres

Industry awards:

Chemistry Wip LatAm:
“Unit 15, Jailbreak” — Martín Desalvo (Argentina)

SANFIC & LatAmCinema:
“Dry Martina” — Che Sandoval (Chile)

YAGAN Films:
“El Guru” — de Rory Barrientos Lamas (Chile)

Santiago Lab:

Best screenplay:
“Pelea Como un Animal” — Carlos Tellez (Colombia)

Chilean cinema:
“Los Colonos” — Felipe Gálvez (Chile)

Guadalajara Ibero-American co-production:
“Penal Cordillera” — Felipe Carmona (Chile)

Atómica Films:
“Sin Salida al Mar” — Joaquín Cambre (Argentina)

TriBeCa Films:
“Those Girls” — Alexandra Hyland (Chile)

Blood Window:
“Ngen Mawida” — Florencia Dupont (Chile)


Docs MX:
“Jorge” — Nicolás Pavie (Chile)

Atómica Films documentary:
“La Loca que Derramó el Vaso” — María Bethania Velarde and Juan Manuel Ruales (Ecuador)

Valvula Films:
“La Vida Cotidiana” — Nicolás Guzmán Martínez (Chile)

Film Commission of Chile:
“Mala Junta” — Claudia Huaiquimilla (Chile)