“Pariente” (Guilty Men), an edge-of-your-seat drama-thriller, swept Colombia’s 6th Macondo National Film Awards Thursday night at Bogota’s historic Teatro Faenza in a home-turf industry vote that marks a big local thumbs-up for Colombia’s current foreign-language Oscar submission.
The first feature of Ivan D. Gaona – and marking him out for larger-scale fiction, such is the tension of its banner action sequences – “Guilty Men” walked off with best picture (in the fiction category), as well as directing and screenplay, the latter both won by Gaona, and a total of 9 wins in 16 categories.
Focusing on movies released over the last year, “Guilty Men” faced off for best picture with Juan Andrés Arango’s “X500,” Felipe Guerrero’s “Oscuro Animal” and Juan Sebastián Mesa’s “Los Nadie,” three fest favourites. The fact that three of the four best picture contenders are first features shows how much new talent is still driving much of Colombia’s cinema.
A three-part, three country – Colombia, Canada, Mexico – take on immigration, violence and search for identity across the Americas,“X500” won Bernardo Garnica best actor.
Turning on three women bearing the ghastly brunt of armed conflict in rural Colombia, “Oscuro animal” scooped actress for one of its leads, Luisa Vides, who plays a guerrilla soldier sexually abused by her comandante who flees to the big city.
But it was “Guilty Men’s” night. Lead produced by Diana Pérez Mejía for La Banda del Carro Rojo, in also Pérez and the production house’s first venture into feature film production, “Guilty Men” also snagged costume design, original music, art direction, cinematography, film editing and sound.
Picked up for world sales by Films Boutique in a deal announced at last year’s Locarno, “Guilty Men” begins with a couple, Mariana and René, preparing their wedding. As René’s cousin, Willington, still carries a candle for Mariana, an illegal paramilitary armed group demobilizes in the region. But strange new murders endanger their village’s tranquility.
A drama thriller and neo-Western with a social underbelly, suggesting how some of the paramilitary moved into racketeering, the movie world premiered at 2016’s Venice Days – a eminent new talent platform – before segueing to Toronto and on to a distinguished festival career, including a Fipresci prize at March’s Toulouse CineLatino Festival in France.
Just one movie came anywhere close to “Guilty Men’s” trophy trawl at the Macondo Awards: “With the Lips Closed” which took supporting actress and actor for their performances in the second feature of Carlos Osuna, whose debut, “Gordo, calvo y bajo,” a rotoscoped animated feature, proved a critical success in Colombia.
Shot partly in B & W, the psycho-drama pictures a talentless ventriloquist unable to escape his mother’s all-consuming love, even after her death. It homes in on one of the large themes of Thursday night’s winners: Outsiders or misfits searching for a new identity. The other is the huge impact – psychological, social, physical – of Colombia’s armed conflict.
The Macondo Audience Award was won by Carlos Vergara’s “Huellas,” another first feature and fest hit, a drama-comedy about a man who suddenly thinks he’s back in his childhood. Director Jairo Pinilla received the 2018 Honorary Macondo for a 43-year-career which has established him a Colombia’s major genre pioneer, his first fiction feature, 1977’s “Funeral siniestra,” a wake chiller, proving a breakout hit, while its follow-up, 1979 shoot-‘em-up “Area Maldita,” incorporated VFX.
6th MACONDO NATIONAL FILM AWARD WINNERS
DEC. 14, BOGOTA
BEST PICTURE (FICTION)
“Guilty Men,” (La Banda del Carro Rojo)
Ivan D. Gaona, (“Pariente”)
“Noche herida,” (Medio de Contención Producciones)
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Luisa Vides, (“Oscuro Animal”)
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Bernardo Garnica, (“X500”)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Ivan D. Gaona, (“Pariente”)
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTUNG ROLE
Marcela Benjumea, (“With the Lips Closed”)
ACTOR IN A SUPPORTNG ROLE
Álvaro Bayona, (“With the Lips Closed”)
Camilo Barreto, (“Pariente”)
Edson Velandia (“Pariente”)
BEST ART DIRECTION
Juan David Bernal, (“Pariente”)
Juan Camilo Paredes, (“Pariente”)
BEST FILM EDITING
Andrés Porras (“Pariente”)
José Jairo Flores, Daniel Garcés (“Pariente”)
BEST SHORT FILM
“7ún3l, ” (Klych López)
TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
HONORARY MACONDO AWARD
MACONDO AUDIENCE AWARD
“Huellas,” (Carlos Vergara)