BUENOS AIRES — In what would be a milestone for the restoration of Latin America’s rich film heritage, France’s Institut Lumière and Argentina’s INCAA Institute are studying the launch of a Buenos Aires Lumière Festival.
Thierry Fremaux, Institut Lumière director, confirmed the idea to Variety at Ventana Sur. The first public pronouncements about a mutual interest in launching the event come after Lyon’s Lumière Festival, organized by the Institut Lumière, has proved one of the most successful new film events out. Launched in 2009 by Institut Lumière president Bertrand Tavernier and Fremaux, and attended by Clint Eastwood, Quentin Tarantino (twice) and Martin Scorsese, all recipients of its top honor, the Lumière Prize, the Lumière Festival is passionately supported by France’s film community whose stars, like Tarantino, hail into Lyon to introduce their favorite classics. Their presence helps turn the screening of a movie made maybe 50 years ago into a contemporary, cinema theater-based social event, in which culture icons transmit their passion for films.
The Lumière Festival is also embraced by Lyon region audiences. Total attendance figures stood at 175,000 for its October 2017 edition, a remarkable figure for a festival dedicated solely to restorations and re-issues and documentaries on film heritage.
Now, as Lyon’s Lumière Festival builds for its 10th anniversary in 2018, Fremaux and Argentine’s INCAA are studying how to launch a similar event in Buenos Aires.
“I now know how it could work: Staff, restorations, artists, their presentations, and the market. This would not be about taking Lyon to Buenos Aires but creating a like event in the city to talk about the same thing: Restoration,” Fremaux said at Ventana Sur.
A Buenos Aires Lumière Festival is not a pipe dream. The INCAA and Fremaux have worked together for nine years building Ventana Sur , an initiative of the Cannes Festival and Film Market and the INCAA, into the biggest film market in Latin America with strong divisions in genre (Blood Window) TV drama (Film Fiction), animation (Animation!) and immersive reality (Trends).
There is a mutual trust. Bernardo Bergeret, INCAA head of international affairs and Ventana Sur co-director with the Cannes Film Market’s Jerome Paillard, was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by INCAA president Ralph Haiek, CNC head Frédérique Bredin and Juan José Campanella.
Of all Latin American cities, Buenos Aires is maybe nearest to Lyon in priding itself on its film culture and willingness to turn out to film events: the Buenos Aires Intl. Independent Film Festival (Bafici) is one of the biggest in attendance terms in Latin America.
A Buenos Aires Lumière event can also look to illustrious members of Argentine film community to support the event, plus Fremaux’s undoubted popularity in Argentina.
“We’ve studied the event and it is entirely practicable,” said Haiek.
INCAA sources signaled that a Buenos Aires Lumière Festival would seek to serve the building concern for restoring heritage cinema in not just Argentina but the rest of Latin America – in a similar way to Buenos Aires’ Ventana Sur Latin American film market, which has helped kick-start an ever more international film industry across the whole of Latin America.
The festival will be stronger as a regional than just national event. A Buenos Aires Lumière Festival would help the industry in the region to become conscious of the importance of the preservation and restoration of their film heritage, which has already lost a multitude of titles, the INCAA thinking runs. A festival will encourage producers and film authorities to focus more on this issue.
A event format such as the Buenos Aires Lumière Festival could attract, moreover, attract a young generation to cinema theaters to see movie classics, key to enamoring them of both heritage cinema and the cinema going experience, Fremaux argued.
He added: “In Lyon, we have a catchphrase: ‘A good film, good food, good friends.’ Buenos Aires could be the same.”