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Ventana Sur: Versus Entertainment Acquires Alpha Violet’s ‘Hunting Season’(EXCLUSIVE)

Screening at Ventana Sur, father-son drama marks one of the standout Argentine feature debut of 2017

BUENOS AIRES — In one of the first deals to go down on a buzzed-up movie at Ventana Sur, Natalia Garagiola’s “Temporada de caza” (Hunting Season), Versus Entertainment has acquired the father-son drama for Spain and Portugal.

In a second deal on “Hunting Season’s” sales agent Alpha Violet’s slate, France’s Bodega Films will release Mapuche teen drama “Mala Junta.”

Argentine Garagiola’s debut feature, “Hunting Season” drew attention for proving a pioneering investment outside by the U.S. by New York-based Gamechanger Films, which exclusively finances feature films directed by women. Gamechanger boarded a project lead-produced by high-flying Buenos Aires-based Argentina’s Rei Cine, and co-produced by Germany’s Augenschein Filmproduktion and France’s Les Films de l’Etranger, a prestigious combination.

But “Hunting Season” really leapt onto the radar this September winning Venice’s Critics’ Week Audience Award. Since then it has hit the festival circuit, most notably at San Sebastián, eliciting “multiple expressions of interest” from foreign distributors., said Virginie Devesa, at Paris-based sales agent Alpha Violet.

Many have still to see the movie, however, meaning it hits Ventana Sur with a high-profile prize – and the one which most interests distributors from festivals, since denoting audience interest – but as one of the fresher titles of movies at Ventana Sur’s market screenings.

Madrid-based, Versus distributes both upscale breakouts (“Columbus”) and edgier or more out-there genre blenders (Nacho Vigilando’s “Colossus,” with Anne Hathaway). “Hunting Season” stands somewhere between the two. A father-son reconciliation drama, “Hunting Season” packs such ferocious psychological violence in its opening stretches as to prove shocking as a teenager, Nahuel, at an elite Buenos Aires school forces his expulsion in a brawl with a fellow rugby team player.

He is sent to Patagonia to spend time with biological father, a park warden. There, in scenes which Garagiola compares to the clash of two rutting stags, father and son face off physically as Nahuel pours his hatred of the world into aggression towards a parent whom he thinks abandoned him.

Looking far more mature and polished in production terms than most debuts, the movie has won large critical praise, including for its cinematography of the snowy hills of Patagonia and for editing from Gonzalo Tobal – whose “Villegas” played Cannes in 2012 – which cuts deftly on movement, countering immersive hand-held camerawork.

With the roiling century-old rebelliousness of the Mapuche indigenous population in Chile’s far south exploding into violence again, Alpha Violet is also encountering renewed interest in “Mala Junta,” Devesa said. Directed by the young Chilean Mapuche filmmaker, Claudia Huaiquimill,a who consciously seeks to tell stories from the outsider’s point of view, it narrates an unlikely bonding between two teens, one a rebel, the other a bullied Mapuche outcast.

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