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Mar del Plata: ‘Wajib,’ ‘Scourge,’ ‘Cocote,’ ‘Baronesa’ Top 2017 Fest

Brazil’s Juliana Antunes wins in the Latin America Competition and LoboLab project forum

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina — Annemarie Jacir’s “Wajib” and “The Scourge,” from José Celestino Campusano, won best picture in the International and Argentine Competitions respectively at the 32nd Mar del Plata Festival, an event inevitably overshadowed by the increasingly desperate search, as the festival played out this week, for the 44-member crew of Argentina’s submarine ARA San Juan, which was due to dock in Mar del Plata’s naval base.

That tragedy took much of the limelight away from the festival itself, the first under seasoned fest director Peter Scarlet, which boasted a large uptick in audience attendance and visits by Claude Lelouch, Thierry Fremaux and Vanessa Redgrave as it still confronts the challenge of its international projection.

In industry terms, Film.Ar, a refortified and enlarged industry section attracted a bevy of key young Argentine, Latin American and European producers, as the festival continues to act as a platform for young, emerging or on-the-rise Argentine and Latin American film talent, whether competing in the Argentine or Latin American competitions, or pitching projects at Film. Ar’s three sections, the LoboLab Intl. Co-Production Meeting, LatinArab, for projects interfacing the two worlds, and Mardoc.Lab, a development hub for docu-features.

Scarlet’s major impact on the festival was seen in a reduction of titles to a still sprawling number of 300 and an International Competition which twinned challenging titles – Ben Russell’s unrelenting look at the world’s laboring classes, “Good Luck”; “The Nothing Factory,” a song-laced three-hour drama about labor relations – with more accessible arthouse. The latter generally won out in the jury decisions.  Liked at Locarno, Palestine generational gulf drama “Wajib” also took best actor (Mohammed Bakri), plus the Signis and Argentine Film Writers’ Assn. awards. Culture clash portrait “Western,” from Germany’s Valeska Grisebach, scooped best director, Norway’s Eli Harboe best actress for Joachim Trier’s supernatural thriller-love story “Thelma.”

Actress Kairiana Nuñez Santaliz won a Special Jury Prize for her performance in the only world premiere in official competition, Puerto Rican Alvaro Aponte-Centeno’s human trafficking-themed “The Silence of the Wind.”

The prolific Campusano won out in a hard-fought Argentine Competition with “Scourge,” the chronicle of a self-sacrificing social worker.

Harboring many of the festival’s world premieres, the section centers much of the festival’s industry interest with a clutch of titles playing to an upbeat reaction, including Manuel Abramovich’s military doc “Soldier,” already seen at other festivals,  Demián Rugna’s skilled paranormal shock-fest “Terrified,” “The Bums,” an expertly shot last summer of youth drama debut from Santiago Mitre cinematographer Gustavo Biazzi; crowdpleaser “Las primas,” ”and “The Centaur’s Nostalgia,” Nicolas Torchinsky’s meticulous and un-romanticized take on one of Argentine’s last gauchos.

In the festival’s Latin American Competition, Brazilian Juliana Antunes’ multi-prized first feature, “Baronesa” a dramedic doc feature take of favela women’s trammeled existence, shared the top prize with Dominican Nelson Carlo dos Santos religion-clash drama “Cocote,” which won this year at the IFF Panama’s Primera Mirada and Locarno’s Signs of Life section.

Mar del Plata’s Film.Ar gave out a multitude of prizes, five in LatinArab, 10 in Mardoc.Lab. Of its fiction feature LaboLab winners, – given, said “Wild Tales” producer Matias Mosteirín, a jury member, to “emerging filmmakers,” rather than established talent – Mexico’s Daniela Schneider won for “Policía y una cabellera desconocida” and Juliana Antunes for “Ida y vuelta Copacabana,” an eye-catching double at Mar del Plata which marks out the young Brazilian director as a talent to track. There was also a good buzz on Rosendo Ruiz’s “Boom Boom,” and fellow Argentine Jerónimo Quevedo’s “The Fossil Remains.”

Both “Policía” and “Copacabana” explore female sexuality as women’s empowerment movies sweep Latin America. Any feminist revolution will not be have made much headway, however, unless men’s appreciation of male sexuality changes. Two movies at Mar del Plata – Biazzi’s “The Bums” and Mariano Swi’s “Hideout,” pitched at Film.Ar – mark at least some progress in that direction, in their stories of men’s lamentable failure to reconcile desire and established relationships. The grass always seems greener on the other side.

2017 32ND MAR DEL PLATA OFFICIAL PRIZE WINNERS

ASTOR PRIZES, INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

BEST PICTURE

“Wajib,” Ammemarie Jacir (Palestine, France, Germany, Colobia, Norway, Qatar, United Arab Emirates)

DIRECTOR

Valeska Grisebach (“Western,” Germany. Bulgaria, Austria)

SCREENPLAY

Kim Dae-hwan (“The First Lap,” South Korea)

ACTOR

Mohammed Bakri (“Wajib”)

ACTRESS

Eli Harboe (“Thelma,” Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark)

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE

Kairiana Nuñez Santaliz, “The Silence of the Wind,” (Puerto Rico)

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Vanessa Redgrave

LATIN AMERICAN COMPETITION

SPECIAL JURY MENTION

“La Telenovela Errante,” (Raúl Ruíz, Valeria Sarmiento, Chile)

BEST PICTURE

“Cocote” (Nelson Carlo de los Santos, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Germany, Qatar)

“Baronesa,” (Juliana Antunes, Brazil)

ARGENTINA COMPETITION

BEST PICTURE

“The Scourge,” (José Clestino Campusano, Argentina)

WORK IN PROGRESS PRIZE

“Hebreos 13:2,” (Fernando Domínguez, Argentina)

OTHER PRIZES — NON-OFFICIAL

ARGENTINE FILM DIRECTORS PRIZE, BEST ARGENTINE MOVIE

Juan Manuel Bramuglia, Esteban Tabacznik, “Estoy acá (Mangui fi)”

ARGENTORES BEST ARGENTINE SCREENPLAY PRIZE

Manuel Abramovich “Soldado”

Luis Bernárdez “Los corroboradores”

FEISAL UNDER-35 BEST PICTURE AWARD

“Cocote,” (Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Germany, Qatar)

FIPRESCI BEST PICTURE AWARD

“Soldado,” (Manuel Abramovich)

SIGNIS AWARD, INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

“Soldado,” (Manuel Abramovich)

RECAM MERCOSUR AUDIOVISUAL PRIZE

“A Fantastic Woman,” Sebastián Lelio, Chile, USA, Germany, Spain)

FEISAL UNDER-35 BEST PICTURE AWARD

“Embrace of the Serpent,” and “Easy Ball,” (Fernandes Gebauer, Nicolas Suarez, Argentina)

SAGAI BEST ACTRESS AWARD

Elvira Onetto, “Aterrados” (Demián Rugna)

SAGAI BEST ACTOR AWARD

Jorge Sesán,  “Al Desierto,” (Ulises Rosell)

SICA BEST LATIN AMERICAN FILM DIRECTION

“La familia,” (Gustavo Rondón Córdova, Venezuela, Chile, Norway)

PCI FILM DIRECTORS ASSN. BEST ARGENTINE FIRST FEATURE AWARD

“Un viaje a la luna,” (Joaquín Cambre)

FILM.AR AWARDS

LATIN ARAB

UNTREF MEDIA WORK IN PROGRESS PRIZE

“13.000 kilómetros de Siria,” (Fernando Lojo)

LAHAYE-POMERANEC-SZ TRANSLATIONS, BEST WORK IN PROGRESS PRIZE

“13.000 kilómetros de Siria,” (Fernando Lojo)

UNTREF MEDIA BEST FICTION PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT AWARD

“Ahora Tomamos Anillaco,” (Paula Martel)

HADDOCK FILMS-THE LANGUAGE LAB PRIZE, BEST FICTION

PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT AWARD

“Rio de Janeiro,” (Sabah Haider)

UNTREF MEDIA, BEST DOCUMENTARY PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT AWARD

“El Triunfo del Fracaso,” (Eduardo de la Serna)

AL JAZEERA DOCUMENTARY CHANNEL, BEST DOCUMENTARY PROJECT IN DEVELOPMENT AWARD

“On the Crossbar,” (Sami Tlili)

LOBOLAB PRIZES

HIGH DEFINITION ARGENTINA PRIZE,

“Policía y una cabellera desconocida,” (Daniela Schneider, México)

INCAA 3RD LOBOLAB INTL. CO-PRODUCTION MEETING AWARD

“Ida y vuelta Copacabana,” (Juliana Antunes, Brazil)

MARDOC.LAB WINNERS

“Adentro mío estoy bailando,” (Andrew Sala, Leandro Koch)

“Argenta preservation society” (Nicolás Münzel Camaño, Laura Tusi)

“Crianza extramoral” (Carolina Fernández, Jorge Leandro Colás)

“Hijas del maíz” (Ana Taleb, Alfonso Gastiaburo)

“Jujuy originario y metalero” (Cristian Pirovano, Fernando Romanazzo)

“La excusa del sueño americano” (Laura María Tablón, Florencia De Mugica)

“Las nenas” (Gabriela Cueto, Julieta Sans)

“Llamarada” (Sergio Criscolo, Alejandra Almirón)

“Los espejos de la naturaleza” (Maximiliano Schonfeld, Gabriel Zaragoza)

“Patagonia 1900” (Clara Suarez, Diego Lumerman)

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