GUADALAJARA — The big winner at 2018’s Guadalajara Construye, which wrapped March 11, was Chile’s “Perro Bomba,” from director Juan Caceres, and supported by Pablo Larraín regular Alfredo Castro.
Caceres’ debut feature, the film takes aim at the the arcane racism affecting above all Chile’s working class, and immigrants’ suffering from laws born in the time of a xenophobic dictator Augusto Pinochet which remain today and affect more than half a million immigrants.
The film follows a Haitian immigrant called Steevens who is willing to put in the hard work to earn a residence permit. Taunted by construction site foreman Frederico (Castro), Steevens takes a swing at him, is lynched by the Chilean media, and begins a descent into living totally beyond the law.
Caceres finished the night with the Chemistry, Yagán, Mondragon-Disruptiva and Habanero awards.
Three films won two plaudits: Sabrina Muhate’s “Guiexhuba” from Mexico scooped the Cinemaven and prestigious Churubusco awards; Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada’s “Miriam Lies” from the Dominican Republic the Texto and 3C awards; Gabriela Ivette Sandoval Torres’ “Okay, It’s Fine,” also from Mexico, walked off with the Fix Communication and OA Sonido Awards. Brazil’s “Triz” from André Carvalheira snagged an HD Argentina trophy.
“Guiexhuba” is a story in an indigenous Oaxaca town and two sisters who fight to protect its culture and history against major European interests. “Miriam Miente” examines identity, race and class, through the inner conflicts of a 15-year-old mixed race girl, building up to her big quinceañera party in the Dominican Republic. “Okay, It’s Fine” follows a failed screenwriter and Cineteca regular, still living in extended adolescence slopped for most of the day on the sofa at his mother flat who becomes obsessed with pulling his teen cousin’s just-15 new girlfriend. And “Triz” is a J.G. Ballard-type story of an under-construction high-end community adjacent to the slums of Brasilia.
One major change this year was the addition of World Banks’s Film4Climate Laser Film Award. Valued at €50,000 ($61,500), the chosen film will receive round trip airfare and eight days of access to Laser Film’s Rome-based production studios to handle remaining post-production on the project.
The biggest prize of the night was won by Colombian documentary “Sumercé,” the World Bank FilmsClimate prize. The film is the second feature of director Victoria Solano Ortega, and documents the tribulations of rural farmers in central Colombia and the battles they fight to preserve their land and their roots.
“We believe in the power of cinema in encouraging positive action for a better world,” explained Giulia Braga, program manager for Connect4Climate and Construye juror. “And we wanted to create an opportunity for projects to be finished and reach the big public, and encourage young filmmakers to continue their work.”
In its inaugural year, the award went to a film which in one way or another helps to promote a message of conservation. Films participating in either the Guadalajara Construye, or the DocuLab Construye were eligible. In the future however, the festival would like the prize to be given to a film which demonstrates a conscious effort towards conservation during the production phase of the project.
“Eventually we want to try to generate in the filmmakers a sense of filming sustainably,” Angélica Lares, Guadalajara Construye coordinator, told Variety. “To think about the residues that filming can cause during the production phase. We are aiming that one day this prize will go to the most sustainable film.”
Seven films participated in this year’s 12th edition of Guadalajara Construye, the works in progress section of the Guadalajara Film Festival. Winners were announced Sunday evening at a ceremony held in the Conjunto de Artes Escénicas building of the University of Guadalajara.
Eleven prizes were on the line for the competing films, which were selected by a comittee of Latin American industry professionals: Peru-based Argentine producer Javier Beltramino; Geminiano Pineda, a Mexican producer and founder-director of Cine Caníbal; and Eduardo Machuca from DIRAC, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile.
According to Lares, the goal for this year was consolidation as a means of strengthening the program, and to open the event to more projects with a broader range. To that end, Guadalajara’s Doculab, the documentary works in progress competition now in its 10th year, has become part of the Construye program, and its films eligible for additional prizes.
Other prizes available to the competing films were the Chemistry color correction prize, the Churubusco prize of $47,000 towards post-production, the Yagán Films post-production sound award, the Mondgragon Music – Disruptiva Original Score Award, the Fix Communication award which aids in the production of a trailer for the film. Also won: the Habanero award of $10,000 towards international promotion, the HD Argentina award of $10,000 towards post-production, the Cinemaven distribution award, the OA Sound award, the 3C Films distribution award, and the Texto Sequence and Strategy Award.
Gabriela Sandoval, director of industry at Chile’s Sanfic Festival; Spanish producer-director Gervasio Iglesias; Braga; and Mexican producers Inna Payán (“La jaula de oro”) and Leonardo Zimbrón (“Club of Crows”) comprised the jury which selected the prize winners.
“This year’s Guadalajara Construye selections were particularly complex and thought provoking,” said Cinemaven CEO Tom Davia, who handed out one of the evening’s awards.
He added: “Latin American cinema is already marked by its tremendous inherent creativity; and in these politically urgent times, I’m seeing women and men who are deeply driven to use innovative ways to tell their stories and connect with audiences.”
Guadalajara Construye ran March 10-11; the Guadalajara Film Festival takes place March 9-16.
GUADALAJARA CONSTRUYE WINNERS, 2018
FILM4CLIMATE LASER FILMS AWARD
“Sumercé,” (Victoria Solano Ortega, Colombia)
CHEMISTRY COLOR CORRECTION PRIZE
“Perro Bomba,” (Juan Caceres, Chile)
“Guiexhuba,” (Sabrina Muhate, Mexico)
YAGÁN FILMS POST-PRODUCTION SOUND AWARD
MONDGRAGON MUSIC – DISRUPTIVA ORIGINAL SCORE AWARD
FIX COMMUNICATION AWARD
“Okay, It’s Fine,” (Gabriela Ivette Sandoval Torres, Mexico)
HD ARGENTINA AWARD
“Triz,” (André Carvalheira, Brazil)
3C FILMS GROUP AWARD
“Miriam Lies,” ( Natalia Cabral , Oriol Estrada, Dominican Republic)
TEXTO SEQUENCE AND STRATEGY AWARD
OA SOUND AWARD
“Okay, It’s Fine”