According to Blood Window coordinator Javier Fernández, genre filmmaking has become a Helms Deep-type bastion for independent filmmakers looking to create cinema on their own terms and with limited budgets.
“Genre is, in Latin America, where independent filmmaking is still happening,” said Fernandez. “Many independent filmmakers are turning to the fantastic to find a place in the market. Overall production for genre films has stayed steady, but more independent directors are turning to genre to save that independent nature of production.”
More than that though, it has provided a launchpad for a number of filmmakers looking to work internationally. Latin American genre provided the roots of filmmakers like Guillermo del Toro (“Cronos”), “Don’t Breath” director Fede Alvarez and “It” director Andy Muschietti, recently linked to the live action “Attack on Titan” project with Warner Bros.
“Emerging cinema in Latin America is coming from genre, from the fantastic,” Fernandez said. “It’s a way to make films without a big international cast, without a big budget.”
2018 marks the 6th Blood Window where projects, films in development and completed features can be pitched, marketed and screened to several hundred sales agents, distributors, potential co-producers and representatives from other festivals looking to pick up or board fantasy, science fiction or good old-fashioned horror films.
Some key activities include In Development Pitching Sessions; Blood Window Lab & Meeting Tables, which consist of consulting sessions and scheduled meetings with industry specialists to support the development of upcoming projects in the region; World & Market Premieres; and the Works in Progress section.
This year’s diabolical Work in Progress selection was curated, as ever, by San Sebastian Festival director José Luis Rebordinos, and features six features, four from Argentina, one from Panama and the other from Mexico. The films are competing for four awards: the Yagán Films audio post-production prize, the Chemistry Cine award, the Sofia Films Prize which includes color correction, and the Le Film Français Award – a full page feature in the publication at the Marché du Film of the Cannes festival.
“Killing the Dragon” is Argente director Jimena Monteoliva’s second solo feature. Her first, “Clementina,” won two post-production awards in the Blood Window Showcase at Cannes’ Marché du Film last year. The feature turns on a seven year-old, kidnapped and taken to hell, who comes back 25 years later.
Amin Yoma’s “Mother” is a fortune-telling tale about a woman desperate to have a child but convinced her partner is infertile. “Impossible Crimes” from director Hernan Findling weighs in as a fantastic tale about a detective who loses his entire family in an accident, then encounters a series of seemingly inexplicable crimes.
For many works in progress near completion the devil is in the details, but with the remaining three it’s also in the title. Alejandro G Alegre’s “The Devil Told Me What to Do,” Ignacio Rogers’ “The White Devil” and Sol Moreno Frago’s “Diablo Rojo PTY” all feature the lord of darkness’ influences, directly or implied.
In “The Devil Told Me…,” Julian, a young man with mental problems, kidnaps a doctor and tortures him to confess his sins. “The White Devil” is a cabin-in-the-woods slasher featuring a shadowy local legend. And “Diablo Rojo PTY” tells the story of a road-trip from hell through a dark jungle which features traditional Panamanian horror elements.
2018 sees the new World & Market Premiere program implemented as part of the Blood Window Screenings, aimed at sales agents and international buyers attending Ventana Sur. The films are all either early into their festival runs, or just kicking them off at Blood Window.
Pablo Parés “I Am Toxic” dives into a dystopian world in which biological warfare has turned South America into a wasteland of infected people in costume and makeup that calls back to classic ‘70s and ‘80s monster fare.
The Onetti brothers’ “Abrakadabra” has already screened at Sitges and Morbido Fest, Spain and Mexico’s most important genre platforms respectively, and is a ‘70s Italian giallo throwback in which a magician finds himself the target of a sadistic serial killer. Paulo Leite’s Brazilian-Portuguese co-production “Inner Ghosts” is a monkey-paw-style tale of a former medium who receives a mystical item capable of wonderful things, but at a cost. And “Breathe” from Argentina’s Gabriel Grieco, a Blood Window regular, follows a pilot, desperate for work, who ends up poisoning a town while crop-dusting soy bean fields.
This year’s Blood Window jury includes Joao Fleck, director of Fantaspoa Fest in Brazil; Thierry Phlips, director of Razor Reel Flanders Film Fest; and Chris Orgelt, programming director of the Brussel Intl. Fantastic Film Festival. They will choose the winner of the European Federation of Fantastic Film Festivals Award for the best Latin American film of the year.
As Blood Window continues to promote collaboration with international markets and platforms, this year’s in development section includes projects supported by Catalan Films, Bifan- International Fantastic Film Festival of Bucheon and Sitges Pitchbox in addition to 14 Latin American projects. The projects’ makers will pitch and take part in one-on-one meetings with industry professionals who can offer assistance and advice on how to move forward.
The section is highlighted by “Immaculate,” from Gonzalo Calzada (“Resurection”), the second film in a trilogy which kicked off with “Luciferina,” following 19-year-old Natalia on a journey into the jungle to find a mystical plant. Chile’s Felipe Eluti brings “Shadowplay,” a traditional Lovecraft-like horror tale taking place deep in the woods. A pan-Latin American project, Sandra Arriagada’s “28” will feature top directing and acting talent from across the region to tell a series of related, female-helmed tales involving lunar cycles, as announced by Variety at August’s SANFIC Festival in Santiago Chile. And Santiago Fernández Calvete will pitch “Vurdalak Blood,” the story of a vampire hunter in the hours after an attack where it is unclear if he has been turned or not.
The 2018 Blood Window section at Ventana Sur runs Dec. 10-14.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
“To Kill The Dragon,” (Jimena Monteoliva, Argentina)
“The Devil Told Me What to Do,” (Alejandro G. Alegre, Mexico)
“Mother,” (Amin Yoma, Argentina)
“The White Devil,” (Ignacio Rogers, Argentina)
“Diablo Rojo PTY,” (Sol Moreno Frago, Panama)
“Impossible Crimes,” (Hernan Findling, Argentina)
WORLD & MARKET PREMIERE
“I Am Toxic,” (Pablo Parés, Argentina)
“Abrakadabra,” (Luciano Onetti, Nicolás Onetti, Argentina, New Zealand)
“Inner Ghosts,” (Paulo Leite, Portugal, Brazil)
“Breathe,” (Gabriel Grieco, Argentina)
“28,” (Sandra Arriagada, Chile)
“Bedtime,” (Roberto San Sebastián, Spain)
“Beto and the Moon’s Dog,” (José Araripe Cavalcante Juniór, Brazil)
“Exquisite Corpse,” (Lucía Vassallo, Argentina)
“The White Room,” (Gabriel Gerardo Goopar, Mexico)
“The Building,” (Vuk Lungulov-Klotz, Chile)
“The Eye,” (Sergio Neuspiller, Argentina)
“Estanislao,” (Alejandro Guzmán Alvarez, Mexico)
“Immaculate,” (Gonzalo Calzada, Argentina)
“Condemned,” (Paz Godoy, Chile)
“Lightless,” (Jorge Leyva Robles, Mexico)
“Paradoxa,” (Marco Bentancor, Uruguay)
“Vurdalak Blood,” (Santiago Fernández Calvete, Argentina)
“Secretas the Yellow Book,” (Sebastián Ramirez, Juan Manuel Pendola, Argentina)
“Shadowplay,” (Felipe Eluti, Chile)
“9 Steps,” (Marisa Crespo, Spain)
“Bogie No. S4,” (Vishal Furia, India)
“Party,” (Rubén Montero, Spain)