A First Look at Guadalajara Film Festival’s Ibero-American Fiction Competition Selection

The group of films, many of which are deep into successful festival runs, represents some of the best that Latin America and Iberia have to offer

Each year the Guadalajara Film Festival brings a carefully curated selection of fiction and documentary films, recent and brand-new, from Mexico, and throughout Ibero-America, to the Jalisco capital. This year’s competition runs from March 9-16, and boasts 17 Ibero-American fiction features, 19 documentaries and more shorts than you can shake a churro at.

Here are the films selected to compete in the Ibero-American Fiction Feature Film competition. A comprehensive list can be found below.

A flagship of the new-and-improved Basque cinema, Aitor Arregi and Jon Garaño’s “Giant” world premiered at San Sebastian, winning two awards, before storming the Goya’s where it racked up ten, the third highest total in that ceremony’s history. It remains to be seen if it’s reception in Guadalajara will be adversely effected by fellow competition player, and contrarily named, “Giants Don’t Exist,” from Chema Rodríguez. Laura Mora Ortega’s debut feature “Killing Jesus” is a Pablo-free Colombian tale of a quest for revenge, and the toll it can take. Selton Mello, one of Brazil’s most recognizable talents, directed, and co-starred with Vincent Cassel in “The Movie of My Life,” the cinematic adaptation of the classic Chilean novel “A Distant Father” from Antonio Skármeta. Anahí Berneri won San Sebastian’s best director award, the first woman to do so, and Sofía Gala best actress for “Alanis,” the tale of a young Buenos Aires mother who finds employment as a sex worker; one of three Argentine films to make the list.

“The Dragon Defense” is another Colombian debut, this time from Natalia Santa. Variety’s Jay Wiessberg called the comedy “quirky” and “fitfully amusing.” Bolivia’s Martín Boulocq, who won a best first work award at 2006’s Guadalajara for “The Most Beautiful of My Very Best Years,” returns to the fest with “Eugenia,” the story of a young, unsettled woman predisposed to change. Argentina’s Pablo Giorgelli, best known for 2011’s Cannes Critic’s Week player “Las acacias,” brings to the competition the teen-pregnancy tale, “Invisible.”

The Barriuso brothers Cuban drama “Un Traductor” follows a Russian literature professor who translates for children victims of the Chernobyl disaster sent to Cuba for treatment. San Sebastian’s 2005 best new director Jo Sol’s Guadalajara player “Living and Other Fictions” follows a man upon his release from a psychiatric hospital. Peru’s “Wiñaypacha,” from Oscar Catacora, is the first feature length film to be shot entirely in the Ayamar language, and was filmed three miles above sea level in the Andes. “And Suddenly the Dawn” from Silvio Caiozzi is Chile’s only competitor, and turns on a journalist’s return home after 40 years in exile.

Four films are competing in both the Mexican and Ibero-american compeitions, lead by Sebastián Hofmann’s “Time Share,” and Jorge Pérez Solano’s “La Negrada.” “Time Share” is a tropical-set dramedy which stars Luis Gerardo Méndez from “Club of Crows” and R.J. Mitte from “Breaking Bad.” The social realist drama “La Negrada,” a big winner at 2017’s Morelia, shines a light on the lives of Mexico’s shamefully underrepresented black community in Chica Costa, Oaxaca. Other Mexican titles include “Nadie sabrá nunca,” the debut feature from Jesús Torres Torres; the distinctly non-debut “Betrayal,” from Ariel Best Director winner Ignacio Ortiz; and a co-production with Costa Rica’s Hilda Hidalgo “Violeta al fin.”

IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE FILM COMPETITION

“Alanis,” (Anahí Berneri, Argentina)

“The Dragon Defense,” (Natalia Santa, Colombia)

“Eugenia,” (Martín Boulocq, Bolivia)

“Giants Don’t Exist,” (Chema Rodríguez, Guatemala)

“Giant,” (Aitor Arregi, Jon Garaño, Spain)

“Invisible,” (Pablo Giorgelli, Argentina)

“Killing Jesus,” (Laura Mora Ortega, Colombia, Argentina)

“Nadie sabrá nunca,” (Jesús Torres Torres, Mexico)

“La negrada,” (Jorge Pérez Solano, Mexico)

“The Film of my Life,” (Selton Mello, Brazil)

“Time Share,” (Sebastián Hofmann, Mexico)

“Betrayal,” (Ignacio Ortiz, Mexico)

“Un Traductor,” (Rodrigo Barriuso, Sebastián Barriuso, Cuba, Canada)

“Violeta al fin,” (Hilda Hidalgo, Costa Rica, México)

“Living and Other Fictions,” (Jo Sol, Spain)

“Wiñaypacha,” (Oscar Catacora, Peru)

“And Suddenly the Dawn,” (Silvio Caiozzi, Chile)

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