×

San Sebastian: Films in Progress Picks ‘Los Fuertes,’ ‘The Prince,’ ‘Sirena’

Two pix in post from Uruguay - ‘Mateina,’ ‘The Sharks- and Argentina’s ‘Neither Hero Nor Traitor’

MADRID — Omar Zuñiga’s “Los Fuertes,’ Sebastián Muñoz’s “The Prince” and Carlos Piñeiro’s “Sirena” have been selected for the 34th, twice-yearly, Films in Progress, a Latin American pix-in-post competition which runs Sept.24-26 at Spain’s San Sebastián Festival, representing one of the event’s biggest industry attractions for arthouse sales agents and distributors.

Strong on co-productions – a reflection if the bi-lateral and minority co-production funds in place in Brazil, Argentina and Chile – this year’s selection packs five first features – six if you count Argentine Nicolas Savignone’s prior “Los desechables” as a medium-feature – a reminder of the hordes of filmmakers pouring out of film schools in Latin America, powering up production levels dramatically over the last decade.

Some of the first-time filmmakers are, however, already well-known. A New York University’s Graduate Film Program alum, Chile’s Omar Zuñiga co-founded Santiago de Chile-based Cinestación in 2008 with director Dominga Sotomayor (“Thursday Till Sunday,” “The Island”) and post-production manager-editor Catalina Marin: in 2012, directed “On Learning Of a Friend’s Illness,” a segment featuring James Franco and Zach Braff of omnibus feature “The Color of Time”; won a best short Teddy Award at the 2015 Berlin Festival for “San Cristóbal”; produced Sotomayor’s “Too Late To Die Young” which took best director in main competition at Locarno last Saturday.

Set in Southern Chile, and inspired by “San Cristóbal,” “Los Fuertes” depicts a love story between a middle-class man who’s just about to move abroad and a struggling young fisherman. “Their relationship forces them to confront their own realities and break their loneliness, learning to trust the people they can finally feel close to,” Zuñiga said, announcing the film to Variety, adding that they “grow together towards a new space of independence in their adulthood.”

Building buzz before it hits Sanfic’s Latin American Works in Progress next week, the mystical-toned “Sirena,” from Bolivia’s Carlos Piñeiro, also straddles tradition and modernity. Produced by Socavón Cine, it begins with an engineer from La Paz drowning in Lake Titicaca. Fellow engineers – part of  modern-day Chile – set off to reclaim the man’s body, but find the Amayra people who recovered it unwilling to let it go for fear of warding off a bountiful harvest.

Based on a same-titled book, Chilean Sebastián Muñoz’s “The Prince” is a homoerotic tale set in the ‘70s which focuses on Jaime, a twenty-year-old narcissist who ends up in jail after he stabs his best friend in a passionate outburst. There, via his relationship with block inmate boss El Potro, he becomes “The Prince,” and learns about penitentiary power struggles.

“’The Prince’ portrays the society of the ‘70s through a history of violence, love and sex among prisoners,” Muñoz told Variety. “It’s a captivating story which inspired me to build its universe, its colors and architecture.”

Like “Los Fuertes” and “The Prince,” Films in Progress’ two Uruguayan titles and Argentina’s “Neither Hero nor Traitor” also plumb issues of identity, empathy and allegiance in an alienating and fast-changing world.

An absurdist adventure-friendship tale, “Mateina,” a Uruguay, Brazil-Argentina co-production directed by Joaquín Peñagaricano and Pablo Abdala, is set in a 2045 Uruguay which is much the same as now, save that yerba mate consumption is banned. Two friends, mate dealers, set off to Paraguay on the trail of pure yerba.

Directed by Lucia Garibaldi, “The Sharks” centers on a young girl, Rosina, at a small seaside resort threatened – or rumors have it – by the arrival of sharks offshore. Rosina welcomes the new arrivals, does everything she shouldn’t “as if driven by animal instinct,” the festival synopsis reads. “The Sharks” “talks about what’s hidden beneath the surface, about hot blood, the sea and the irremediable search for empathy,” the synopsis adds.

In “Neither Hero nor Traitor,” Argentine Matías confronts his conflicting feelings when being called up to fight in the Falklands War. The cause may be just; but he doesn’t feel this to be his war, nor sincere.

SAN SEBASTIAN 2018 FILMS IN PROGRESS

“Los Fuertes,” (Omar Zúñiga, Chile)

“Mateína,” (Joaquín Peñagaricano, Pablo Abdala, Uruguay, Brasil, Argentina)

“The Prince,” (Sebastián Muñoz, Chile, Argentina)

“The Sharks,” (Lucía Garibaldi, Uruguay, Argentina)

“Neither Hero nor Traitor,” (Nicolás Savignone, Argentina)

“Sirena,” (Carlos Piñeiro, Bolivia)

Pictured, top to bottom: “Los Fuertes,” “The Sharks,” “Neither Hero nor Traitor.”

More Film

  • Apollo 11

    Film News Roundup: 'Apollo 11' Re-Release Set for Moon Landing Anniversary

    In today’s film news roundup, Neon is re-releasing “Apollo 11”; “Sesame Street” gets moved; “Supersize Me 2” is set for Sept. 13; Will Ropp gets a “Silk Road” deal; and Apple makes a movie deal. RE-LAUNCH Neon will re-release Todd Douglas Miller’s documentary “Apollo 11” in theaters on July 20, the 50th anniversary of the [...]

  • Michael B. JordanAFI Awards Luncheon, Los

    Michael B. Jordan's 'Just Mercy' Moves to Awards Season Slot

    Michael B. Jordan’s upcoming legal drama “Just Mercy” has been shifted forward three weeks from Jan. 17 to Dec. 25 for an Oscar-qualifying theatrical release. “Just Mercy” is based on the case of Walter McMillan, an African-American death-row prisoner who was exonerated in 1993 after being convicted five years earlier for a 1986 murder in [...]

  • Harry Styles to Play Prince Eric

    Harry Styles in Talks to Play Prince Eric in Disney's 'Little Mermaid'

    Harry Styles is going under the sea. The former One Direction frontman is in early negotiations to play Prince Eric in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid.” Halle Bailey will portray the Ariel, a mermaid princess who dreams of being a human, while Melissa McCarthy is playing her evil aunt Ursula. “The Little Mermaid” [...]

  • Stuber Movie

    Disney Left With a Slate of Film Flops After Fox Deal

    Is Disney having buyer’s remorse? The studio would be forgiven if it were having some regrets after absorbing 20th Century Fox, the company that once generated big box office with the likes of “Avatar,” “Life of Pi,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” After “Dark Phoenix” bombed earlier this summer, Kumail Nanjiani and Dave Bautista’s action comedy “Stuber” [...]

  • Taika Waititi Returning to Direct 'Thor

    Taika Waititi to Direct Marvel's 'Thor 4'

    Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The filmmaker will write and direct the sequel to his 2017 blockbuster “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s take on the fourth “Thor” movie puts Warner Bros.’ long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely. However, the studio hopes that “Akira” can get resume production with Waititi at the helm once [...]

  • Akira

    'Akira' Production Put on Hold by Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has put its long-in-development “Akira” adaptation on hold indefinitely, sources tell Variety. Sources indicate that after a brief delay, the studio has pulled the plug on production indefinitely for the classic anime adaptation, which was set to begin later this fall. “Thor: Ragnarok” helmer Taika Waititi was on board to direct, and the [...]

  • Sir Elton John, David Furnish. Sir

    New Elton John AIDS Foundation Gala to be Held in the South of France

    Elton John and David Furnish are launching a new gala for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The two will host the inaugural A Midsummer Party benefit on July 24 in the south of France at the Johnny Pigozzi’s private estate, Villa Dorane, in Cap d’Antibes. A cocktail reception will be followed by dinner, a live [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content