The arthouse showcase is one of the Latin American movie market’s main industry attractions.
Fernando Frías’ “I’m No Longer Here” follows the odyssey of 17-year-old Ulises Samperio, who, after nearly being shot in a local gang war, is dispatched by his family from Monterrey to Queens. With scenes bordering on documentary, the feature delivers a portrait of an urban tribe, Monterrey’s Cholombiano dance fanatics, and a reflection of migration in a globalized world, according to the director. Frías attended the 2014 Sundance Screenwriters Lab with “I’m No Longer Here,” which is his second feature.
“The film tries to raise questions about how history is written these days where even counter-cultural movements can become one more product on supermarket shelves,” Frías said. A Columbia U alum, Frías debut, “Rezeta.” snagged a Jury Award for best narrative Ffeature at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival.
A winner of a 2016 Tribeca Film Institute grant, “Sanctorum” tracks a toddler whose mother disappears, after a pitched battle between governmental forces and cartel troops. When his grandmother suggests she might return if he prays enough, he flees to the forest to pray for her safe return. The film’s director, Mexican Joshua Gil, began his career serving as an assistant camera operator on Carlos Reygadas’ milestone debut “Japón” and attended Barcelona’s Escac film school. Gil’s first feature “La Maldad” premiered at the 65th Berlinale. “Sanctorum” also scooped also a prize at this year’s Impulso Morelia.
At Primer Corte, Montevideo-born Matías Ganz will present “The Weak,” a social paranoia tale focused on Mario and Silvia, a typical Montevidean upper-class couple experiencing the trauma of retirement. After having discovered that thieves have broken into their house, they decide to stay at their daughter’s home, where they experience spiralling insecurity and suspicion. “The Weak” mocks the classist, discriminatory mindset of Uruguay’s upper-class, Ganz has commented.
The six-title Primer Corte slate also takes in Argentina’s “Las buenas intenciones,” Panama’s “Panquiaco” and Chilean “Parío y Criao.”
Inspired by true facts, and feature debut of Argentine Ana García Blaya, “Las buenas intenciones” (The Good Intentions) tells the story of Amanda and her daughter and siblings who alternate living with their divorced parents. One day, Amanda’s mother proposes an alternative life outside the country, escaping economic crisis and their father’s neglect.
“This is a love story about both kids becoming adults and childish adults learning and making mistakes while life tests them,” the director said.
Actress-director Ana Elena Tejera will introduce “Panquiaco,” about Cebaldo, an indigenous dule from Panama, who works in fishing in Portugal, and is desperately homesick.Over one strange night, the story of a shipwrecked sailor and a boat trip spark memories and turns him to his roots. Specialized in documentaries, Tejera won the Panama Documentary Contest last year with “Lucíamor.”
A leading force in the Antofagasta New Cinema, Chilean Jorge Donoso Mena directs “Parío y Criao” (Born and Raised), a portrait of Carmenza, a hard-working Colombian housemaid living in a slum of Antofagasta with her grandson Yorman, a wannabe soccer pro. Living precariously, suffering discrimination and endless hostility, Carmenza tries to find money for Yorman’s Mother, who is ill in Colombia; Yorman knows the only option he has to get that money is to be signed by his big city club.
This year’s selection was curated by José María Riba, a driving-force at Paris’ Small is Biutiful Spain-France film forum and and Espagnolas en Paris events, Eva Morsch-Kihn, who heads up industry at Toulouse’s Rencontres, and María Núñez, the longterm Primer Corte organizer for Argentina’s Incaa film agency).
A top prize winner at last year’s Primer Corte, Lila Avilés “The Chambermaid” was selected for Toronto and San Sebastian and won best film at October’s Morelia Film Festival.