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Ventana Sur: Panel Talks Merits, Setbacks in Latin Queer Cinema

BUENOS AIRES — Four venerable professionals from the cinema world joined on Monday evening for Queer Cinema In Latin America, a frank discussion on Latin America’s role within the queer filmscape for Ventana Sur’s Industry conference series held at the UCA campus in Buenos Aires. Touching on advancements in character arc and notable achievements in recent years, the panel spoke to the ongoing trend of giving a voice to marginalized communities and just how far cinema has come in regards to showcasing queer stories, admitting there’s progress to be made.

Leading the panel was Diego Trerotola, local film critic and director of Festival Asterisco. Trerotola spoke to fellow panelist, Argentine film director Albertina Carri, about the progression of her films “Barbie También Puede Estar Triste,” “Pets,” and “Las Hijas del Fuego.”

“18 years ago you made films with dolls, ten years ago with found porn footage, and now you can finally pull off what you were working towards before,” remarked Trerotola. Carri agreed and added, “18 years ago it would’ve been impossible to make ‘Las Hijas.’ It was hard to find 20-30 women to appear on screen together, those discussions and the progression of talks about that project, it was difficult.”

The panel went on to discuss tropes often perpetuated in queer cinema. “In gay films, there is a sense of happiness but in lesbian films, you only see sadness, drama,” Carri remarked. This led the conversation to “Hoy Partido a las 3” a film by fellow panelist and Argentine filmmaker, Clarisa Navas. This day-in-the-life portrayal of a Northern Argentine women’s futbol club avoids the sadness referenced by Carri.

“I’m from the North of Argentina where they lack information and discourse around feminism. Many resist being who they want to be, their desires, and they have no definition of identity,” Navas said when explaining why her film was so critical.

The conference wound down by hinting at the future of queer cinema and the difficulties the filmmakers have securing funding for their projects.

“When we call it queer cinema because one character is trans or gay, it’s just much more than that. We need to rethink cinema language and challenge what that means,” said Carri.

Navas agreed and added: “I don’t like that LGBTQ films only being captured by certain circuits and systems. I want to resist that but still feel the need to keep producing.”

José Luis Rebordinos, director of the San Sebastian Film Festival, also joined the panel and remarked on his dedication to creating a space for these films.

“I’m no specialist but we want to create a space for everyone to speak their minds. I hope that one day we don’t have to award an LGBTQ award, I hope these films start to make it into mainstream festivals.

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