×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

15th Sanfic Touts Attendance Rise, Hosts Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura

SANTIAGO — Chile’s Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) launched its 15th edition Sunday Aug. 18 with three of Latin America’s best-known actors, Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura (“Narcos”) and Graciela Borges (“La Cienaga”), to which it bestowed career recognition awards.

“It’s been 15 years in which we have presented more than 1,400 films,” noted Francisca Saieh, director of festival sponsor CorpArtes Foundation at the opening ceremony, as she paid tribute to her late sister, producer Soledad Saieh, one of the driving forces of the festival.

“It is noteworthy that in the past two years we have increased attendance by 20%, drawing an audience of more than 250,000 in the past 15,” said artistic director Carlos Nuñez who, together with his StoryBoard Media partner Gabriela Sandoval, runs the festival.

Garcia Bernal came to present his second directorial effort, “Chicuarotes,” which premiered in Cannes, while Moura opened the festival with his directorial debut, “Marighella,” a historical drama/political thriller that has already polarized Brazil even before its local release. Both professed to be actors first and foremost.

In town for just a day, Garcia Bernal thanked director Pablo Larrain with whom he made “No” and “Neruda,” and the upcoming Venice entry, “Ema.” “I feel I have come home again,” he said to cheers from the audience.

Alluding to Chile’s past experience with dictatorship and the films that have come out of it, Moura said: “Chile knew how to deal well with its memories, something we did not know in Brazil; that’s why we have the kind of president we have now,” before presenting the Latin American premiere of his drama about Carlos Marighella, the revolutionary whose cause and whose memory Moura claims the current Brazilian administration would like to erase.

At a press conference before the ceremony, Garcia Bernal admitted that there was a 12-year gap between his second feature film and his first, “Deficit,” “because I was busy making films here,” he said laughing, “And I was also busy being a father.” “But on the other hand, when I direct, I like to have time to put together the film, develop it carefully and cook it in some way,” he added.

He related how in order to prepare “Chicuarotes,” he set up a workshop that was supposed to last for six months but instead went on for two years, becoming a kind of ad hoc film school. He noted that many of the local non-pro actors that he found for his film have gone on to other acting jobs.

“You have to fall in love with a project first,” said Garcia Bernal, adding that he believed that cinema “apart from being an exercise of freedom, is an experiment in transcendence.”

He lamented that Latin American cinema did not travel well within the region but was most proud of Ambulante, the roving documentary film festival he co-founded with Diego Luna and Elena Fortes, which celebrates its 15th year in 2020 and has succeeded in bringing documentaries to diverse audiences across Mexico. “It’s the best we’ve done as adult beings.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Gully Boy to represent India in

    'Gully Boy' to Represent India In Oscars Race

    The Film Federation of India has chosen Zoya Akhtar’s “Gully Boy” as its entry in the Academy Awards’ international feature film category. The picture, a coming of age tale about an aspiring rapper in Mumbai’s Dharavi slum premiered at the Berlin film festival in February before opening to a wave of acclaim at home in [...]

  • Lucy-Lost

    Cartoon Forum: 30th Anniversary, Little Giants and New Generations

    TOULOUSE, France –  Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Cartoon Forum wrapped Sept. 19 having showcased the ever-growing strength of European animation. 85 projects were pitched from 24 countries at the co-production forum platform that played host to north of 1,000 investors, distributors and producers – a record number. Falling on French-speaking Belgium – Wallonie-Bruxelles – whose [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • 'Downton Abbey' Music Gets 'Bigger, Better,

    As 'Downton Abbey' Hits the Silver Screen, the Music, Too, Gets 'Bigger, Better, Grander'

    When “Downton Abbey” fans hear that familiar strings-and-piano theme, a Pavlovian response ensues: Get to the television immediately, because you don’t want to miss a minute of the addictive Crawley family melodrama to follow. This week, with the “Downton Abbey” movie reaching theaters on Friday, fans can’t wait for their fix of Lady Mary and [...]

  • 45 Seconds of Laughter

    Film Review: '45 Seconds of Laughter'

    “Everyone is worth more than their worst act,” said Roman Catholic sister and anti-death penalty advocate Helen Prejean, and it’s with these words that “45 Seconds of Laughter” closes. It’s an apt sentiment on which to leave Tim Robbins’ sincerely felt documentary study of the therapeutic acting workshops run by his own theater company in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content