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Gael Garcia Bernal, Wagner Moura and Female Filmmakers Topline Chile’s 15th Sanfic

Set to open Aug. 18 with two of Latin America’s biggest stars, Gael Garcia Bernal and Wagner Moura (“Narcos”), the 15th edition of Chile’s Santiago Int’l Film Festival (Sanfic) promises a focus on women directors and producers as it hosts a Women’s Encounter and Chile’s audiovisual guilds ink a pact to safeguard against sexual harassment in the work place.

The fest will kick off with Moura’s controversial directorial debut, “Marighella,” after bestowing career recognition awards on Garcia Bernal and Argentine thesp Graciela Borges (“La Cienaga,” La Quietud”).

On day two, Moura will participate in an Actor’s Studio interview open to the public, said SANFIC artistic director Carlos Nuñez and industry head Gabriela Sandoval, partners at Storyboard Media who jointly run the festival.

Three competitive sections – international, Chilean and shorts – will include cash prizes. The international, jury – Borges, Uruguayan producer Sandino Saravia (“Roma”) and Chilean director/editor Valeria Sarmiento, the widow and long-time collaborator of acclaimed Chilean director Raul Ruiz – will select the best out of a crop of nine films hailing from as far afield as Vietnam, Germany and Israel as well as Latin America. These include Colombian Alejandro Landes’ acclaimed “Monos” which world premiered at Sundance and has been described by reviewers as a mash-up of “The Lord of the Flies,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Embrace of the Serpent.” German drama “System Crasher,” a disturbing portrait of a child whose extreme behavior strains social workers and her mother alike, which had its Latin American premiere at the Guanajuato Film Festival in July, vies for the big prize along with the multi-awarded Vietnam-set drama “The Third Wife,” pulled from release in Vietnam due to the intimate scenes involving teen actress Nguyen Phong Tra My, who was 13 when she played a child bride in the drama.

Chilean Felipe Rios’ directorial debut, road movie “The Man of the Future,” produced by Giancarlo Nasi, was the only Chilean film to compete at the Karlovy Vary Film Fest this year and holds its Latin American premiere at Sanfic.

Other pics having their Latin American premieres at Sanfic include Chilean films “Sumergida,” Andres Finat’s drama about a swimmer who struggles with her inner demons as she searches for her lost mother; and Pachi Bustos’ documentary “Haydee y el Pez Volador,” a winner of the Docu Pitch session at the 11th Sanfic edition, about a human rights activist who finally sees justice meted out on the killers of her unborn child decades ago.

“Lemebel,” Joanna Reposi Garibaldi’s documentary about Chilean writer, artist, activist, and provocateur Pedro Lemebel, winner of the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at the Berlinale, also competes among the Chilean entries.

In a nod to Chile’s growing push into high-end television content, the fest will introduce a TV strand, Sanfic Series, for the first time, showcasing YLE-Chilevsion’s “Invisible Heroes,” set in the aftermath of Pinochet’s 1973 coup, and warmly received at MipTV and  Conecta Fiction.

SANFIC runs over Aug, 18-25.

INTERNATIONAL FILMS IN COMPETITION

“Amanda,” Mikhaël Hers (France)

“Cancion sin Nombre,” Melina León (Peru, Spain, U.S.)

“The Man of the Future,” Felipe Ríos (Chile, Argentina)

“God of the Piano,” Itay Tal (Israel)

“Los Miembros de la Familia,” Mateo Bendesky (Argentina)

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

“Monos,” Alejandro Landes (Colombia, Argentina, Germany, Uruguay)

“System Crasher,” Nora Fingscheidt (Germany)

“The Third Wife,” Ash Mayfair (Vietnam)

 CHILEAN FILMS IN COMPETITION

“Amukan,” Francisco Toro Lessen

“El Dia Mas Largo,” Diego Escobar

“Harley Queen,” Carolina Adriazola, José Luis Sepúlveda

“Haydee y el Pez Volador,” Pachi Bustos

“Lemebel,” Joanna Reposi Garibaldi

“Los Reyes,” Bettina Perut, Iván Osnovikoff

“Perro sin Cola,” Carolina Quezada

“Sumergida,” Andrés Finat

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