Parent figure-child relationships feature strongly in two of Ventana Sur’s main industry sections this year, Copia Final – for recently finished films which have not yet released outside their country of origin – and Primer Corte – for fiction Latin American films in post-production.
Three Copia final titles feature strained mother-son relationships, and four films from Primer Corte focus on one-on-one relationships between a parent or parental figure and their younger counterpart.
Chosen from 129 applications – up from 118 in 2018 and 80 in 2017 – said Primer Corte co-curator José María Riba, the six selected Primer Corte films screen for a select audience of invited festival programmers, distributors and sales agents and compete for several post-production and distribution prizes.
Of productions submitted, 42 came from Argentina, 30 from Brazil, 25 from Mexico- Chile had 17 applications, Colombia 14, “considerable numbers,” Riba added.
Previous high-profile participants include “I’m No Longer Here,” winner of this year’s Audience Award and best feature at Morelia, and Lila Avilés’ “La Camarista,” this year’s second-best reviewed narrative film according to Rotten Tomatoes and Mexico’s International Feature Academy Award submission.
After screening, the films are added to Ventana Sur’s video library until the festival’s end. A drill-down on Primer Corte titles:
Coming in as one of the section’s most buzzed titles, “Restless” comes from celebrated director Paz Fábregás’, whose 2011 San Sebastian Latin Horizons competition player “Agua Fria de Mar,” (“Cold Water of the Sea”) scooped awards at Lima’s Latin American Film Fest and Rotterdam, after playing well in rough cut at San Sebastian’s Films in Progress. “Agua Fria” producers Temporal Films back Fabrega’s tale of a teacher who discovers one of her teenaged students attempting to miscarry an unwanted pregnancy. After visiting a clinic, the two learn the pregnancy is too far along to abort.
Produced by Venezuela’s Cromauno Audiovisuales, renowned cinematographer Alexandra Henao Sierra’s “Gilma” unfolds in the middle of a violent Caracas, where 13-year-old Isabel must recover her aunt from hospital while keeping secret what the older woman has been subjected too. Through the experience, the two become closer and come to rely on one another for protection.
Juan Pablo Félix’s debut feature is a pan-Latin American production headed by Bikini Films. Set on the Argentina-Bolivia border, a young dancer prepares for the most important competition of his life when his highway-robbing, ex-convict father returns and jeopardizes everything.
Mariano Cócolo won best director of an Argentine short at the Mar del Plata Festival in 2016 for her film “To the Silent.” She returns with “The Calm,” which is a co-production between Año Luz and Peca Cine. In it, a student returns home to care for her father after a he suffers a stroke. Wealthy landowners bully the woman, forcing her to take desperate measures while dealing with father’s passing.
Guatemala’s Vizconde produces Juan Manuel Méndez’s tale of a dissident priest living a humble life and caring for the less fortunate of his community. The Father is knocked out of his groove when two strangers arrive and call into question his motivations. Manuel is a graduate of Barcelona’s CECC and was singled out for the Berlinale Talents. “The Apostolate” is his first feature.
The most fantastic of this year’s Primer Corte titles, Alejandro Telémaco Tarraf’s “Piedra Sola” (Lonely Rock) is an Argentina-Mexico co-production from Viento Cine. The fable follows an indigenous herder in the Argentine highlands as he hunts down an invisible puma terrorizing his flock of llama. In tracking the beast, he confronts himself, his ancestors and a mystical shapeshifting creature. Telémaco’s work has feature at major festivals such as Rotterdam, Bafici and Busan; he participated in Berlinale Talents in 2014.