Ventana Sur’s Blood Window Works in Progress sidebar, along with the event’s Screenings and project pitchings, have firmly cemented the annual event as one of the standout dates for genre cinema in Latin America and abroad. This year, six works in progress will screen as part a hybrid Ventana Sur market which will run Nov. 29 through Dec. 3.
The 2021 selection of works in progress can, in some ways, be seen as a return to form for the event. Over the past several years, the types of films screened in the section have diversified to include science fiction, fantasy and thriller propositions, in addition to the traditional horror flicks on which it was founded. For 2021, however, terror is the name of the game once again, with all six films self-defining as either horror, thriller or a combination of the two genres.
Also notable is the impressive spread of countries contributing to the section. It is common among similar events in Latin America to favor local titles, but this year’s section features only one Argentine production while hosting films from Ecuador, Chile, Panama and two from Brazil.
As is the case each year, San Sebastian Film Festival director José Luis Rebordinos once again curated the Blood Window works in progress selection.
2021 Blood Window Works in Progress
“In the Forest” (Christian Rojas, Pablo Juela, Ecuador)
Oso Rojo Films (“Haquero”) backs this fantasy thriller about Ana, a journalist covering the procession of the Virgin de Cisne, who happens upon an indigenous village where several women have been blinded after allegedly being raped by a goblin said to be guarding a cypress tree. Unwilling to accept the supernatural story, Ana begins investigating the truth of the matter, and ends up finding that sometimes truth is more horrifying than fiction.
“Eros Thanatos” (Felipe Eluti, Chile)
From the three-man team of Sebastian Amenabar, Daniel Vivanco and Eluti at Chilean genre specialists, “Eros Thanatos” unspools within a love triangle in which each of the characters is defined by their emotional shortcomings, hence the Freudian title, and are exploited by the circumstances of their toxic relationships and a supernatural secret.
“The Farm” (Alberto Serra, Panama)
Serra, who studied film in the U.S., Brazil and Czech Republic before returning to Panama, directs this story of two sisters who move to their grandmother’s farm and are quickly thrust into a fight for survival against the demons which have been torturing the older woman for years. WP Films, a company with Canadian roots but now based in Panama, produces.
“Don’t Come Back Alive” (Néstor Sánchez, Argentina)
Buenos Aires’ Del Toro Films, backers of Daniel de la Vega’s 2020 Blood Window standout “On the Third Day” and Mauro Iván Ojeda’s Fantasia, Sitges and FrightFest player “The Funeral Home,” returns with this better-off-dead tale of police officer Camila who, while interrupting a mass-suicide-by-immolation ceremony, falls into a coma. After waking from her unconscious state, Camilla is haunted by a female albino figure from the ceremony which plays twisted games with the stricken officer, her partner and the criminal prosecutor with whom they’re working. Featured at this year’s Marché du Film.
“Niobe” (Fernando Mamari, Brazil)
Pajé Produções Culturais founder Mamari produces and directs this thriller set at a high-profile party world where executive John hires a group of luxury call girls for a meeting with several major players in the worlds of business and politics, including a head of state. As things begin to unravel, the future of a country falls into the hands of seven prostitutes.
“The Basement” (Sabrina Greve, Brazil)
Another Brazilian feature, this time from Sao Paulo-based Coração da Selva, producers of Karim Aïnouz’s San Sebastian-winner “Future Beach,” “The Basement” turns on siblings Jonas and Rebecca and their co-dependent relationship after their parents’ deaths. When Rebecca starts to look for more independence, Jonas goes to unhealthy extremes to protect the world the two have made for themselves as shut-ins.