Chile is starting its own big restart. Few national industries will have a larger online presence at this year’s Cannes Film Market. Big name news has broken in early market plays as well.
After features with Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams (“Disobedience”) and Julianne Moore (“Gloria Bell”), Academy Award winner Sebastián Lelio, (“A Fantastic Woman”) will associate produce “El Porvenir de la Mirada,” a doc feature that captures the trauma of some of the 460 protesters shot in the eyes by Chilean police during massive demonstrations that erupted in October 2019.
Set up at Storyboard Media (“Santiago, Italia,” “Jailbreak Pact”), “Porvenir” is directed by distinguished Chilean doc filmmaker Cristián Leighton (“Kawase San,” “Nowheremen”).
Even while gearing up to direct Joaquin Phoenix in A24’s “Disappointment Blvd.,” Ari Aster has signed on to executive produce Chilean stop-motion short “The Bones,” directed by Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña (“The Wolf House”) with a soundtrack composed by acclaimed U.S. violinist Tim Fain, featured on the scores of “Moonlight,” “Black Swan” and “12 Years a Slave.”
Meanwhile, three awaited first features are rolling or will soon go into production: “1976,” from “Machuca” star Manuela Martelli (who is also developing “Deshielo”), which shoots in August, produced by Wood Prods. and Cinestación; Francisca Alegria’s “The Cow Who Sang a Song About the Future,” inspired by her international fiction short winner at 2017’s Sundance; and Felipe Gálvez’s “The Settlers,” a five-way international co-production, rolling in November.
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Also produced by Giancarlo Nasi, “Blanquita,” Fernando Guzzoni’s follow-up to San Sebastian competition contender “Jesus,” rolled in May. Set up at Pablo and Juan de Dios Larrain’s Fabula, “The Sorcerers,” from Christopher Murray — whose “The Blind Christ” played in Venice competition — starts lensing in early August.
Storyboard Media will present a new production, “Un buen día para morir,” inspired by an extraordinary true story, at the Cannes’ Producers Network.
“The participation at the Cannes Film Market of so many titles, shot or completed during COVID-19, as well as the announcement of new shoots, underscores that, despite such difficult circumstances, Chile’s audiovisual industry is still in good health and now looking towards the future,” says Constanza Arena, CinemaChile executive director. 2021 sees a record 121 productions, between narrative features, documentaries and shorts, she adds.
Chile’s news and Marché du Film presence also says a lot about the country’s post-pandemic cinema.
With the breakthrough of a Novíssimo Cine Chileno at the 2005 Valdivia Festival, its cinema began to discover not only a new generation of filmmakers but also a voice — one that countered official versions and plumbed the hostages left to fortune by Augusto Pinochet’s bloody dictatorship.
That voice still resonates loud and clear in many new productions, whether in “The Settlers,” a searing but lucid indictment of how Chile’s West was really won; or “1976,” a study of a pervasive modern malaise, a woman’s unconscious self-repression in a highly conservative environment, three years into Pinochet’s dictatorship.
At its birth, the Novissimo Cine Chileno was a near male-monopolized affair. But now, women call the shots in Chile. “1976,” for instance, is produced by Wood’s Alejandra García and Omar Zuñiga, partnered at Cinestación by Dominga Sotomayor, one of seven directors in Cannes Special Screening “The Year of Everlasting Storm.” Sotomayor’s also opening an open air cinema, CCC, in Santiago. “The Sorcerers” is produced by Rocío Jade, “Porvenir” and “Morir” by Gabriela Sandoval and Carlos Nunez, who head up Chile’s Sanfic Festival.
Emerging from pandemic, Chile is firing on four cylinders. Presentations include not only a Producers Network, but an Animation Work in Progress, Chile Docs in Progress and a Sanfic Goes to Cannes. Chile is coming back.