Juan Marisé’s “Camionero,” Laura Baumeister’s “Daughter of Rage” and Ion Bors’ “Carbon” triumphed Wednesday at San Sebastian Festival’s prize ceremony for winners at its main industry competitions: the Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum and WIP Latin America and WIP Europa pix-in-post showcases.
Also among victors were Juan Andrés Arango’s “Where the River Begins,” María Zanetti’s “Alemania,” Carlos Lechuga’s “Vicenta B.,” and Eduardo Crespo’s “The Wind’s Cave,” the latter walking off with the trophy at San Sebastián’s Ikusmira Berriak, fast emerging as one of the key young talent hubs in Spain.
Three of the seven winning titles are from Argentina, a sign of the country’s undeniable depth in talent as its industry, with COVID-19 on the wane, continues to be whammied by economic crisis.
The caliber of many Latin American producers with projects at the Forum suggest another strong year for an event which has consolidated as one of the strongest co-production events in Europe – at a time when production partnerships looks like the only way for filmmakers to finance an art film of any ambitions.
Co-written by Marise and Spanish director Javier Rebollo, a San Sebastian 2009 best director winner for “Woman Without Piano,” “Camionero” took the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum Best Project Award for an Argentine-set tale of male angst, joy and solitude.
The project is described by Marise as a road movie without a road, with mechanics, prostitutes, men who lead double-lives and absent characters. Spain’s Lolita Films and Argentina’s Amateur Cinema produce.
Now a double prize winner at San Sebastian without even being finished – it swept three of the four prizes on offer at its 2019 Forum – “Daughter of Rage” was always a frontrunner at WIP Latam, backed by no less than six production partners from Nicaragua, Mexico, Netherlands, Germany, France, Norway, and offering a potent mix of biting social realist and oneiric lyricism.
It turns on 11-year-old María who seethes with rage at her mother’s abandonment of her at a garbage dump in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital. She uses her dreams to explain what’s happened.
The WIP Europa Industry Award and WIP Europa Award both went to “Carbon,” the first feature from Moldova’s Bors, whose debut short “One Less One More” scooped the best international short debut award at Spain’s Huesca Festival. Set in the ‘90s, “Carbon” sees two men, Dima and Vasea, enlist in the army. On their way to the front, they stumble across a carbonized body and set out to establish its identity It soon proves an absurd act. The film is a tragi-comedy about Moldova’s absurd past, according to the director.
Further plaudits at the Forum went to Arango’s “Where the River Begins” and Zanetti’s “Alemania.” In development at Paola Pérez’s Inercia Películas, “River” weighs in as a jungle set relationship drama between and an Embera woman and young white gang member. It’s the third feature from on-the-rise Colombian auteur Arango, director of Cannes’ 2012 Un Certain Regard title “La Playa D.C.” and the multi-prized “X500.”
Set up at Juan Pablo Miller’s Buenos Aires-based Tarea Fina – producer of crafted features such as Pablo Giorgelli’s Cannes Camera d’Or winner “Las Acacias,” Ariel Rotter’s “Incident Light” and Paula Hernández’s “The Sleepwalkers,” Argentina’s Oscar submission – Zanetti’s feature debut centers on a teen girl’s coming of age drama, set for the most part in a town near Buenos Aires.
Offering an oblique acknowledgement of the passing of an era, Lechuga’s “Vicente B.,” which nabbed the Egeda Platino Industria Award for the Best WIP Latam film, turns on a santera in modern-day Havana who can see people’s future. When her daughter disappears, she’s unable to understand what’s happening or why she’s being left alone.
The production is lead produced by Claudia Calviño at Cuba’s Cacha Films and sold by Habanero. It marks the third feature from Carlos Lechuga, whose “Santa and Andrés” played Toronto and San Sebastián’s Horizontes Latinos in 2016.
“The Wind Grotto,” from Argentine director-screenwriter and DoP Crespo, centers on Horacio, a veterinarian who emigrated to Italy from Argentina several years ago. He lives with his young daughter Mara, an introvert who is passionate about caving. When they meet deep in the mountains, however, they finally open up to each other. Crespo’s “We Will Never Die” competed at San Sebastian last year.
INDUSTRY AWARDS 2021
WIP Latam Industry Award
“Daughter of Rage,” (Laura Baumeister, Nicaragua, Mexico, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Norway)
Egeda Platino Industria Award
“Vicenta B.,” (Carlos Lechuga, Cuba, Colombia, Norway, France)
WIP Europa Industry Award
“Carbon,” (Ion Borș, Republic of Moldova, Romania)
WIP Europa Award
“Carbon,” (Ion Borș, Republic of Moldova, Romania)
IKUSMIRA BERRIAK AWARD
Irusoin Post-Production Award
“The Wind’s Cave,” (Eduardo Crespo, Argentina)
X EUROPE-LATIN AMERICA CO-PRODUCTION FORUM AWARDS
Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum Award
“Camionero,” (Francisco Marise, Spain, Argentina)
Dale! Award (Development Latin America-Europe)
“Where the River Begins,” (Juan Andrés Arango, Colombia, Canada, France)
Artekino International Prize
“Alemania,” (Maria Zanetti, Argentina, Germany)