Chile’s Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic), and Mexico’s top genre festival Morbido have announced the six titles set to participate at the Sanfic-Morbido Lab, held March 23, a COVID-era online rejigging of their existing co-venture.
“Although the pandemic forced us to postpone the August 2020 in-person version of Factoría Morbido-Sanfic, this did not prevent us from continuing our alliance and redesigning the space for an online version in March,” Sanfic Industria head Gabriela Sandoval explained to Variety. “We firmly believe it is necessary to continue developing and promoting Latin American genre cinema, despite the setback.”
Projects will pitch to a jury headed by Spanish horror legend Paco Plaza, creator of the massively successful “REC” franchise which was a box office and critical hit in Spain and in territories abroad, spawning several international remakes including 2008’s U.S. version “Quarantine.”
Morbido founder and CEO Pablo Guisa will act as a mentor for the filmmakers as they prepare their pitches before they are granted access to potential producers, financiers, fund representatives and market-festival programmers. Additionally, one of the projects will be granted the Morbido Festival award and receive backing from the organization to the tune of 30% of the film’s proposed final budget. The sponsorship also assures the project a commercial premiere in Mexico, representation for international sales and programming on pay TV across Latin America through the Morbido TV network.
“I firmly believe that Sanfic and Morbido are creating what will soon be the most important laboratory and factory for genre cinema in Latin America,” Guisa enthusiastically explained to Variety. “Adding to the work we’ve already done together with Ventana Sur’s Blood Window, we will be able to systematically support the development, packaging and production of high-quality genre cinema for Latin America, led by the hand of Morbido, its partners and its platform at large.”
2021 Sanfic-Morbido Projects
“Crono-Capsulas,” (Miguel Gomez, Costa Rica)
“I believe that Latin American cinema can play with genres like science fiction, drama and comedy in a natural way as is done in other countries,” explains Gomez in the promotional material for his proposed eighth feature.
“Crono-Capsulas” is the story of a young psychology student who decides to use an experimental medication to confront past traumas in her love life by traveling back through time. Unfortunately, the funders of this experimental technology are impatient and want to shut down the program.
“El Viejo,” (Sebastian De Caro, Argentina)
When two brothers can no longer afford to keep their father in the institution where he’s been sequestered for years, they promise to visit him at their old family home once he’s settled back in. But old habits die hard, and the former torturer can’t help but act according to his nature.
“For me, the possibility of narrating a story that confronts childhood against the most terrifying history of my country is a unique experience,” De Caro hinted of “El Viejo’s” violent origins.
“The Sugar Girl,” (Javier Velasquez Varela, Peru)
A young reporter settles into his new apartment in Iquitos, Peru, on the second-highest floor of a well-kept building. Idyllic in many ways, his new life is hindered by the constant appearance of the young girl from the floor above who knocks on his door asking for sugar before ascending back home. Eventually, the young man confronts the doorman, asking him to reach out to the girl’s family about the constant disturbances, but is shocked to learn that nobody has lived on the top floor for years. The project has already won backing from a Peruvian Ministry of Culture feature film project competition and has a gameplan for major market and festival appearances planned across 2021-22.
“The Night of the Living Dead,” (Cristóbal Ross Zamudio, Chile)
As the title indicates, Ross’ project Romero-throwback, is a good old-fashioned zombie flick with a cabin in the woods, shotguns, explosions and loads and loads of blood and guts. When two intrepid travelers escape their own brushes with death, they cross paths at an isolated cabin, quickly realizing they’re not alone.
“Of all the edges that this project addresses, the one that interests me most as a director is exploring the status of auteur in cinema, investigating a new status of ‘rewriter,’” Ross explained, comparing his ambitions to those of the early DJs to sample popular music to create something new and fresh.
“Matria,” (Sandra Arriagada, Chile)
Arriagada has spent the last decade writing, producing and directing for film and TV. Her latest proposition, “Matria,” is a black comedy in which a vengeful former Spanish military officer lures seven vile men into a trap on behalf of women they’ve wronged in the past. Each thinks he’s won a prize, but upon arrival at the venue is made a contestant in a violent game of death with only one winner. Daniela Vega (“A Fantastic Woman”), Gaston Pauls (“The Prince”) and Itziar Castro (“Locked Up”) are attached to star.
“I will be honored if after the laughter and the screams, ‘Matria’ makes someone think. Or freak out and think twice before being a jerk,” says Arriagada.
“Santos Remedios,” (Sofia Garza-Barba, Mexico)
Young Amapola idolizes her father, although doesn’t remember the man, he left when she was a baby. When it becomes clear that his promised re-appearance at her eighth birthday will not come to pass, the girl follows a coyote which leads her not to her father, but to La Santa Muerte, The Holy Death. Desperate to find him, Amapola makes a deal with the devil.
According to Garza-Barba, “This movie will be driven by fantastic elements created in the main character’s own imagination, allowing the viewer to connect with Amapola’s emotions.”