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Sanfic Industria: 6 Takes on South America’s Biggest First Half 2021 Industry Event

Real Time
Courtesy of SANFIC

Pushed back from last August and now held online as COVID-19 still rages in Chile, Sanfic Industria, the high-energy industry part of Santiago de Chile’s Sanfic festival, runs March 18-26. Given its context, it bids to play an even more crucial role in Latin America’s industry re-set after experiencing a more punishing pandemic impact than any other part of the world.

Sanfic Industria: More Growth, Despite COVID-19

Over the last 12 months, film and TV events, whether virtual or on-site, have almost all slimmed. Sanfic Industria, in contrast, is expanding, adding a much-awaited Series Lab showcase. Santiago Lab has already evolved massively over the last two-to-three years, blossoming from a tight-knit niche launchpad for promising titles to a can’t-miss event for many of the region’s most ambitious projects.

Further growth, and a move into drama series, looked inevitable. Over the last five years, high-end drama series production in Chile have inherited much of the energy, caliber, ambitions and indeed talent of its filmic counterpart which, for near 15 years, has punched far above its weight in festival prizes, overseas box office and movement into English-language production. The same could be said of Chile’s doc production in a month when Maite Alberdi has become the first Chilean doc director – and woman – to become nominated for an Oscar with the “The Mole Agent”. The question now is whether Sanfic Industria can help the Sanfic Festival power up, playing off its homegrown industry’s international firepower as the most vibrant festival in South America.

Manna from Heaven for Latin America

Certainly, Sanfic Industria comes to Latin America’s rescue. Normally running in March, Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival, with its own muscular industry program, is pushing back to later in the year. Bafici, the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema, inaugurated March 17, has announced but has yet to launch ABC Bafici, a year-round project mentoring program. Hosted by Mexico’s Ficunam, the 3rd Catapulta Cine, a launchpad for projects and pix-in-post, runs March 24-27. As things stand, however, both look like smaller initiatives than Sanfic Industria, that is shaping up as the biggest film-TV industry in South America in the first half of this year. Latin America, moreover, very much needs it. Shoots are starting up again in Chile. Most Latin American production companies cannot afford not to make films. Sanfic offers producers a chance to try to monetize its nearly completed productions and fast-track projects as shoot possibilities rise.

That’s appreciated. “We congratulate Gabriela Sandoval for the decision to bring the Sanfic Industria online right now as a way to make up for the cancelled events due to the pandemic,” said top Brazilian producer Fabiano Gullane, one of Latin America’s biggest independent film-TV producers. “Efforts such as this are crucial to this booming Latin American industry, and to make sure we stay connected in a difficult time for our industry as a whole.

Women Move Stage Center

Across the Latin American industry, a push for gender parity has been notable, and Sanfic Industria is no exception. It is headed by Gabriela Sandoval, a producer distributor at Storyboard Media and president of Chile’s APCT producers assn., and five of its seven programmers are women.

Two potential Sanfic-Morbido Lab standouts – Mexican-U.S. director Sofia Garza Barba’s “Santos Remedios” and Sandra Arriagada’s “Matria” – are helmed by women. 17 of the 20 titles in Santiago Lab: Documentaries are produced by women. “Invisible Heroes” producer Parox has just attached Katherina Harder to direct “Silver Bridge,” its next banner series, about Latin America’s first (and woman-run) cocaine cartel. BTF Media’s “Anonymous Voices,” the other big Chilean title at Series Lab, turns on gender violence. They follow on Lucia Puenzo’s Fabula and Fremantle produced “La Jauría,” a feminist psycho-thriller that has become the banner title of new, international and platform-embraced Chilean high-end drama series.

Big Fest Candidates

Sanfic Industria pix-on-post section runs a broad gamut from “Patient(ly),” a scathing attack on Chile’s health system from former Sanfic best director winner to Constanza Fernández to Cuban Gretel Medina’s “Puro Sentimiento,” a doc portrait of a female couple’s stormy love. They may also pack a punch, with titles including “The Life That’s Left” backed by Gullane, Matias Cardone, producer of pioneering Chilean-German series “Dignity,” with “Real Time.” A father-daughter suspense drama set in a rural backwater, “El Ciego” marks the latest from Argentina’s Martin Desalvo (“The Hunter’s Silence”). “That Weekend,” another Work in Progress, marks the feature directorial debut of Mara Pescio, whose writing credits include Argentine Oscar entry “The Sleepwalkers.”

Buzz Titles

Brazilian Giovani Borba’s Pampa-set drama thriller “Empty House”; Alejandro Quiroga’s “Los de Abajo,” a Bolivian neo-Western, also in WIP. Chile-Peru doc “On the Wall,” about Chilean artist Mono González; or missing person doc “Where is Uncle Coco” from Costa Rica’s Estefanie Céspedes.

Fruit of the Morbido-Sanfic genre cinema partnership, Sebastian De Caro’s “El Viejo” looks a fright, while Lab Ficción offers up award-winning director Juan Caceres’ music-driven sophomore effort “Kaye” and Berlin Generation 14Plus Grand Jury winner Roberto Doveris’ “Slay The Dragon.”

Docs Rock

Sanfic Industria’s most diverse Lab this year, in geographic terms at least, is the Lab Documental, featuring projects with co-producers from 11 different countries. The Lab Documental section is also one of the strongest indicators of Sanfic’s growing status internationally, with a quarter of the selected projects resulting from partnerships with the likes of Malaga’s Maff, Colombia’s Salon de Productores de Cali, DocsValencia in Spain, DocsMx from Mexico and Argentina’s Fidba.

Highlights from the stacked section include “Carropasajero” from Colombia’s Los Niños Films, an examination of life on the border between Colombia and Venezuela; a rare Ecuador-Italy co-production between Incubadora and Small Boss in “The Broken R,” a study of language and the relationship between voice and identity; and “Atlas Maps of Memory” from hometown company Santiago Independiente, a look at photography over the last half-century and the importance the field plays in establishing memory.