Chile’s foremost industry forum Sanfic Industria wrapped Friday Aug. 19 with a wealth of prizes doled out to projects from across Latin America and Spain. 

Still reeling from the pandemic, the forum’s 11th year saw another hybrid edition but a definite upsurge in attendance. The various sections included WIP Ibero-American, Santiago Lab: Fiction and Documentary, Sanfic-Mórbido Lab, Sanfic Series and the new space created for female producers, Productoras Lab.

Most telling, a number of projects from small countries and by women directors as well as upcoming new talent triumphed at the forum this year.

Bolivian drama “Diamond,” the feature debut of Yashira Jordan that follows an Indigenous trap-singing teen as she searches for her estranged father, took home the most prizes in the Santiago Lab Fiction section, with three honors, including the BDC Co-Production award. 

Guatemala’s “Kicks of Soil” by Indigenous filmmaker Leyzer Chiquin and Chilean Constanza Figari’s second feature, “A Woman Wants to Die,” won two awards apiece.

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Cachorra ‘Cachorra’ / Courtesy of Machete

In the Santiago Documentary Lab, docu-fiction hybrid “Erratic Blocks” (“Bloques Erraticos”) the first full-length feature doc of Thomas Woodroffe known for his acclaimed short films “Austral Fever” and “Holding Desire,” cleaned up with three prizes. It was recently recognized at the Cannes Marché du Film where it won the Pop Up Film Residency Award at the Short Film Corner and before that the Le Lokal prize at the Cinélatino-Rencontres de Toulouse, among others. 

Doc follows the ghost of photographer Lucien Le Saint after it is freed from a Patagonian glacier. Disoriented, he follows the same route he took 100 years ago, stopping in places where he filmed the native inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego.

The Sanfic-Morbido Lab’s raft of prizes was dominated by “Cachorra,” a darkly comic Mexican horror thriller set on the U.S.-Mexico border from Edher Campos of Machete. “Cachorra” is the feature debut of Madrid-based writer-consultant Elisa Puerto Aubel, who wrote Sitges Audience Award winner, “La venganza de Jairo.” It takes place in the border town of Mexicali where zoo vet Clara Vásquez is brought a female wolf cub, with whom she immediately bonds. Odd things begin to happen and ferocious wolves show up to reclaim the cub.

The new Productoras Lab saw three prizes evenly split among Peru’s “Her Ocean” (“El Mar, La Mar”) to be produced by Maria Paz Barragan with helmer-scribe Julian Amaru; “Fan” by Mariela di Naro of Argentina and Peru’s “Laureano” by Jaisia Figueroa, with Claudia Capatinta to direct.

Among the 10 works in progress (WIP) in contention, the biggest winner was Chilean Alberto Hayden’s feature debut “A Dark Light” (“Una luz negra”) produced by Joaquin Echeverria and Benja Pinto. Hayden’s tale of two adults, a woman mourning her son and the younger man who bears the son’s name and an uncanny resemblance, won the much coveted Yagan Films post production sound award valued at $8,000 and guaranteed participation at Malaga WIP.

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Diamon Courtesy of Alvaro Olmos Torrico

TV series from Colombia trumped rivals at Sanfic Industria’s growing TV sidebar with “Shifting Times” (“Tiempos Mutantes”) snagging three prizes, including accreditation in key markets Conecta Fiction & Entertainment in Spain, BAM in Colombia and Series Mania in France. Another Colombian series, “God Level” (“Nivel Dios”) won participation in Spain’s Filmarket Hub, an online center for features and series in development.

Set in a violent period of Colombia’s history, “Shifting Times” is a Colombian-U.K. production that follows an aspiring British music producer who takes a deep dive into the country’s underground music scene.

“God Level” (“Nivel Dios”) turns on two brothers whose shared passion for hip-hop music allows them to escape their daily routines.

Sanfic Industria ran over Aug. 11-19.

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A Dark Light Courtesy of Sanfic / Joaquin Echeverria