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Thrown into the limelight by the Oscar nomination for Maite Alberdi’s “The Mole Agent” in 2021, Chilean documentaries been growing in stature worldwide for years.

At Cannes, venerable Patricio Guzman world premieres his latest doc, “My Imaginary Country” (“Mi País Imaginario”) as a special screening, following on his lauded “The Cordillera of Dreams” which was awarded the 2019 L’œil d’Or award for Cannes’ best documentary. Matias Rojas’ “Our Memory” will be among the spotlighted projects at Cannes Docs. A Chilean Docs in Progress showcase, slated for May 23 at Cannes Doc Day, is creating considerable expectation.

Chilean documentaries often reflect the major social problems the country is undergoing,”  says Chiledoc director Paula Ossandon.

One instance, she notes, is a number of films dealing with the great social upheaval that took place in Chile from October 2019 that are beginning to surface, led by “My Imaginary Country.”

“There are also upcoming projects about our president-elect Gabriel Boric, the world’s youngest president, such as the German-Chilean-U.S. co-production ‘Gabriel,’ which screened at Canada’s Hot Docs Forum,” she observes, adding: “The current rewrite of Chile’s constitution is another theme of interest.”

Ossandon notes that there are also more docs exploring gender dissidence and identity. “Ethnic identity (‘On Suspicion: Zokunentu’) is also becoming a more relevant and recurrent theme in Chilean documentaries,” she adds.

The showcase comprises four docs at editing stage. One, “Notes for a Film,” a Chilean-French co-production, is directed by Ignacio Agüero. Based on Belgian engineer Gustave Verniory’s memoir “10 Years in Araucania 1889-1899,” it details the transformation of this unexplored territory of at the turn of the 20th century.

“The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine,” helmed and co-produced by Alfredo Pourailly, follows 62-year-old Toto, the last gold miner standing in far-flung Tierra del Fuego, who is in poor health. His son designs a machine that should alleviate his punishing work.

“Malqueridas,” (meaning “unloved”) by Tana Gilbert and produced by Paola Castillo, reconstructs the experience of motherhood by women in prison, shot with banned cell phones. At the Visions du Réel Pitch last year, it won the opportunity to participate in the German Dok Leipzig festival and its market, DOK Co-Pro Market 2021.

Amanda Rutllant’s “Asteroid 2518” takes in the asteroid that bears her family name. Rutllant’s journey of self-discovery leads her to unearth details of the life and work of her great grandfather, a polemical astrophysicist who attempted to build the largest telescope in Chile’s southern hemisphere during the Cold War.