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Ventana Sur: ‘Warrior,’ ‘Convince Me,’ ’When Evil Lurks,’ ‘Leon’ Win Big at Latin America’s Largest Market

Juan Bernardo Sanchez Mejia in Residencia Fantastica Tinta Oscura
Courtesy of Agavia Studios, 2022

BUENOS AIRES  — Tinta Oscura winner Juan Bernardo Sánchez Mejía, Netflix awardee “Convince Me,” Argentine art film “León,” animated series “Choco” and the Shudder-coproduced “When Evil Lurks” walked off with some of the biggest prizes on Dec. 2 at a multitudinous Ventana Sur prize ceremony whose whooped applause at each and every winner attested also to the youth of Latin America’s film and TV industries.

The 47 allotted prizes also underscore just how broadly Ventana Sur has diversified from its art pic base into a building gamut of carefully targeted growth sectors for Latin America. Following, a breakdown of prize highlights in a fast-paced ceremony – winners basically made it to the stage for a just a photo – which still lasted the best of two hours. 

Tinta Oscura: ‘Warrior’ Supercharged by Ventana Sur Jackpot

The big one. A $25,000 cash prize  – a record for Ventana Sur – for the winning screenwriter, backed by Guadalajara’s Agavia Studios, Blood Window and Filma Jalisco, and won by young Mexican scribe Juan Bernardo Sánchez Mejía for the screenplay of “Warrior” (“Guerrero”). The project turns on a young ex-soldier who must summon courage to save his town against a deadly, ferocious sniper. “Guerrero is a slasher full of tension, endearing characters and a hero who underscores the importance of embracing our fears and turning them into our greatest strengths,” Ian Martin, director and producer at Agavia Studios, said at the ceremony. Meanwhile, Gustavo Castillón, CEO of Agavia Studios, confirmed that “Warrior” will be put into production in 2023. The screenplay was the result not of natural talent but 1,000 hours of work, which was the only reason it won, Sánchez Mejía said modestly via a video conference link.

SoloSerieS: Netflix Chooses ‘Convince Me,’ BBC Studios ‘TimeCode’ and ‘Fugitives’

Relatively unknown outside her native Argentina, Vera Fogwill beat out two big fest winners, Dominga Sotomayor (“Too Late to Die Young”) and Francisca Alegría (“And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye”), to win Netflix’s SoloSeries prize with a dark dramedy, “Convince Me.” It turns on Ariel, 27, who jumps from a seventh storey window to his death, he thinks, only to survive. BBC Studios’ three-month mentorships went to Bolivia’s “Timecode,” described by Variety as a “paranoid thriller,” and “Fugitives,” a road movie paean to sisterhood as four women flee their former lives and hit the road. 

Primer Corte/Copia Final: ‘Leon,’ ‘Almamula,’ ’Betânia’ Head Trophy Trawl

“Leon,” in which a lesbian battles for custody of her dead partner’s son, scooped art pix-in-post Primer Corte’s biggest prize, the Cine+ Club Award, consisting of a €15,000 ($15,600) sweetener to a French distributor buying the film. From France’s Tu Vas Voir (“The Kings of the World,” “Ixcanul”) and Argentina’s Twin Latin Towns, “Almamula,” about a guilt-ridden young homosexual in Argentina’s deep north, walked off with the same award  in “Copia Final,” a showcase for titles nearer to completion. 

The sections’ favourite, however, was triple prize winner “Betânia,” from Brazilian TV director Botto (“Foca News”), the grounded tale of a widow, Betânia, 64, attempting to adapt to life in a village, after abandoning her lone existence in a house on the dunes. 

Betania Courtesy of Ventana Sur

Proyecta: ‘The Beach House’ Wins, ‘The Meltdown’ Impresses

One film won both awards: “The Beach House,” from Costa Rica’s Kim Elizondo, a sensitive take on the economics of gender politics for a now older woman, and a sign of yet another emerging talent from the Central America country, after Locarno winner “I Have Electric Dreams.” Drawing heat was Manuela Martelli’s “The Meltdown” (“El deshielo”), an aimed-for second part of a trilogy begun with Directors’ Fortnight title “Chile, 1976,” but a departure in style, a highly metaphoric thriller on Chile in 1992, in transition from dictatorship to democracy, opening up to liberal economics but still battling with hidden undercurrents from a dark Pinochet past. 

The Beach House IFF Panama

Blood Window: Shudder Scores With Rugna; ‘Destello,’ ‘Fish Girl’ Have Their Fans

The biggest event screening at Ventana Sur unspooled Thursday when Aramos Cine/Machaco Films joint venture La Puerta Roja unveiled “When Evil Lurks,” the latest from Demián Rugna, whose “Terrified” was picked up for remake by Guillermo del Toro. Pic marks AMC Networks Shudder’s first Spanish-language co-production. It played to a rousing reception. “Evil” scooped  the Blood Window Screenings Award – a ticket to Blood Window Showcase at Cannes Marché du Film. “The Glimpse,” from Uruguayan commercials director Guillermo Carbonell, about a woman who, tired of fighting cancer, retreats to her family country house to die on her own terms – nabbed double honors. 

Shown in a still too long two-hour cut, “Fish Girl,” from Ecuador’s Javier Cutrona, in which an amnesia afflicted girl’s mental void is occupied by a giant imaginary fish, also had its fans.

Film.io –  the world’s first filmmaking industry DAO, is awarding 15 NFT’s created by Flavio Greco Paglia, a world-renowned fantasy and horror artist who has created artwork for acclaimed directors such as James Wan and Demián Rugna, to every Blood Window winner.

Animation! Issue-Powered Titles ‘Choco,’ ‘The Impossible Future,’ ‘Esther’ Shine

Three buzz titles at Animation! a platform for premium Latin American movies and series, went on to take double honors at Friday’s ceremony: “Choco: The Land and the Monsters,” a parable of inclusivity from Colombia’s Estefanía Piñeres Duque, boasting delicate 2D character design inspired in part by Indigenous communities; “The Impossible Future,” a doc series written by Fernando Salem (“Como funcionan todas las cosas”) which remarkably delivers practical solutions to the planet’s main problems; and empowerment tale “Esther,” about a young girl apprentice shaman, set in an attractively drawn 2D modern-day world.

“Choco: The Land and the Monsters” wins Credit: Virginia Juarez

WIP Paradiso Award

A $10,000 cash prize given by the enterprising Brazilian foundation Projeto Paradiso was won by “Paraguayan Loves,” directed by Janaína Marques, a mother-daughter reconciliation drama playing in Ventana Sur’s market screenings and produced by Moçambique Audiovisual (“Greta”).

Punto Genero: ‘Diamond’ Shows Its Worth Taking two honors at Locarno’s Open Doors and three at Sanfic Industria, Bolivian drama “Diamond,” the feature debut of Yashira Jordan following an Indigenous trap-singing teen as she searches for her estranged father, continued its triumphant run, sharing the Género Dac Award. A “fusion of magic realism and rawness of my Bolivian culture,” says Jordan, the title has “A” fest selection written over it.

More to come

“Corresponsal” wins Credit: Virginia Juarez

Ventana Sur’s 2022 Prizes:

TINTA OSCURA

“Warrior,” (“Guerrero,” Juan Bernardo Sánchez Mejía, Mexico)

PROJETO PARADISO 

WIP Paradiso

“Paraguayan Loves,”(Janaína Marques)

PRIMER CORTE

Cine+Plus Award

“León,” (Andrea Nachón, Papu Curotto, Argentina)

Titrafilm Award

“Sariri,” (Laura Donoso, Chile)

Sofía Films Award

“Betânia,” (Marcelo Botta, Brazil)

NMF / Color Front Award

“Betânia,”

LaMayor Cine Award

“Adiós Amor,” (Indra Villaseñor Amador, Mexico)

RECAM Award

“Betânia,”

Festival de Trieste APCLAI Award

“Monstruo de Xibalba,” (Manuela Irene, Mexico)

CAACI

“Monstruo de Xibalba,”

COPIA FINAL

Cine+Plus Award

“Almamula,” (Juan Sebastián Torales, Argentina, France, Italy)

Titrafilm Award

“Corresponsal,” (Emiliano Serra, Argentina)

Festival de Trieste APCLAI Award

“No nos moverán,” (Pierre Saint Martin Castellanos, Mexico)

Percepciones Textuales Award

“La Hijas,” (Kattia Zúñiga, Panama, Chile)

SOLOSERIES

Netflix Award

“Convince Me,” (Vera Fogwill, Argentina)

BBC Studios Award

“Timecode,” (Mauricio Zeballos, Bolivia)

“Fugitivas,” (Guadalupe Yepes, Bolivia)

Flixxo Award Special Mentions

“Pensadero,” (Matías Dinardo, Argentina)

“Fantastic Sex Shop,” (Daniel Esteban Jácome Muñoz, Ecuador)

Main Award

“Gualicho,” (Luciano Redigonda, Argentina)

PROYECTA

Marché du Film–Festival de Cannes Award

“La casa de playa,” (Kim Elizondo, Costa Rica, Colombia)

Fulgor Lab Award

“La casa de playa,” (Kim Elizondo, Costa Rica, Colombia)

ANIMATION!

MIFA/Annecy Special Mention

“Amigos,” (Gabriel Nobrega, Brazil)

“Teke uneka (No te entiendo),” (Marcelo Dematei, Argentina, Colombia, Spain)

MIFA/Annecy Award

“El futuro imposible,” (Martín Haas, Antonio Balseiro, Argentina)

“Esther,” (Ezequiel Torres, Argentina)

“Chocó: la tierra y los monstruos,” (Estefanía Piñeres Duque, Colombia)

“Mi papá el camión,” (María Cristina Pérez, Colombia)

Pixelatl Award

“Elementarios,” (Pablo Conde, Argentina)

WEIRD Animation, Video Games & New Media Market Award

“Esther,” (Ezequiel Torres, Argentina)

 Quirino Ibero-American Animation Award

“El futuro imposible,” (Martín Haas, Antonio Balseiro, Argentina)

“Rei Gastão,” (Diogo Viegas, Brazil, Portugal)

La Liga de la Animación Iberoamericana Award

“Chocó: la tierra y los monstruos,” (Estefanía Piñeres Duque, Colombia)

LatinX in Animation Award

“Negocio de brujas,” (Alejandra Jaramillo Fanta, Chile)

BLOOD WINDOW

Sitges, Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia Award

“El destello,” (Guillermo Carbonell, Uruguay)

Bifan/NAFF Award

“Plasma,” (Daniel Aspillaga, Chile)

APIMA Asociación de Productores Independientes de Medios Audiovisuales Award

“Anómico,” (Andrés Beltrán Nossa, Colombia)

Terror Molins Film Festival

“La reina,” (Jimena Monteoliva, Argentina)

Cine Qua Non Lab Award

“El destello,” (Guillermo Carbonell, Uruguay)

La Mayor Award

“El escuerzo,” (Augusto Sinay, Argentina)

Sofia Films Award

“Fish Girl,” (Javier Cutrona, Ecuador)

Chemistry Award

“María,” (Nicanor Loreti, Gabriel Grieco, Argentina)

Lahaye Media Award

“El escuerzo,” (Augusto Sinay, Argentina)

Blood Window Screenings Award

“When Evil Lurks,” (Demián Rugna, Argentina) 

Filma Jalisco – Agavia Award

“Warrior,” (Mexico)

Woman In Fan

“Los visitantes,” (Lucía Nieto Salazar, Uruguay 

PUNTO GENERO

Género-Dac Award (Argentine Film Directors)

“Diamante,” (Yashira Jordán, Bolivia, Argentina)

“Um casamento,” (Maíra Bühler, Brazil) 

Apima Género Award

“Azul verde,” (Paulina Urreta Torres, Mexico)

 LAS MAQUINITAS

Maquinitas Award Best Art

“Beacon of Neyda,” (Christian Daniel Molina, Argentina)

Maquinitas Award Best Design

“Chai,” (Andrea Odreman, Argentina)

Maquinitas Award Best Technical Challenge

“Project R,” (Branko Milic, Chile) 

Maquinitas Award $1,000

“The Ballad of Bonky,” (Francisco Nuñez, Argentina) 

EL PRINCIPIO DEL FILM

Final Draft Award

“La que te parió!,” (Gwenn Joyaux, Leandro Filozof, Argentina)

“K-Preto,” (Raul Perez, Brazil)

“Desierto rosa,” (Constanza Majluf Baeza, Chile)

“Madre,” (Edwin Restrepo, Colombia)

“Silencio y paz,” (Yoe Pérez Carrazana, Cuba)

“La maquillista,” (Omar Gómez Arias, Sophia Barba Her, Mexico)

DOCSUR

Festival de Trieste APCLAI Award

“In The Shade of Light,” (Isabel Reyes, Ignacia Merino Chile)

APIMA DOC Award

“Crazy for Bento,” (Giuliana Monteiro, Brasil)

DOCU DAC Award

“Thus spoke the mountains,” (Álvaro Sarmiento, Peru)

Edgar Allan Post Award

“My Benjamin,” (Victoria Clay Mendoza, Mexico, France)

El Cono del Silencio Award

“WACAY, Tobacco Women,” (Belén Revollo,Argentina)

Guateque Cine Award

“Souls,” (Laura Basombrío, Argentina)

Percepciones Textuales Award

“Lovers in the sky,” (Fermin de la Serna, Argentina)

“In The Shade of Light,” (Isabel Reyes, Ignacia Merino Chile)

Conicet Documental Award

“Los visitantes,” (Argentina)

Cannes Docs, Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes Award

“Criminal Body,” (Bolivia)

Doc.co Poster Award

“In The Shade of Light,” (Isabel Reyes, Ignacia Merino Chile)

Special Mention DOCSUR 2022

“Handler,” (Pedro Cayota, Uruguay, Argentina, Spain)

“Planes,” (Argentina, Uruguay)