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Fest’s Co-Production Forum: A Drilldown  

Rona
Rona / Courtesy of Emiliano Torres

 

New projects by Argentina’s Anahí Berneri and Emiliano de Torres, both big San Sebastian winners, feature in the 14-project lineup for the 2022 Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum, one of the Spanish festival’s biggest industry events. It runs Sept. 19-21. 

Now preparing her sixth feature, Berneri debuted in 2005 with Berlin Teddy Award winner, “A Year Without Love.” 

Famed as an early Daniel Burman co-scribe and longtime AD, Torres’ feature debut, “The Winter,” bowed in 2016. 

Seigner is best known for 2018’s “Los Silencios,” a supernatural-laced refugee crisis drama. 

Berneri, Torres and Seigner are joined by established filmmakers such as Chile’s Niles Atallah and Spain’s Helena Taberna.

At least half the berths at this year’s Forum, however, are taken by a new generation of emerging directors debuting from 2016, snagging slots at Sundance (Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson, “Summer White,” 2019), Cannes Critics’ Week (Sofía Quiros, “Land of Ashes,” 2019), Berlin Panorama (Clarisa Navas, “One of a Thousand,” 2020 ) or Toronto (Agustina San Martin, “To Kill a Beast,” 2021). 

Ulises Porra’s second feature “Carajita” won San Sebastian’s own prestigious New Directors strand last year in a competition that also featured Juan Sebastián Mesa’s “The Rust,” his sophomore outing

10 of the 14 projects would be second or third features. Their issues  – and those of more mature directors – are very much of this age: a female friendship tale (“La Hija del General”); Argentine rural queer sensibility (“They Burn in the Same Way”); a woman’s renouncement of family (“Rona”); contemporary solitude (“To Die on Your Feet”). 

Epitomising a new generation, one project, Manuel Luque’s “Inspection on Earth,” is sci-fi, another “Todo el mundo,” is from Argentina’s Agustina San Martín, who drew heat with her atmospheric genre allegory “To Kill a Beast.”

Forum Contenders:

“Bajo el mismo sol,” (Ulises Porra, Dominican Republic, Argentina)

Set up at Ulla Prida’s Wooden Boat Prods, Spanish director Porra’s follow-up to “Carajita.” Set in 1820, the historically resonant tale of an entrepreneur, a young Chinese woman and Haitian army deserter battling to create a silk factory in the Dominican Republic.

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 Bajo el mismo sol Courtesy of Wooden Boat Producciones

“The Blue Flamingo,” (“Voo do Flamingo,” Beatriz Seigner, Brazil)

Produced by Brazil’s Abrolhos Filmes and Globo Filmes, a drama about a boy, 11, travelling to a largely abandoned beach town to meet his father for the first time.

“Condensed Milk,” (“Leche Condensada,” Anahí Berneri, Argentina)

From the subtle Berneri, a San Sebastian director winner for 2017’s “Alanis,” “a coming-of-age film about late teenagers and romantic perversions,” she said, based on Mariana Flores’ novel. First up from Pablo Udenio’s new outfit, Dukkah Producciones.  

“The Fire Doll,” (“La muñeca de fuego,” Niles Atallah, Chile, France)

Atallah, whose second film, “Rey,” won a Rotterdam Special Jury Prize in 2017, directs “The Fire Doll,” about a 9-year old girl who discovers a terrible secret about her father’s past. Produced by Chile’s Globo Rojo and France’s Cité Films,  which has also taken sales rights. 

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Rodrigo Patterson, Clarisa Navas and Emiliano Torres

“La Hija del General,” (Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson, Mexico)

Set up at Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo, a friendship tale between two – very different – women during the Mexican Revolution. Directed by Ruiz Patterson, who scored with 2020 Sundance-selected “Summer White,” a psychologically acute coming-of-age-film.

“Inspection on Earth,” (“Inspección en la tierra,” Mariano Luque, Argentina)

Writer-director-producer Luque returns to San Sebastián where his first feature, “Salsipuedes,” played at 2012’s Horizontes Latinos. Set in the coastal town of Los Molinos Lake, in Argentina’s Córdoba, “Inspection” follows a chronicler and a cameraman confronted by an apparent alien invasion. “The pandemic made me rethink the sci-fi genre, I approach it through humor,” Luque said.

“Lovers Go Home!” (Juan Sebastián Mesa, Colombia)

From Mesa, director of the well-received “Rust,” the meeting of a U.S. war vet and Colombian webcamer, both scarred literally by the past. “Lovers” explores “the geopolitics of bodies and characters’ emotional score,” said Mesa. From top Colombian production house Rhayuela, headed by Federico Durán. 

“Madre Pájaro,” (Sofía Quirós Úbeda, Costa Rica-Argentina)

Quirós Úbeda’s sophomore film reunites the same creative team behind her feature debut, 2019 Cannes Critics’ Week player “Land of Ashes,” with producers Mariana Murillo at Costa Rica’s Sputnik Films and Sazy Salim of Argentina’s Murillo Cine on board. In the project, after his mother’s illness, Oliver, 7, becomes increasingly attached to Paloma, a 25-year old neighbor.

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Inspection on Earth Courtesy of Ines Moyano

“Rona,” (Emiliano Torres, Argentina)

Produced by Italian director Emanuele Crialese (“L’immensità,”) and Argentina’s Nicolás Gil Lavedra,

a return to the setting of Torres’’ debut “The Winter,” a 2016 Special Jury Prize and cinematography winner at San Sebastian. This time round it’s for a ”family drama framed in an existential adventure,” Torres said, as a married Norwegian women, given up for dead in the wilds of Patagonia, determines to make a fresh start in life.

“Six Months in the Pink and Blue Building,” (“Seis meses en el edificio rosa con azul,” Bruno Santamaría Razo, Mexico)

Autobiographical, written-directed by the awarded doc director (“Cosas que no hacemos”).” “An opportunity to understand an intimate and familiar event from the past,” in Santamaría’s words, the story, set in the ’90s, follows 10-year-old boy Bru, whose father is diagnosed with HIV, sparking his family’s break-up.

“Todo el mundo” (Agustina San Martín, Argentina)

Hot off Cannes prized short “Monster God” and TIFF selected feature debut “To Kill the Beast,” San Martín follows up with a relationship tale between a girl, 15, whose face is deformed by a large scar, and a “dark” goth boy. Produced by Argentina’s Vega Cine and Gualicho Cine. A title to track.

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They Burn in the Same Way Courtesy of Eugenia Campos de Guevara

“They Burn in the Same Way,” (“Se Queman de la Misma Forma,” Clarisa Navas, Argentina) 

After her powerful breakout, “One in a Thousand,” which opened Berlin’s 2020 Panorama, Navas returns to the Corrientes housing projects where she grew up for a double story of mourning and an exploration of life-affirming Argentine rural queer sensibility. 

“To Die on Your Feet,” (“Morir de Pie,” María Paz González, Chile)

Paz, an actress playing patients at a medical faculty, stops caring about other people. “A bittersweet psychological drama laced with dark humor, about contemporary solitude,” said González. Lead produced by Giancarlo Nasi at Quijote Films (“White on White”), a preeminent Chilean producer.

“Us,” (“Nosotros,” Helena Taberna, Spain)

Taberna directs  -– and also co-writes alongside Virginia Yagüe – a contemporary take on the myth of romantic love. Produced by Iker Ganuza at Spain’s Lamia Producciones. RTVE has acquired Spanish broadcast rights.  

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Juan Sebastian Mesa, Maria Paz Gonzalez and Sofia Quiros