Last year's blog on Latin America in Sundance had more to say and more films to choose to talk about, including Lucy Walker's acclaimed Waste Land which I loved back then. This year's Slamdance has 3 Latino films. One, Drama, is most notable because of its filmmaker. Matias Lira spent much time here in L.A. and we even eagerly sponsored him for his green card. Matias graduated UCLA Film School and stayed on as an acquisitions person for a large Latin American distributor. He seemed to be the only genuine Latino here and looked like he was going to go to the highest levels possible here. But Chile suddenly awoke and created a film world where the number of films increased from 4 a year to 20 and he acquired a distribution company, Bazuca Films, also known as BF Distribution, which today commands 20% market share. The next thing I knew he was back in Chile producing their first gay film, and then, he told me he was going to direct. And so today Drama is showing in Slamdance. Be sure to see it and to meet Matias if you have any interest in in Latin America cinema today, this man has his finger in every pie. Drama won won the $80,000 post-production prize for works in progress from Latin America at last year's Festival Del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano in Havana and was one of two winners of the first notice of fund IBERMEDIA 2008.
The other Latino films in Slamdance and Sundance...
All Your Dead Ones (Todos Tus Muertos) Colombia (Director Carlos Moreno)
All Your Dead Ones (Todos Tus Muertos)/Colombia (Director Carlos Moreno; Screenwriters: Alonso Torres and Carlos Moreno) — One morning, a peasant wakes to find a pile of bodies in the middle of his crops. When he goes to the authorities, he quickly realizes that the dead ones are a problem nobody wants to deal with. Cast: Alvaro Rodríguez, Jorge Herrera, Martha Marquez, Harold Devasten, John Alex Castillo. World Premiere. This film showed as a work in progress at San Sebastian and it captured all of our affection. See it.
The Cinema Hold Up (Asalto Al Cine)/Mexico (Director: Iria Gómez Concheiro; Screenwriters: Iria Gómez Concheiro and Juan Pablo Gómez) — Four childhood friends in Mexico’s Guerrero colony toy with the idea of robbing a cinema. Each hopes that the heist will hurtle them past life’s obstacles, only to realize that the caper risks the only thing they have: their friendship. Cast: Gabino Rodríguez, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Ángel Sosa, Paulina Avalos. World Premiere. This film was also a work in progress in San Sebastian. It has its charms, is young and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Ticket to Paradise (Boleto al Paraiso)/Cuba (Director: Gerardo Chijona Valdes; Screenwriters: Gerardo Chijona Valdes, Francisco Garcia Gonzalez and Maykel Rodriguez Ponjuan) — A teenage girl running away from her father’s sexual harassment meets a young rocker who has escaped to Havana with his misfit group of friends. Set in 1993, during a period of acute shortages in Cuba, the local AIDS hospice begins to look like an unlikely refuge to the hopeless teens. Cast: Miriel Cejas, Héctor Medina, Dunia Matos, Jorge Perugorria, Luis A. Garcia. World Premiere. Cuban? You know I want to see this one!!
“Atrocious” - directed by Fernando Barreda Luna. (Mexico, Spain) World Premiere, 75 min
Recorded evidence of the “Quintanilla Murder Investigation.”
Cast: July Quintanilla, Cristian Quintanilla