I am in San Sebastian International Film Festival September 20 to 25 covering Films in Progress (Cine en Construccion), Latino films (Horizontes Latinos) and The International Film School Meeting.
Seven films from Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Chile at Films in Progress (Cine en Contruccion) screened September 21 and 22. The first place winner of the Industry Award, consisting of the post-production of a selected film toward its final English subtitled 35mm copy is Entre La Noche y El Dia by Bernardo Arellano (Mexico). The Casa de América Award for Aid to the Post-Production of Latin American Films, carrying €10,000 (gross) went to Iria Gómez Concheiro ♀ for Alsalto Al Cine (Mexico). I think Todos Tus Muertos would have won the Audience Award if there were such an award. Its director, Carlos Moreno, participated in Horizontes Latinos in 2008 with his previous film, Perro come perro.
It was very informative watching the festival programmers (Sundance, Cannes, Abu Dhabi, Sitges, Los Angeles, Dubai...) and the international sales agents (Ondamax, The Match Factory, M-Appeal, Funny Balloons...) circling around these winners.
Below is list of Films in Progress, a joint initiative between San Sebastian Festival and the Rencontres Cinémas d’Amérique Latine in Toulouse These rigorously selected feature films which, though completed, are having difficulty finding their way into the post-production stage, screened for a group of professionals from around the world who may be able to contribute to their completion. This endeavor involves two yearly get-togethers at two different festivals (Toulouse in March and San Sebastian in September).
Entre la noche y el día by Bernardo Arellano (Mexico); Karen llora en un bus by Gabriel Rojas Vera (Colombia); El lenguaje de los machetes by Kyzza Terrazas (Mexico); Mitómana, by José Luis Sepúlveda and Carolina Adriazola (Chile) and Todos tus muertos, by Carlos Moreno (Colombia), who presented Perro come perro in Horizontes Latinos 2008, will all present works for the first time in Films in Progress, while Asalto al Cine by Iría Gómez Concheiro (Mexico) and Distancia by Sergio Ramírez (Guatemala) will have their second opportunity in San Sebastian, competing for the post-production Industry Prize.
Mikel Olaciregui, outgoing Director of San Sebastian Film Festival
Films in Progress
Asalto al cine
Asalto al cine (The Cinema Hold Up)
Mexico- 115 m.
Director: Iría Gómez Concheiro ♀
Screenplay: Juan Pablo Gómez, Iría Gómez Concheiro
Photography: Alberto Anaya Adalid
Cast: Gabino Rodríguez, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Angel Sosa, Paulina Avalos, Dolores Heredia
Asalto al cine tells the tale of four youngsters: Negus, Chale, Sapo and Chata. Friends since childhood, the teenagers come from a block of flats in Mexico’s Guerrero colony and have too much time on their hands. They start toying with the idea of robbing a cinema. Each has a different problem and finds his own reason to go ahead with the heist. The adventure brings them into a head-on clash with their lives and threatens the only thing they have: their friendship.
My opinion: It works, the character development of four bored urban kids works and the action of the hold-up works, but the slow pacing of general boredom, the malaise of the urban poor, boring in itself needs hot hip-hop soundtrack to make the movie hold interest. Producers are planning to use completion monies for this and other post-production elements. Actor Gabino Rodríguez is in this, in A Tiro de Piedro a film from last year's Cine en Construccion and in a third film here, Entre la noche y el día (Between Night and Day).
Guatemala- 75 m.
Director: Sergio Ramírez
Screenplay: Sergio Ramírez
Photography: Álvaro Rodríguez
Cast: Carlos Escalante, Saknicté Racancoj, Julián León, Maya Núñez, Sécil de León
Tomás Choc is two days and 150 kilometres away from being reunited with Lucía, his only daughter, kidnapped by the Army 20 years ago during the Guatemalan War when she was nothing but a 3 year-old tot. Despite the pain of her absence, to keep her history alive, Tomás has kept a log of his struggle, resistance and survival in the hope of one day being able to give it to his daughter.
My opinion: Of the 4 films screened the first day, this one wins my prize. The heartfelt resolution of one man and his child and the war which tore them and others apart, the view into Guatemalan culture won my heart.
Entre la noche y el día
Entre la noche y el día (Between Night and Day)
Mexico- 75 m.
Director: Bernardo Arellano
Screenplay: Bernardo Arellano
Photography: Damián Aguilar
Cast: Francisco Cruz, Gabino Rodríguez, Carmen Beato, Arcelia Ramírez, Joaquín Cosío
Francisco, a lonely and neglected autism sufferer, finds a rat and makes it his pet. Discovering the animal, the family throws him out. He moves to his sister’s house in a remote village, but there too is met with rejection. He runs away into the forest, where the beauty of nature surprises him until a fall teaches him that it can also be inhospitable. Rescued and cured by an old man, he discovers a new way of life in the silent forest.
My opinion: Second prize of the first day. Not particularly commercial and flawed in some ways, the the paring of two non-actors in this story really clicked.
Karen llora en un bus
Karen llora en un bus (Karen Cries on the Bus)
Colombia- 97 m.
Director: Gabriel Rojas Vera
Screenplay: Gabriel Rojas Vera
Photography: Manuel Castañeda
Cast: Ángela Carrizosa
After 10 years of marriage, Karen discovers that having left her dreams behind to become a housewife was a mistake that robbed her of her youth. She decides to leave her husband and make a life for herself. Using her savings, she rents a room in the centre of Bogotá and tries to find a job, but her age and inexperience go against her. Karen has to choose between returning to the stability of a relationship and trying to get by in life on her own.
My opinion: A universal theme I could identify with. Well acted, but not seamless in its delivery.
El lenguaje de los machetes
El lenguaje de los machetes (Machete Language)
Mexico- 78 m.
Director: Kyzza Terrazas
Screenplay: Kyzza Terrazas
Photography: Christian Rivera
Cast: Andrés Almeida, Jessy Bulbo
Ray and Ramona form a young couple. They hate the injustice of the social context to which they belong. Each from their particular niche - she music and he activism - tries to fight for a fairer world. Given to self-sabotage, Ray fails in his rebelliousness and pulls Ramona on a downward spiral ending in a poetical-terrorist act.
My opinion: Ray's motivation is so unclear that he seems more like a knee-jerk, bleeding heart liberal and I disliked him for it all. Ramona (Jessy Bulbo) is a wonderful actress to watch. The character's background is more fleshed out making her believable. That her father joined the guerillas adds depth by bringing Mexico's recent historical conflicts into the backstory.
Chile- 100 m.
Director: José Luis Sepúlveda, Carolina Adriazola
Screenplay: José Luis Sepúlveda
Photography: José Luis Sepúlveda
Cast: Yanet Escobar, Paola Lattus, Rocío Hueche, Natividad Sánchez, Alejandro Gutiérrez
Actress Nora Díaz has an unhealthy obsession for putting on a show and telling lies. She journeys towards her obsessions, testing her characters in real situations, in the street. Through these, she watches and listens to the conscious and unconscious inventions of a society, the Chilean society, where truth and lies merge as one.
My opinion: Too difficult.
Todos tus muertos
Todos tus muertos (All Your Dead Ones)
Colombia- 90 m.
Director: Carlos Moreno
Screenplay: Alonso Torres, Carlos Moreno
Photography: Diego Jiménez
Cast: Alvaro Rodríguez, Jorge Herrera, Martha Márquez, Harold Devasten, Jhon Alex Castillo
Sunday, election day. Salvador gets up early and starts working on his allotment. He’s a calm, humble man, who pays little attention to the village commotion over election of the new mayor. But his routine is suddenly thrown into confusion. In the early hours of the morning, someone has dumped several corpses in a macabre pile among his corn plants. Worried and furious, Salvador heads for the village to report the massacre, but the major and chief of police decide not to tell anyone so as not to disturb the voting. The three men are faced with some hot, tense hours of deciding what to do with the mountain of bodies. Meanwhile, the mosquitoes, the cellphone, a newspaper rumour, the wrath of a landowner and a humanitarian mission buzz annoyingly in their ears.
My opinion: Top film. Funny, bizarre, absurdist rendering of massacres which have become too absurd for us to comprehend as they happen worldwide and are viewed by us in the media. The light touch of absurdist humor brings us to a new realization of how reality is totally askew.
Members of the different links in the chain leading to the release of these films are invited to discover them in ideal conditions with a view to their making a decisive contribution to the success of these projects. We propose a place of direct exchange with professionals and institutions as a decisive step towards them being able to reach the audience.
By involving film professionals capable of contributing to their post-production, and by encouraging distributors and promoters to diversify their offer, to reserve a space for as yet marginalized movie continents, San Sebastian and Toulouse hope to achieve, and to develop with as much pragmatism and efficiency as possible, respect for and promotion of cultural diversity based on a spirit of solidarity and cooperation.
The following awards are granted at Films in Progress 18:
* Films in Progress Industry Award. The companies: Best Digital, Dolby, Kodak (División de Cine Profesional), Molinare Madrid, Nephilim, No Problem Sonido and Technicolor Entertainment Services Spain will assume the post-production of a film until achieving a 35 mm copy with English subtitles.
* Casa de América Award for Aid to the Post-Production of Latin American Films, carrying €10,000 (gross).
Films in Progress has the backing of: Agencia Española de Cooperación para el Desarrollo (AECID), Best Digital, Casa de América, Dolby, Kodak (División de Cine Profesional), Molinare Madrid, Nephilim, No Problem Sonido, POCTEFA - Programa Operativo de Cooperacion Territorial España-Francia-Andorra, Programa Ibermedia, Technicolor Entertainment Services Spain and the collaboration of Ateliers du Cinéma Européen (ACE), Caisse Centrale d’action sociale (CCAS), Centre National du Cinéma et de lïmage Animée (CNC), CINÉ CINÉMA, Cinéfondation, Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d’Art et Essai (CICAE), Conseil Général de la Haute Garonne, Conseil Régional Midi-Pyrénées, CROUS de Toulouse, Cultures France, École Supérieure d’Audio Visuel (ESAV), Europa Distribution, FNAC, Instituto Cervantes, Mactari, Mairie de Toulouse, Marché du Film, Signis and TitraTVS.