This year at the 30th Guadalajara Film Festival (FICG30), the selection of projects in the 11th Coproduction Meeting was especially strong. With a broad mix of festival and
“popular” type films, the jury chose the very films I would have chosen myself.
The Market focuses on writers and only chooses those with the strongest scripts. Prizes honor the best proposals and act to connect the producers with
those who will become strong future collaborators. Among 295 projects submitted, 28 were selected. The selection is intended to give a new vision to the
Latin American film scene.
Five out of the six winners are projects to be directed by women. Two are Cuban. Four others are Mexican, Colombian, Argentinean. And the winners are:
1. MEET Prize: Paid trip and entry to MEETS, the Latin American Film Market of the International Film Festival de Panamá includes entry into the
competition for US$95,000 in cash
A standout project, even a possible future winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Rodrigo and Sebastian Barriuso’s “ 1989” won a paid trip and entry to MEETS, the Latin
American Film Market of the International Film Festival de Panamá whose competition for US$95,000 in cash will be at stake.
Based on true events, the story is set three years after the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl, when the first patients to receive medical treatment for
cancer arrived in Havana Cuba. Totally unprepared, forced to leave his family to do a job he is untrained to do, he finds storytelling a salvation when a
child tells him the story of Chernobyl from his child’s point of view.
This character driven story of a father, forced to become a translator for the sick children and their mothers in hospitals throughout Havana tells how he
copes with the separation from his family at the very time that the Russians have withdrawn all aid, the fall of the Berlin Wall and Cuba’s economic
collapse, represents the sort of films the brothers Barriuso want to make about under-represented social issues.
The two Cuban-Canadian Barriuso brothers reside in Canada, a great place for coproductions as it has the most coproduction treaties in the world. They look
like twins but are three years apart as are the two little boys (one year old and four years old) in their projected film whose father is suddenly torn
from his academic post as a professor of Russian literature and told by the Cuban government to work nightshifts in the cancer ward of the victims of the
Chernobyl (Ukraine) accident (which will be commemorating the 30th anniversary in 2016).
Rodrigo is art-oriented, curating a show of Cuban artists in Toronto while his brother is business-educated. Their work has premiered and screened at
prestigious festivals like Berlinale, TIFF, Miami, Slamdance and Marrakesh. Their work has a strong social and existential appeal and is strongly influence
by the art world. This project was developed at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Center and then at the TIFF STUDIO, programmed by Hayet Benkara. It has already received a quarter of
the budget in funds and the brothers are beginning to speak with international sales agents.
2. Churubusco Prize (Mexico’s oldest studio, Churbusco gives US$100,000 in post-production services.
Winner: “Restos de Viento” (“Wind Traces”), Director: Jimena Montemayor (México). ♀
A family tries to recover after the sudden death of the father. The mother, a victim of depression, is incapable of accepting the loss and tells her
that their father will return. For her seven-year-old son this means a cadaver will return to fulfill the role of his father. The eleven year old daughter
profound rejection of adult life. The two children accompany each other as they try to understand and process what death has brought into their lives.
“Wind Traces” explores the collision of two worlds through death. A child and an adult’s perspective on death shape the portrait of a family that is
recovering after a loss.
“Wind Traces” is a coproduction between Mexican production companies Varios Lobos Producciones, with 14% of investment, and Conejo Media with 6%. So far it
is a 100% Mexican film, but the filmmakers are looking to find a coproduction partner from other countries, especially from Latin America.
In early 2014, development stage began between the two production houses. In July 2014 the project participated in the International Pitching Market of the
Guanajuato International Film Festival where it won the LCI Award, which covers the film insurance of the movie.
The filmmakers are seeking other funds and workshops that allow them to continue developing the project and refine the script. Among those they will apply to are the BaqLab, at the Barranquilla Film Festival and MEETS at the Panama Film Festival.
The final funding will be through the Fiscal Stimulus EFICINE 189.
Director Jimena Montemayor says that, “with ‘Wind Traces’ I would like to explore the stages of grief as well as the thoughts on a loss that will not go
away because it leaves us with an emptiness that in time we learn to inhabit, both physically and emotionally.
I am interested in narrating this process from the child’s perspective. We were all children once, but we tend to forget as we grow older that the world
can be an incomprehensible place when we try to communicate with it. Maybe that’s why we are unaware of how children deal with loss.
Their resilience and their ability to overcome adverse situations during childhood [includes] Death as something that they take with them]. The absence of
that person lingers like a shadow until you overcome the loss. That is how Daniel, the seven year old, materializes his grief, in the company of a dead man
in the house; a man he fears at first but that gradually becomes a companion that finally fulfills his destiny: to part from his father.
Death is also an injection of life, an unparalleled chance to approach it with a much greater understanding and fulfillment. People will empathize and be
touched by this story, and not just those who have suffered a loss.
Whoever remembers those formative years knows that there are moments where nostalgia overcomes us; we remember certain scars and despite the fact they can
never be erased we will forget them little by little as we head into adulthood, leaving their importance buried in our subconscious.
In ‘Wind Traces’ each character deals with death in the same way they experience life.”
3. New Art Digital Prize (Complete postproduction for a value of US$ 43,000)
Winner: “Estática Milagrosa” (“Static Miracle”), Directors: Noelia Lacayo ♀ and Gustavo Vinagre Alves (Cuba).
The second Cuban film to win and the second winning film to be directed by a woman deals with the “miracle” in Cuba of houses still standing, propped up by
scaffolding and about to collapse while still inhabited with multiple families. Their beauty and their sad shape are analogous to the lives of many people
in Cuba as well. “Static Miracle” is the official term for all buildings in danger of collapsing
This film deals with the people whose “static miracle” is that they continue their lives in the midst of imminent disintegration. Eight year old Marion has
a collage of Fidel Castro on his bedroom wall but the images deteriorate with the humidity of every rainfall. Seventy-six year old Patria treis to maintina
the rules of her aristocratic past, but her mansion is now a hostel for tourists. Eighteen year old Yuri prepares to shoot the video clip that will launch
him into stardom but he has not left his room in two years. Twenty-nine year old Nicolas, a foreigner without visa or money, films houses in Havana that
move as they resist the passage of time.
4. Equipment & Film Design Prize (EFD) (A package of 7 days of filming with a value of US$ 23,000).
Winner: “Cuando se silencien los fusiles” (“When the Guns are Silenced”), Director: Nathalia Isabel Orozco Rojas (Colombia). ♀
This documentary will shoot in Havana and Colombia as it concerns the current ongoing negotiations of FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia and
the government of Colombia which are taking place now in Havana. After half a century of armed struggle, FARC, the oldest guerilla force in the world, is
preparing to silence its weapons. This doc follows FARC’s military strategist and commander, Pablo Catatumbo, who has been part of the war for 40 years.
His story and the complex relations with other commanders and rebels reveal the difficulties and challenges for the fighters in their final battle: the
transition to democracy.
The Colombian filmmaker and independent news correspondent, Nathalia Isabel Orozco Rojas has won the CPB Journalism Award 2014 for Best TV interview in
2013 and twice has won the Simon Bolivar National Journalism Award (in 2011 and 2010). Natalia has a B.A. in journalism, a Masters in political science and
a Masters in international cooperation from the Sorbonne.
5. LCI Seguros Prize (Discounted Insurance of 50% up to US$ 50 million).
Winner: “Julia Privada” (“Intimate Julia”), Directors: Karina Mirujin y Mariana Fonseca (Argentina). ♀
This Argentine fiction feature takes place in Buenos Aires in 1989. During the grave economic crisis of the time, the young woman Julia cleans and
interfaces with the public for a reclusive boss. The comfort of silence between them from the first day makes her feel good although it is rather odd and
mysterious. She is permitted full liberty except for entering his bedroom and writing studio. Curiosity about that makes this apartment, where she
originally sought shelter and security, a possible cage.
Honorable Mention: (Support by Churubusco Studios of Equipment & Film Design, New Art Digital y LCI insurance).
Winner: “Donde se quedan las cosas” (“Where Things Remain”), Director: Daniela Silva Solórzano (México). ♀
This documentary is about Federico Solorzano, a paleontologist born in Guadalajara, Mexico. After a lifetime of collecting fossils, teaching and
researching, opens the only science museum in the state of Jalisco. He shares his fossil collection, the largest in the country along with his memories
through the eyes of his dranddaughter who goes through the more than 50 collections he has kept in perfect condition which creates a collective past of a
city, a time period and a generation of more than 70 years.
Director Daniela Silva, born in Guadalajara, Jalisco is the granddaughter of the sculptor Federico Silva and niece of the famous cartoonist JIS. Twenty-two
years of age, she has already produced “The Cloud Factory” last year and directed “Good Night, Lucy”.
The winners were selected by the following jury members:
Maru Farías (Director of New Projects at Equipment& Film Design with over 15 years working in the film industry). ♀
Javier Beltramino (Production Manager at Telefónica Studios in Argentina).
Bosco Arochi C. (Technical and Production Director at Estudios Churubusco S. A.).
Raymundo Osorio García (General Director at New Art Digital with 27 years work in publicity, television, and film in Mexico)
José Antonio Asencio (Adviser at LCI Seguros, producer, and Director of Photography of 150 documentaries, shorts, as well as 30 features).