The 63rd San Sebastian Film Festival has selected 14 films to compete in the Horizontes Latinos Program, which highlights outstanding Latin American cinema. This year’s selections were chosen from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Films in the Horizontes Latinos Program have competed or premiered at prominent international film festivals, but they have not been screened at a Spanish festival or had their commercial release in Spain.
Recipients of the Horizontes Award, which is decided on by a specific jury, will win €35,000, of which €10,000 will go to the director of the winning film and the remaining €25,000 to its Spanish distributor. This year, the section will open with Pablo Larraín’s “El Club,” which took home the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival.
Check out all of the titles for this year’s Horizontes Latinos program below, with synopses courtesy of the San Sebastian Film Festival:
Director: Pablo Larraín
“El abrazo de la serpiente” (“Embrace of the Serpent”)
Director: Ciro Guerra
Premiered at the Cannes Festival Directors’ Fortnight, the latest film from Ciro Guerra tells the epic story of the first contact, encounter, approach, betrayal and, eventually, life-transcending friendship, between an Amazonian shaman and two Western explorers.
“El botón de nácar” (“The Pearl Button”)
Director: Patricio Guzmán
Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán talks to us in his latest documentary about water, the cosmos and ourselves, human beings. It all begins with the discovery of two mysterious buttons in the depths of the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Chile.
Director: Michel Franco
David is a nurse who works with terminally ill patients. Efficient and dedicated to his profession, he develops strong and even intimate relationships with each person he cares for. But outside of his work David is ineffectual, awkward and reserved. Best Screenplay Award-winner at the Cannes Festival.
“Desde allá” (“From Afar”)
Director: Lorenzo Vigas
Armando, aged 50, looks for young men in the streets of Caracas and pays them to come back to his house with him. He also regularly spies on an older man with whom he seems to have ties from the past. One day he meets Elder, aged 17, leader of a small band of thugs. Competitor in the Official Selection of the Venice Festival.
“Las elegidas” (“The Chosen Ones”)
Director: David Pablos
David Pablos’s second film took part at the San Sebastian Co-production Forum in 2014 and premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes Festival. Sofia, 14 years old, is in love with Ulises. Because of him, in spite of him, she is forced into a prostitution ring in Mexico. To set her free, Ulises will have to find another girl to replace her.
Director: Jayro Bustamante
María, a 17 year-old Mayan girl, lives and works with her family in a plantation on the Guatemalan plateau. Her days go by uneventfully until her parents arrange her marriage to the estate foreman, Ignacio. A film that landed a special mention at the last edition of Films in Progress and competed at the Berlin Festival, where it won the Alfred Bauer Award.
Director: Salvador del Solar
Winner of Films in Progress at last year’s Festival. Magallanes recognises a woman getting into a taxi. It’s Celina, the young peasant girl he randomly arrested more than twenty years ago, when he was a soldier. They both have unfinished business. And for Magallanes, this is an opportunity to redeem himself. Damián Alcázar, Magaly Solier and Federico Luppi play the leading parts.
“La obra del siglo” (“The Project of the Century”)
Director: Carlos M. Quintela
Amidst a mosquito plague, Leonardo, struggling with the breakdown of his relationship, moves back to live with a grandfather who fights with everyone and everything, and a father living with the melancholy of the unfinished. Tiger Award-winner at the last Rotterdam Festival.
Director: Santiago Mitre
Paulina decides to leave her brilliant law career to teach in a downtrodden Argentinian region. In a hostile atmosphere, she will set about her pedagogical mission, even if it means losing her boyfriend and confrontation with her father. Fipresci Prize-winner at the last Cannes Festival Critics’ Week.
“Para minha amada morta” (“To My Beloved”)
Director: Aly Muritiba
Fernando is a good man who takes care of his only child, Daniel, a shy and sensitive boy. Following the death of his wife Ana, every night Fernando recalls their love as he sorts out his beloved dead spouse’s belongings. One day he finds a VHS tape that will change everything. This movie participated in the Films in Progress section at the last Festival. The film took part at the Co-Production Forum in 2014.
“Te prometo anarquia” (“I Promise You Anarchy”)
Director: Julio Hernandez Cordon
Julio Hernández Cordón’s new film was selected for the Locarno Festival Competition. Miguel and Johnny have known each other since childhood. They spend their time skateboarding and having fun. To make easy money and continue skateboarding, they sell their own blood clandestinely. They turn the ploy into a business, until a major transaction doesn’t turn out as they’d expected.
“La tierra y la sombra” (“Land and Shade”)
Director: Cesar Augusto Acevedo
Winner of the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Festival, after having participated at the San Sebastian Co-Production Forum in 2013, this film portrays a family as they try to repair the fragile ties that bind them in the face of their imminent disappearance, brought about by the overwhelming power of progress.