Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

If They're Angry, They're Paying Attention: The Slow Rise of Colombia's Film Scene

By Daniel Loria | Indiewire March 1, 2013 at 9:00AM

"General Santos, son of a bitch!" The impassioned cry broke the tense silence last week at the Adolfo Mejia Theater, disrupting the world premiere of "Family Portraits" at the Cartagena International Film Festival. Alexandra Cardona Restrepo's documentary focuses on the surviving relatives of a group of young men from a low-income Bogotá suburb who were murdered by the Colombian army and buried anonymously in a mass grave; officials claimed, erroneously, that the executed men were guerrilla fighters. It took seven months for the victims' bodies to be identified and the remains returned to their respective families.
0
Outside the Adolfo Mejía Theater in Cartagena.
Daniel Loria Outside the Adolfo Mejía Theater in Cartagena.

"General Santos, son of a bitch!" The impassioned cry broke the tense silence last week at the Adolfo Mejia Theater, disrupting the world premiere of "Family Portraits" at the Cartagena International Film Festival. Alexandra Cardona Restrepo's documentary focuses on the surviving relatives of a group of young men from a low-income Bogotá suburb who were murdered by the Colombian army and buried anonymously in a mass grave; officials claimed, erroneously, that the executed men were guerrilla fighters. It took seven months for the victims' bodies to be identified and the remains returned to their respective families.

Sporadic heckling continued throughout the screening, much to the vocal dismay of the rest of the audience, but the incident represented a rare commodity: Engagement. Like the rest of the region, Colombia's national cinema has struggled to establish itself with domestic audiences. For the last couple of years, FICCI has become more accessible to its own community, building a film culture across class lines and bringing that audience into theaters.

With the exception of the opening- and closing-night films, all festival screenings were open to the public free of charge. Screenings were held in parks and in squares of the city's surrounding barrios. For people who lived in those barrios and wanted to attend screenings held in Cartagena's gentrified, tourist-oriented downtown, there was complimentary transportation. The result was a lack of elitism; indignant viewers have no problem speaking up.

"Colombian filmmakers have been muted for a very long time, but we are finally hearing their voices," said Diego Ramírez, a producer who heads 64-A Films and acts as the VP of the Colombian Academy of Arts and Sciences. "When someone has been kept quiet for so long, the first thing they'll tell you are the things that have upset them the most."

Films from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Mexico have traditionally anchored Latin American cinema. In recent years, filmmakers from Chile and Uruguay have also gained international recognition. So why has Colombia lagged behind?

"The turning point in Colombian cinema didn't come until 2003, when the 'Cinema Law' went into effect," Ramírez said, referring to a multi-tiered government initiative with the goal of revitalizing production by promoting and facilitating private financing. The law has served as a catalyst for the proliferation of Colombian film over the last decade, with a second similar measure going into effect earlier this year.

"Colombia went from making two or three films per year to producing over 20," Ramírez said of the change. "If there is a national film industry to speak of, it is thanks to these laws."

The increased production has brought along a surging crop of new filmmakers producing an increasingly diverse slate of films. "Right now we're turning that corner and hearing more voices looking to tell stories that depict a broader Colombia," Ramírez said. "The first films we made at my company, for example, had a strong sociopolitical slant. Today we're exploring romantic comedies and horror films."

This article is related to: Festivals, Colombia, Cartagena






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More