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Latino Days Are Here Again!

Latino Days Are Here Again!

Looking forward to what’s new at Ventana Sur and being able to watch films via Cinando during the event itself, I am made aware that Latin America has a rapidly expanding film industry due to new technologies, new well trained filmmakers and governments who have stepped up local support of local filmmaking. The current call for submissions for Cine En Construcion, the twice-yearly rendezvous held at the San Sebastian and Toulouse Festivals gives a welcome place for networking in Toulouse on March 24 and 25, 2011. This initiative by the San Sebastian International Film Festival and the Rencontres Cinémas d’Amérique Latine in Toulouse focuses on contributing to the completion of Latin American feature films at the post-production stage. The Films in Progress award and the showing of these projects is exclusively reserved for professionals attending the yearly meetings at San Sebastian and Toulouse and they have greatly contributed to the completion and diffusion of some of the most outstanding Latin American feature films to have made their appearance in recent years. Films in Progress 19 is open to feature films produced in the different Latin American countries, the filming of which has been completed but which are having difficulties with the post-production process.

The oldest forum for Latin American cinema is at Huelva’s Festival de Cine Iberoamericano’s Co-Production Forum which took place earlier this month and hosted 39 projects at their 3 day pitching/ networking meeting.

Add that to the films in Ventana Sur’s Primer Corte, and to Rotterdam Cinemart and IFP’s No Borders, and we have the films which will be seen in Cannes, Sundance, Venice, Toronto, etc. So filmmakers! Get your films into these venues now and expand your co-production and distribution potential.

As the Latino films reach for the Oscars, Hermano Venezuela’ submission, directed by Marcel Rasquin is being underplayed and underexposed, though it is a big hit in Venezuela, grossing $1.5 million. It also did not come up through the international networking route just described above. The movie tells the story of two brothers who are fighting to get out of Petare, the poorest slums in Venezuela (and the biggest in Latin America). Soccer is one brother’s plan to get both of them out. It should be favored for its direction, the story, the cinematography and instead it seems to have disappeared. It won the Audience Award at Moscow Fim Festival where Luc Besson, President of the Jury picked up world rights for Europa Corp. It then played in L.A. Latino international Film Festival where it again won the Audience Award. Does EuropaCorp have something against this film that it is not touting it nor pushing it for U.S. distribution? Or do they have something against the U.S. that they are not pushing its release here? Venezuela voted for its submission over Habana Eva by Fina Torres who already won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film with Oriana. It’s the director’s first film and seems too sad to think it might disappear without a trace for lack of publicity or distribution and that the director may go the same way as far as awareness in the U.S. goes. I hope not!

Hermano by Marcel Rasquin. Submitted for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Nomination

Then there is Contracorriente from Peru. After its great success at San Sebastian, Sundance, and LALIFF, this great film is receiving good solid distribution from Wolfe Releasing and The Film Collaborative and good solid international representation from Shoreline. This is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever seen, and it’s gay too. What a beautiful film…still in theaters…catch it while you can, you won’t regret it.

I won’t analyze the submissions from Latin America for nomination for Best Foreign Language Academy Award, but they are notable, and probably have the pedigrees of Rencontres, Ventana Sur, Rotterdam Cinemart, Huelva, etc.

Argentina – Carancho, directed by Pablo Trapero. ISA: FineCut U.S.: Strand Releasing. This is an Asian-Argentinian coproduciton.

Carancho by Pablo Trapero – Submitted for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Nomination

Brazil – Lula, o filho do Brasil, directed by Fábio Barreto. ISA: Cinema do Brasil U.S.:-

Chile – The Life of Fish, directed by Matías Bize. Producer: Cineca

Colombia – Crab Trap, directed by Oscar Ruíz Navia. ISA: M-Appeal U.S.: Outsider Pictures

Costa Rica – Of Love and Other Demons, directed by Hilda Hidalgo ♀. ISA: Latido. U.S.: –

Mexico – Biutiful, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. ISA: Focus. U.S.: Liddell

Nicaragua – La Yuma, directed by Florence Jaugey ♀. ISA: Botnia U.S. –

Peru – Undertow (Contracorriente), directed by Javier Fuentes-León. ISA: Shoreline U.S.: Wolfe. A favored title.

Puerto Rico – Miente (Lie), directed by Rafi Mercado. ISA: Ondamax. U.S.:-

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