Running over Aug. 19-Aug. 26., the Santiago International Film Festival (Sanfic) will host the sixth Santiago Lab, a training and promotional event for projects from across Latin America.
This year, 34 titles – 21 fiction and 14 documentary – were selected from more than 300 submissions, a testament to the lab’s ever-increasing importance. It’s also the first step on the production path, made easier with the festival’s support as is the case with Alejandra Hyland’s “Las Demás,” a former Lab participant which is nearing completion and will take place in Sanfic’s 2019 Works in Progress section.
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This year’s field features a heavy dose of genre cinema, particularly fantastic, suspense and horror stories. The selection also boasts a near-even split of films directed and/or produced by men and women.
Participants will present to an industry including Mara Gourd from the Montreal Intl. Documentary Film Festival; Consuelo Castillo, director at DOC:CO in Colombia; Pablo Guisa, founder and CEO of Grupo Mórbido in Mexico; Eloísa López, content strategist for Sófa Digital in the U.S.; Jaime Tenorio, cultural manager and consultant from Colombia; Gerardo Michelin, founder of LatAm Cinema; José Rodríguez, director of documentary programming at TFI; Agustina Lumi, a film and TV producer from Argentina; and Arturo Pérez, co-founder of Vendo Cine in Mexico.
Those presenting compete for various prizes including image post-production services and direct selection to participate at next year’s Malaga Funding & Coproduction Event (MAFF). Chilean films are also eligible for the Cinema Chile award, given to the project with the most international promise. The winning project receives an invitation to participate in the San Sebastian, Guadalajara and Ventana Sur festival industry sections.
Documentaries vie for inclusion in the FICCI Documentary Workshop at the Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias, a full-page ad in LatAm Cinema, and one Chilean documentary will be selected for the industry section of the Tribeca Film Festival.
In fiction, Florencia Dupont’s “Aracne” and Felipe Eluti’s “Shadowplay” both fit the genre bill. In “Aracne,” Beatriz, a young journalist enlists the help of an entomologist to investigate the appearance of strange spiders in Santiago, only to discover that a foreign singer has, in a very literal sense, the voice of a siren and the instincts of a spider.
While imagining ways to twist genre gender tropes, Dupont says that, “Without thinking, the idea of a female hunter came to mind. But, not just any woman, a monster woman. Then the idea of the spider woman created itself.”
“Shadowplay” turns on a couple which hopes a change of scenery can help them recover from the tragedy of a failed pregnancy. Unfortunately, in their new rural home Phillip is sexually assaulted by a mysterious female creature, resulting in otherworldly visions.
Eluti, describes the film as, “A reflection of the toxic relationships that leave us desolated. Phillip, the protagonist, will face his worst fears, the loss of his own masculinity and the need to reinvent himself to survive, passing from victim to victimizer, condemning his humanity and soul to obtain what he desires.”
Katherina Harder’s “Children of the Wind” follows Amalia and her brothers after escaping an orphanage, and their struggle to stay together on a journey across the vast southern landscapes of Chile.
“As a director born and raised in the region,” Harder explained, “I feel the need to make my first feature in those landscapes where I grew up. They are part of my imagination since childhood,”
She added: “That important connection with the landscape allows me to provide a deeper look into each scene which builds a more honest story, delving into the emotional states of characters from the existing connection with places and landscapes.”
From Colombia, Camilo Cadena Erazo’s “Rootless” catches the eye with the story of a former soldier returned from the Korean war who finds his mother running a brothel. Disappointed, he and his younger sister must struggle with the decision to abandon their mother.
“Storyteller,” from Ecuador’s Erick Haro, is the fable of two swindlers, Dante and Leonor, who set off on a cross-country trip looking for suckers to scam, when newfound romantic feelings are shattered by an incestuous discovery.
In the documentary section, “Gloria Camiruaga Finally Your Footstep” from Chile’s Pablo Stephens tracks the eponymous videographer, a key figure in Chilean audiovisual history, whose work is still relatively unknown to the general public.
“Gloria received many awards for her work abroad, but could never get recognition in her country,” Stephens said, explaining his motivations to Variety. “More than a decade after her death, the growing interest from people and institutions in Chile ratify the significance of her work.”
Alberto Arnaut Estrada’s “Nomads of the 57,” previously pitched in Guadalajara’s industry section, tracks two truck drivers whose nomadic condition defines their existence. According to Estrada, in talking with protagonist José María, “I knew there was a movie there, with deeply interesting characters and many plastic possibilities. The diversity of the landscapes they see in a single day and the aesthetics of the spaces inhabited by the truck drivers all seem so decadent, but they are full of life and the stories of nomadic life in the 21st century.”
In “Notes of Light,” directed by Chile’s Constanza Valdivia Llewellyn, Constanza’s eye-sight is worsening every year due to a condition inherited from her grandfather who bequeaths her a camera and a box full of his slides.
Caro Bloj’s “Synchrony” focuses on three very different swimmers, their bond as women and how for all three water represents a refuge where they feel safer than on land. Another aquatic tale, “Henri: The Last Pirate,” from Julián Fernández Prieto, follows French diver Henri García, a diver on Cousteau’s Calypso.
“Remember?” from Chile’s Andrés Finat, enlists Chilean superstar rapper-singer Anita Tijoux to voice an examination of climate change, by following Josue, an environmental activist.
Tana Gilbert’s “Pent-up Love” turns on four Chilean women trying to get closer with their children using technology, often with limited or no success.
“Under Suspicion,” from Daniel Díaz Oyarzún, investigates the detention of the director’s uncle Bernardo, a self-proclaimed delinquent artist, as he returns to his home in the countryside looking for his origins.
2019 SANFIC INDUSTRY LAB PARTICIPANTS
SANTIAGO LAB FICTION
“Now They’re Coming for Us” (Shawn Garry, Chile)
“Ancestral” (Paulette Lecaros, Chile)
“Aracne” (Florencia Dupont, Chile)
“Beast ” (Obi Wong Reyes Macario, Guatemala)
“Rootless” (Camilo Cadena Erazo, Colombia)
“Dawn of the Cahueles” (Sebastian Cuevas Barría, Chile)
“Storyteller” (Erick Haro, Ecuador)
“The Outsider” (Lucas Quintana, Chile)
“Garúa” (Ana Sofía Osorio Ruiz, Colombia)
“The Machine that Destroys Memories of the Future” (Lucas Turturro, Argentina)
“The affections” (Diego Ayala, Aníbal Jofré, Chile)
“Children of the Wind” (Katherina Harder, Chile)
“My New Dance Style” (Pablo Berthelon, Chile)
“The Darkness of Light” (Diego Sebastian Bellocchio, Argentina)
“Witherd Child” (Pelayo Lira, Chile)
“Summer Nitght” (Christian Nawrath Smith, Chile)
“Us” (Joaquín Ruano, Mexico, Guatemala)
“Peek-a-boo” (Francisco Pavanetto, Argentina)
“First We Take Anillaco” (Paula Martel, Argentina)
“Schaefer, Wanted” (Lucho Smok, Chile)
“Shadowplay” (Felipe Eluti, Chile)
SANTIAGO LAB DOCUMENTARY
“Anhell 69” (Theo Montoya, Colombia)
“Asteroid 2518” (Amanda Rutllant, Chile)
“Under Suspicion” (Daniel Díaz Oyarzún, Chile)
“Real Property” (Emanuel Giraldo Betancur, Colombia)
“Cagliostro: Film Poet” (Orlando Torres Osorio, Chile)
“Gloria Camiruaga Finally your footstep” (Pablo Stephens, Chile)
“Henri: The Last Pirate” (Julián Fernández Prieto, Chile)
“Alien Island” (Cristóbal Valenzuela, Chile)
“Remember?” (Andrés Finat, Chile)
“First Names” (Fernando Domínguez, Argentina)
“Pent-up Love” (Tana Gilbert, Chile)
“Nomads of the 57” (Alberto Arnaut Estrada, Mexico)
“Notes of Light” (Constanza Valdivia Llewellyn, Chile)
“Synchrony” (Caro Bloj, Chile)