‘The Life That’s Left,’ ‘Silver Bridge’ Win at Chile’s Sanfic Industria

John Hopewell and Jamie Lang
·9 min read

Brazil’s “The Life That’s Left,” Costa Rica’s “Crono-Capsulas” and Chilean drama series “Silver Bridge” and “La Vida de Nosotras” ran out as four of the big winners at a vibrant and packed online 2021 Sanfic Industria that also underscored the depth of new talent in Latin America.

Running March 18-25, Sanfic Industria, the constantly expanding industry arm climaxed a day later with the announcement of a huge haul in industry prizes, the largest from Mexico’s genre powerhouse Mórbido, plus the lineup for Sanfic Goes to Cannes, a new Cannes Film Market project event, and notification that the two biggest winners at Santiago Series Lab, another new initiative, had scored pitching berths at Series Mania and Conecta Fiction.

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Gearing up for its 17th edition this August, Sanfic is still expanding, bidding to become the biggest film festival in industry terms in Latin America. It is also well placed, given the powerful growth of Chilean drama series production, to expand its Series Lab to include shows in development from the rest of Latin America and become one of the most important TV projects showcases in the region.

Featuring pix in post and a vast gamut of project pitches, Sanfic Industria also functions as a new talent promotion platform. It may or may not be a coincidence that many of the biggest discoveries this year were young female directors, whether Chile’s Leticia Akel (“Shadow”), Mexican-U.S. director Sofia Garza Barba (“Santos Remedios”) or Argentine screenwriter-turned-director Mara Pescio (“Ese Fin de Semana”).

Pescio’s directorial debut, now bound for Cannes, is in part a Western, as is Giovani Vazia’s “Empty House,” and a third notable first feature at Sanfic Industria, “Those Below,” from Bolivia’s Alejandro Quiroga. Latin America’s newest generation is ever more embracing genre, though not always its most predictable strains, which is more exciting. Following is a Sanfic Industria 2021 prize breakdown.

SANFIC GOES TO CANNES

Five feature film projects, all screened at Sanfic Industria, are bound for the French festival:

The Life That’s Left” Produced by Brazilian powerhouse Gullane, now preparing Netflix’s “Senna” series, Flavio Botelho’s debut marks a sober, austere drama charting two parents’ desperate but divergent reactions to their son’s suicide from depression.

Also making the cut are Pescio’s mother-daughter relationship drama “Ese Fin de Semana,” set in a multi-ethnic barrio of Posadas, northern Argentina; “El Ciego,” a rural suspense drama and coming of age tragedy from Argentine auteur to track Martin Desalvo (“Darkness by Day”); Chilean Constanza Fernández’s “(Im)Patient,” a searing critique of Chilean health care; and “Empty House,” Giovani Borba’s modern-day Western about an unemployed cattleman, left behind by an increasingly industrialized world.

SANFIC SERIES LAB

Mixing romantic melodrama and a feminist narco trade origins story, “Silver Bridge,” the latest from Chile Parox, (“Invisible Heroes”) scored a berth at France’s Series Mania Forum, arguably Europe’s top drama series co-production event – a coup for the series and Sanfic Industria.

Framing 16 real life stories from Chilean survivors of gender-based violence, “La Vida de Nosotras,” formerly “Anonymous Voices,” will be presented at Spain’s Conecta Fiction, another win for Intl. Emmy-winner Hernán Caffiero (“The Suspended Mourning”).

“Insomniac” scored the CinemaChile prize for a series, including mentoring and an invite to pitch at MipCancun. Set in 2025 and echoing shades of tentpole Chilean dramedy “Psicóticas Inseguras,” the series will examine a post-pandemic Chile as it emerges from a near five-year lockdown.

FURTHER WIP PRIZES

Winner of a berth at Malaga Festival’s WIP strand, a key Spanish launchpad for first-time directors, Alejandro Quiroga’s “Those Below” (“Los de abajo”) turns on an increasingly brutal – and unequal – face-off for a valley’s water supply, set in the sweeping Bolivian highlands.

“The Life That’s Left” also won the Avid Media Composer + LatAm Cinema and Chemistry prizes.

SANFIC-MORBIDO LAB

Miguel Alejandro Gómez, director of Costa Rican box-office smash “Maikol Yordan Traveling Lost,” proved the big winner at Sanfic-Mórbido Lab, scooping both a Blood Window and Morbido Prize for “Crono-Cápsulas.” It centers on a young psychology student who decides to use an experimental medication to confront past traumas in her love life by traveling back through time.

Further Morbido Prizes went to “El Viejo” and “Santos Remedios.” El Viejo” taps collective and childhood memories of Argentina’s military dictatorship and the haunted house fable. “Narrating a story that pits childhood against the most terrifying past in the history of my country is a unique experience,” explains director Seba De Caro.

A young girl, abandoned by her father, follows a mystical coyote into the wilderness to tragic consequences in “Santos Remedios” from Sofia Garza-Barba, who impressed with her award-winning short film “Death After Pancakes.”

Mórbido Prize winners receive backing from the organization to the tune of up to 30% of the film’s proposed final budget. The plaudit also assures the project a commercial premiere in Mexico, and representation for international sales and programming on pay TV across Latin America through the Morbido TV network.

The Latino Lense Workshop Award went to “Matria,” headlined by Itziar Castro and Daniela Vega, a gore-fest from the prolific Sandra Arriagada about seven evil men pitted against one another in a last-jerk-standing game of death, sponsored by the women they’ve abused in their lifetimes.

SANFIC LAB: FICCION

A “smart genre adventure with fantasy and horror beats,” said producer Giancarlo Nasi, “Celestial Twins” (“Gemelos Celestiales”) from Niles Atallah (“Lucia,” “Rey”), scored selection for June’s online Malaga Fund & Co-Production Event (MAFF).

A luxury resort set study in modern-day neo-colonial power-play “Beach House” (“La Casa en la Playa”), the first feature from Costa Rica’s Kim Elizondo, won selection for the Guadalajara Co-Production Meeting and a master DCP from HD Argentina.

Chilean Catalina Gonzalez’s debut, “Bad Mother” (“Mala Madre”), an abortion drama, will segue from Sanfic to the Nuevas Miradas lab run by Cuba’s EICTV film school.

Kaye,” the anticipated sophomore feature from award-winning filmmaker Juan Caceres (“Perro Bomba”) and starring Latin-Grammy nominee Pablo Chill-E, clinched an invitation to the Salón de Productores y Proyectos at Colombia’s Cali Festival. The feature project turns on a 13-year-old girl whose best friend is killed by a stray bullet.

The NALIP Media Summit Award went to “Karukinka,” a benighted Patagonia village psycho-thriller marking the second feature project from Chilean L.A.-based genre specialist Juan Pablo Arias Munoz, while director Paula Romani and producer Clara Larraín scooped the Latino Lense Workshop prize for “Boy Man” (“Niño Hombre”), a psychological suspense drama in the line of “Raise Ravens,” but here charting a six-year old boy’s confused reaction to machismo and domestic violence in his family.

SANFIC LAB: DOCUMENTARY

The Latino Lense Workshop prizes for documentary were split between “The Broken R” and “Anna Borges de Sacramento.” A rare Ecuador-Italy co-production between Incubadora and Small Boss, “The Broken R” is a study of language and the relationship between voice and identity from Ricardo Ruales and Soledad Santelices. An ambitious four-country co-production, Aida Bueno and Paula Zyngierman directed winner “Anna Borges de Sacramento,” recounts of the life of Anna Borges, an 18th century slave who bought her freedom but was willed as property to the survivors of a previous owner.

Producer Laura Nogal from Colombia’s Los Niños Films was honored by the NALIP Diverse Women in Media Forum for Juan Pablo Polanco’s “Carropasajero,” an examination of life on the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Argentina’s Festival Internacional de Cine Documental de Buenos Aires (FIDBA) selected Andrés Madrigal and producer Sofía Meza’s “Lost Men” (Hombres Perdidos), a multi-generational look-back at the paternal side of Madrigal’s own family. It will pitch again at its September’s Doclab. Similarly, Mexico’s DocsMx found a favorite in Ana Benitez and Gabriela Calvache’s “Transmutation,” produced by Ecuadorian shingle Cineática Films.

Produced by Isabel Orellana, who backed Berlin Teddy Award winner “You’ll Never Be Alone,” Meliza Luna Venegas’ “Green Desert” (“Desierto Verde”) won color correction, sound and subtitle services from Válvula Films.

CINEMA 226 AWARDS

Four films were selected by Mexico-based production collective Cinema 226 to receive customized consultation for their projects. Madrigal’s “Lost Men,” “Karukinka” and “Boy Man” each made the cut, along with director Jorge Acevedo and producer Mixie Araya’s “Custodio, The Tiger of the East.” Set up at Chile’s Yareta Producciones, it tracks the journey of an ambitious musician and cowboy who dreams of performing for his favorite band, The Tigers of the North.

SANFIC INDUSTRIA 2021 AWARDS WINNERS

WORK IN PROGRESS IBEROAMERICA

GOES TO CANNES

“The Life That’s Left,” (Flavio Botelho, Brazil)

“That Weekend,” (Mara Pescio, Argentina, Brazil)

“Empty House,” (Giovani Borba, Brazil)

“(Im)Patient,” (Constanza Fernández, Chile)

“El ciego, border with death,” (Martin Desalvo, Argentina)

YAGAN FILMS

“That Weekend,” (Mara Pescio, Argentina, Brazil)

AVID MEDIA COMPOSER + LATAM CINEMA

“The Life That’s Left,” (Flavio Botelho, Brazil)

CHEMISTRY

“The Life That’s Left,” (Flavio Botelho, Brazil)

WIP MALAGA

“Those below,” (Alejandro Quiroga, Bolivia, Colombia)

SERIES

CONECTA FICTION

“Anonymous Voices,” (Hernán Alberto Caffiero, Chile)

“Dubois,” (César González, Chile, Italy)

SERIES MANIA

“Silver Bridge,” (Katherina Harder, Chile)

CINEMACHILE

“Insomniac,” (Constanza Lobos, Chile)

SANFIC-MÓRBIDO LAB

BLOOD WINDOW

“Crono-Capsulas,” (Dennis Gómez, Costa Rica)

MÓRBIDO

“Crono-Capsulas,” (Dennis Gómez, Costa Rica)

“El Viejo,” (Sebastian De Caro, Argentina)

“Santos Remedios,” (Sofia Garza-Barba, Mexico)

LATINO LENSE WORKSHOP

“Matria,” (Sandra Arriagada, Lucio Rojas, Chile)

SANTIAGO LAB FICCION

MAFF

“Celestial Twins,” (Niles Atallah, Giancarlo Nasi, Chile)

INDUSTRIA GUADALAJARA

“Beach House,” (Kim Elizondo, Gabriela Fonseca, Costa Rica)

HD ARGENTINA: Ficción

“Beach House,” (Kim Elizondo, Gabriela Fonseca, Costa Rica)

NUEVAS MIRADAS

“Bad Mother,” (Catalina González, Dominga Ortuzar, Chile)

SALÓN DE PRODUCTORES Y PROYECTOS CINEMATOGRÁFICOS DEL FESTIVAL INTERNACIONAL DE CINE DE CALI

“Kaye,” (Juan Cáceres, Alejandro Ugarte, Chile)

NALIP MEDIA SUMMIT

“Karukinka,” (Juan Pablo Arias, Maximiliano Scheleff, Chile)

LATINO LENSE WORKSHOP

“Boy Man,” (Paula Romaní, Clara Larraín, Chile)

SANTIAGO LAB DOCUMENTAL

VÁLVULA FILMS

“Green Desert,” (Meliza Luna Venegas, Isabel Orellana, Chile)

LATINO LENSE WORKSHOP

“The Broken R,” (Ricardo Ruales, Soledad Santelices, Ecuador, Italy)

“Anna Borges do Sacramento,” (Aida Bueno, Paula Zyngierman, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Cuba)

NALIP DIVERSE WOMEN IN MEDIA FORUM

Laura Nogal (“Carropasajero,” Colombia)

FIDBA

“Lost Men,” (Andrés Madrigal, Sofía Meza, Costa Rica)

DOCSMX-DOCSFORUM

“Transmutation,” (Ana Benitez, Gabriela Calvache, Ecuador)

PREMIO CINEMA 226 SANTIAGO LAB

CINEMA 226

“Lost Men,” (Andrés Madrigal, Sofía Meza, Costa Rica)

“Custodio, The Tiger of the East,” (Jorge Acevedo, Mixie Araya, Chile)

“Karukinka,” (Juan Pablo Arias, Maximiliano Scheleff, Chile)

“Boy Man,” (Paula Romaní, Clara Larraín, Chile)

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