‘A Wolf at the Door,’ ‘Aurora’ Top Miami Festival
MIAMI – Sold by Mundial, a joint venture of IM Global and Mexico’s Canana, Brazilian Fernando Coimbra’s “A Wolf at the Door” topped the 31st Miami Film Festival Saturday, along with Chilean Rodrigo Sepulveda’s “Aurora.”
Adding to major kudos at the San Sebastian and Rio de Janeiro fests, “A Wolf” scooped the Knight Grand Jury Prize and best director award in Miami’s main Knight Competition, which features first-time feature filmmakers from Latin America, Spain and Portugal such as Coimbra and Matias Luchessi, along with more experienced directors making a step up in scale – Patxi Amezcua, with “7th Floor,” starring Ricardo Darin, and Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, with “To Kill a Man,” a Sundance grand jury prize winner.
Awarded by a jury of “The Impossible” producer Enrique Lopez Lavigne, Juan of the Dead” helmer Alejandro Brugues and “So Much Water” producer Agustina Chiarino, the double Miami plaudits confirm “Wolf,” an involved kidnap thriller narrated by its lying – or questionably reliable – main suspects, as one of the most-lauded of Latin American feature debuts of last year and Coimbra, an arthouse director able to handle more mainstream elements, as a potentially crossover director to track.
“Wolf” was acquired for North America by Paul Hudson’s Outsider Pictures , which also holds North American rights to Costa Rican Neto Villalobos’ debut “All About the Feathers,” which also played in the Knight Competition, plus Amat Escalante’s Cannes best director winner “Heli” and Marcela Said’s “The Summer of Flying Fish,”another notable 2013 debut, which screened at Miami.
Beating off stiff competition, particularly from Cristian Jimenez’s “Voice Over,” “Aurora,” produced by Chile’s Florencia Larrea (“Illiterate”) topped the Miami Fest’s Encuentros, its major competitive industry section, winning its Moviecity prize. Plaudit comes in the form of a $35,000 pre-sales contract from pay TV channel Moviecity.
Featuring a powerful perf by Amparo Noguera as a woman who finds a dead baby girl in a landfill, “Aurora” will now segue to the Toulouse Rencontres in France for another Films in Progress competition, which is traditionally a springboard for selection at Cannes.
A portrait of the titular street photographer, “Finding Vivian Maier,” directed by Charlie Siskel and John Maloof, and Jesse Moss’ “The Overnighters,” which scored terrific reviews off its Sundance screenings, shared the Miami’s Knight Documentary Award.
World preeming in Miami, Colombian Maria Gamboa’s “Mateo,” sold by Paris-based Alpha Violet, won the Lexus Ibero-American Opera Prima Award for the tale of a boy who, while working for his uncle, an money extortionist, falls under the thrall of life in an acting troupe.
“The film that stayed with us with us the most with a perfect combination of acting and cinematography, with its great, dark and white colors to symbolize the personality of the main character was ‘Aurora,” said Sandro Fiorin at L.A-based FiGa, justifying on stage Saturday night the Miami Fest’s Encuentros award.
In truth, the Encuentros plaudit could have gone to most of the five pics at the post-production workshop, curated by Diana Sanchez, a Toronto Fest programmer.
All had their fans, including the street-kid romance “Lulez,” from Argentina’s Luis Ortega (“Black Box,” “Monobloc”) and Patricia Velazquez’s “Two Waters,” a coming of age tale set on the lovingly-lensed if dirt-poor and drug-trade-ravaged Caribbean Costa Rica coast.