2 items from 2015
113 films from 20 countries were submitted to the Films in Progress 28 initiative at the San Sebastian Film Festival. The final selection includes: "Aquí no ha pasado nada" (Much Ado About Nothing) by Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile),whose previous film, "To Kill a Man," won numerous prizes at international festivals and represented Chile at the Oscars last year; "Era o Hotel Cambridge" (The Cambridge Squatter) by Eliane Caffé (Brazil - France), "La Emboscada" (The Ambush) by Daniel Hendler (Uruguay - Argentina), "La Princesita" (The Princess) by Marialy Rivas (Chile - Argentina - Spain), "Rara" by Pepa San Martín (Chile - Argentina) and "Sobrevivientes de Rober Calzadilla" (Venezuela - Colombia).
Films in Progress gains strength as a not-to-be-missed gathering for Latin American production. Four of the films presented last year at San Sebastian, in Films in Progress 26, will be screened at this year’s Festival: Eugenio Canevari’s "Paula" will compete in the New Directors section and Jayro Bustamante’s "Ixcanul,"which has just been announced as Guatemala's Oscar submission, will screen in the Horizontes Latinos section, having won the Silver Bear – Alfred Bauer Award at the Berlin Festival.
Salvador de Solar’s "Magallanes," winner of the Films in Progress Industry Award and Aly Muritiba’s "Para minha amada morta" (To My Beloved), will also compete for the Horizontes Award. And another of the films presented last year, Sergio Castro’s "La mujer de barro" (The Mud Woman), was programmed in the Berlin Festival’s Forum section.
Among the projects revealed at the Toulouse event last March, Pablo Agüero’s "Eva no duerme" (Eva doesn't sleep) is programmed in the official competition; Sebastián Brahm’s "Vida sexual de las plantas" (Sex Life of Plants) is part of the New Directors selection; and Lorenzo Vigas’s "Desde allá" (From afar) will be presented in Horizontes Latinos after having participated in the official competition at the Venice Festival.
"Aquí No Ha Pasado Nada" (Much Ado About Nothing) Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile) Young, daring and lonely, Vicente spends his life at his parent’s home by the beach. These are days of relaxation, sea and partying with anyone who’s up for it. But one night of alcohol and flirting will change his life forever; he is accused of a hit-and-run crime in which a fisherman is killed. "I wasn’t driving", he says, but his memories are hazy and he says the boy at the wheel was the son of an influential politician. Power, manipulation and guilt will send his sweet summer holidays careering towards a bitter end. This is the third time the director has participated in Films in Progress. His previous film, "Matar a un hombre" (To Kill a Man), landed the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival.
"Era o Hotel Cambridge" (The Cambridge Squatter)
Eliane Caffé (Brazil - France) The Cambridge Squatter shows us the unusual situation of the Brazilian homeless and refugees who squat together in an abandoned building in downtown Sao Paulo. The daily tension caused by the threat of eviction reveals the dramas, the joys and the different points of view of the squatters.
"La Emboscada" (The Ambush) Daniel Hendler (Uruguay - Argentina) Martin Marchand throws himself into the political contest. As a result of his work in the social media, a traditional political structure invites him to join their list. Martin calls in technicians and advisors to create his campaign image. Over a weekend, immersed in the bucolic setting of a country house, they get down to designing the leader’s image. But an infiltrator seeking to obtain information on the coming electoral alliance creates an atmosphere of mistrust. The film, with the working title of "El Palomar," participated in the I Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.
"La Princesita" (The Princess) Marialy Rivas (Chile - Argentina - Spain) A film inspired by true events in Southern Chile. A family sect only has one purpose and belief: a new order is necessary. Tamara, 11, is responsible for procreating the leaders of the new world. Disgruntled with her "lot”, Tamara’s sexual exploration with a boy in her year at school will have unexpected consequences, marking her violent transition from childhood to womanhood. Tamara will gain her freedom in a way she had never imagined. Marialy Rivas’s previous film, "Joven y alocada," participated in Films in Progress and landed awards at Sundance and Bafici, among other festivals.
"Rara" Pepa San Martín (Chile - Argentina) A story inspired by the case of a Chilean judge who lost the custody of her children for being a lesbian, told from the point of view of her eldest daughter Sara, aged 13. The screenplay is based on true events that could be related as a tale of lawyers and courthouses, lawsuits, claimants, defenders and victims, but instead, it will be the story of a family.
"Sobrevivientes" Rober Calzadilla (Venezuela - Colombia) 1988. The town of El Amparo. Border with Colombia. Chumba and Pinilla survive an armed assault in the channels of the Arauca River in which fourteen of their companions are killed in the act. The Venezuelan Army accuses them of being guerrilla fighters and tries to seize them from the cell where they are being watched over by a policeman and a group of locals to prevent them from being taken away. They say they are simple fishermen, but pressure to yield to the official version is eye-watering.
Films in Progress Industry Award : The companies Daniel Goldstein, Deluxe Spain, Dolby Iberia, Laserfilm Cine y Video, Nephilim producciones, No Problem Sonido and Wanda Visión will assume the post-production of a film until obtaining a Dcp subtitled in English and its distribution in Spain
- Sydney Levine
Marialy Rivas had a hit on her hands with the delightfully provocative Sundance hit "Joven Y Alocada" (Young and Wild), a film that is an energetic kaleidoscope of sex, defiance & artistically experimental – everything that pretty much happens to you when you come-of-age. Rivas was back at Sundance this year, which saw her switch gears to a short documentary entitled "Melody." Set in Chonchi, a small town in Chiloé, one of the most southern islands in Chile, Melody Jerez is a teacher who was determined to bring escape through music to her students, one being Georgina, a flower on the wall, precocious young girl. Here we capture their journey from a poor, seemingly inescapable town to the grand Teatro Municipal in Chile’s capital, Santiago. "Melody" is one of the most beautiful, delicate films about the virtue of what the simple act of caring can do in a child’s life.
LatinoBuzz: How did you meet Melody Jerez and Georgina and what exactly made you decide that you wanted to make this film?
Marialy: I was participating in the short film challenge of the Sundance Institute, sponsored by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The premise was: to tell a story about people that help other people to overcome poverty. There are good people in the world they said, let's show their stories. I do believe that with all my heart so the challenge sounded perfect. What drew me to the film was an actual serious problem in Chile. My country, after Pinochet's dictatorship became a place with one of the most expensive education system in the world, this in time has generated no social mobility, if you are born poor, you won't be able to study so it's almost certain you will stay poor for the rest of your life. I thought the story of the Youth Orchestras, a free music program for at risk children, was a good example on how education can change your life forever so this would show how urgent is to make education free for everyone. This little story will mirror the big picture of my country. I knew the first youth Orchestra started during the 90's in Curanilahue so I start asking who belonged to that Orchestra.
Then one day Melody appeared. She was working as an Orchestra teacher herself for the Chilean Youth Orchestras Foundation. From then on everything was a mix of luck and the beauty of the always giving Universe. Approaching the Sundance challenge, I knew I wanted to tell the story about a woman and a girl, both musicians, I wanted the story of them to mirror each other. I spoke to Melody on a Tuesday by Skype and I flew to shoot her on Thursday because she was having the big concert that appears at the end of the film that same Sunday. I knew I have to shoot that event. The first day I arrived I asked Melody to introduce me to all her girls between 8 and 12 that played in her Orchestra. I took them all to a nearby gym and interview them about how they felt about music. Georgina struck me for her determination and hunger for music. When I told Melody I picked Geo, she asked why and I said I could see in her eyes she wanted music more than anything.
Only then the story of Geo was revealed to me, how she was living with Melody as a "daughter". I didn't know they were connected when I picked them separately and the story of both of them was more powerful than anything I could ever have imagined. When I was editing my editor told me: I think I have heard the name Melody before, I think a friend of mine did a short film in the nineties with a girl named Melody... we contacted the filmmaker and again another amazing gift: there she was, Melody on film, at 10 years old. That ended up closing the circle of the story. It was a beautiful experience to say the least.
LatinoBuzz: The voice over is spoken in such a wonderful manner you would think Melody and Georgina are thinking aloud to themselves or to anyone who may listen. What was the process of that?
Marialy: When I approached the documentary I knew I wanted the short to have a poetic feel to it, like Hiroshima Mon Amour or Miguel Gomes Redemption. I recorded hours of interview with both of them, I reviewed the material, I edited the conversations and then we went back with Melody and Geo to all the subjects so we will use their words and experience but sounding like a stream of consciousness, we recorded that and it was the final voice over of the film.
LatinoBuzz: Did you enjoy making a documentary as much as you do a narrative?
Marialy: Oh my God they are so exciting in such different ways. With the documentary it felt all the time like a gift, I was just there watching an amazing story unravel, these diamonds were there ready to shine and I just needed to pay attention. It is also a lot of improvisation, trust in the moment, to go where the story is taking you, you have to be present at all times. And wow, the places they can take you. At least this is how this experience felt to me. I liked the smaller crew. I liked the fact that the scripts builds itself as you go But I also think It Is So Incredibly Hard!!! This was a short film and I was lucky that everything flowed almost in a magical way but I can see how hard a feature documentary can be, building the trust, waiting, being there, I really think documentary filmmakers are heroes.
LatinoBuzz: You start the next film this week? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Marialy: I can tell you that I feel like I am gonna start escalating the Everest and I know I need more weeks of training and more weeks to arrive to the top but it's now or never. Movies in Latin America and probably at this point everywhere in the world except Hollywood and Bollywood are always lacking money. I would give everything for one more week of preproduction and one more week of shooting. But what we have I have to make it work, so I will leap into the void hoping I will be able to make it. Are we ever ready to anything I wonder? Maybe I keep telling this to myself to not go crazy.
LatinoBuzz: Do you hope your film can open eyes in Chile to further enhance children’s education through the arts?
Marialy: Oh yes I wish it could. Kids are everything, they are so willing to learn and grow in all the possible ways and it is our duty as adults to open a world of opportunities to them. They can all make it and the arts introduce amazing values in the children. Creativity and Discipline in the same extent. Enjoy the music you play but also experience the tremendous effort to play it well. I think like sound pretty similar to life no?
LatinoBuzz: The closing shot of them is gorgeous. My favorite. They look like sisters and you feel the love formed between them. What is their relationship today?
Marialy: The have formed a family. A family with their own rules and timings, but a family. When I was shooting them, they used to only make jokes about music and talk long about composers. It’s true they are like sisters maybe even more than an "adoptive mom", they love each other profoundly and this love is what you see piercing the screen. They admire each other, they support each other. It is profoundly beautiful.
Follow Marialy on the twittersphere @marialy_rivas
Written by Juan Caceres . LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow [At]LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook
- Juan Caceres
2 items from 2015