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Benjamín Avila to Direct ‘The Commitment,’ Which Gets a First Promo (Exclusive)

Chile’s Storyboard Media and Argentina’s Magma Cine first announced at Ventana Sur, late November’s Buenos Aires Latin American film market, that the two companies had formalized an agreement to co-produce a new political thriller titled “The Commitment.”

At the time screenwriters Paola Campos, Bernardita Olmedo and Fernando Castillo were all attached. But a director had not been tied down. Late Saturday, Storyboard’s Gabriela Sandoval informed Variety that Argentine producer-director Benjamín Ávila has agreed to fill that role.

Ávila has an impressive resume as a producer. His singular previous fiction feature as a director, “Clandestine Childhood” was a festival and award show hit. It won San Sebastian’s Films in Progress, world premiered at Cannes, San Sebastian and Guadalajara, earned a Goya nomination for Foreign Spanish-Language Film, and cleaned up at the Argentine Academy Awards where Avila won best director, best screenplay – shared with Marcelo Müller – and best film.

In “[link
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Ventana Sur: ‘Immutable Evil,’ ‘Guardian,’ ‘Elf,’ ‘Under Your Feet’ Set for 2016 Blood Window

Argentina’s “The Immutable Evil,” “The Guardian,” and “Under Your Feet” and Colombia’s “The Elf” are among a 16-project lineup at the 4th Blood Window, one of Latin America’s strongest industry pushes to consolidate a prime export assets: Genre movies.

Playing Blood Window’s Beyond the Window co-pro forum, as the other titles, “The Inmutable Evil” is a psychological thriller lead-produced by Argentina’s Red Elephant Films and Guante Negro Films and to be directed by Matías Salinas whose debut, “Omen,” took Best Latin American Feature at the Nocturna Film Fest 2015.

“I want to experience the detective genre through psychological terror, where childhood trauma, the ghosts of the past, unhealthy obsession and sexual prejudice construct the most genuine of horrors,” Salinas said. Now shooting “Parallel,” starring Martin Wallstrom (“Mr Robot”) and Georgia King (“Vice Principals,” “Kill Your Friends”), Isaac Ezban produces “Evil”.

Winner of the first Argentine Fantastic
See full article at Variety - Film News »

Call for Entries for Films in Progress 29 Toulouse - Deadline January, 20th 2016

Films in Progress, a joint initiative between Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse and the San Sebastian Festival, serves to facilitate the completion of rigorously selected independent Latin American films that might be facing difficulties in funding their way into the post-production stage.

Since 2002, this double event presents an annual selection of 12 works-in-progress in two sessions: 6 films in Toulouse in march and 6 films in September in San Sebastián.

Films in Progress allows for these films to be finished, it gives them an international visibility among professionals and promotes their circulation and exhibition.

Films in Progress encourages the meeting and cooperation between the producers of the selected works-in-progress and European partners to help the films reach more screens and audiences. <ore than 300 professionals, among the most influential on the European and international industries take part each year in these two sessions. Films in Progress is the unmissable and strategic meeting point for Latin American films and the rest of the world.

In the last few years, Films in Progress has contributed efficiently to the completion, exposition and commercialization of the most remarkable Latin American films: "Tony Manero" by Pablo Larraín, "Gloria" by Sebastián Lelio, "Sangre" by Amat Escalante, "Infancia Clandestina" by Benjamín Ávila, "La Sirga" by William Vega, "La Playa" by Juan Andrés Arango, "Bad Hair" by Mariana Rondón, "Historia del Miedo" by Benjamin Naishtat, "To Kill a Man" by Alejandro Fernández Almendras, "Ixcanul" by Jayro Bustamente, "From Afar" by Lorenzo Vigas among others.

By involving film professionals capable of contributing to the film's post-production, and by encouraging distributors and promoters to diversify their offer, San Sebastian and Toulouse hope to develop and strengthen, with as much pragmatism and efficiency as possible, respect for and the promotion of cultural diversity based on a spirit of solidarity and cooperation.

Three Awards

-Toulouse's Films in Progress Award consists of 58.850 € in post-production services in France offered by prestigious organizations: a grant from the Cnc, a residence in Paris by the Ccas, audio post-production from Mactari, technical help from Titra Tvs, color correction program by Firelfly, an auditorium and other materials for the film's calibration from Commune Image and the coordination of the post-production from Eaux vives.

-Ciné + Award consists in the guaranteed purchase of the film by a French distributor for the amount of 15.000 euros by Ciné +

-European Distributors and Exhibitors Award consists in the promotion of the winning film in the network of 130 distributors part of Europa Distribution and in the 2.000 exhibitors part of Cicae.

Submission

The feature films presented must be a minority or major Latin American productionThe length of the feature film in its final version must be over 60 minutesThe film must be at the post-production stage (first cut at minimum)The cut submitted for evaluation must be subtitled in English or in Spanish if it is not in Spanish.

There is no charge of fees for the registrationDeadline : January 20th, 2016

In case the film is selected:The director and the producer have to be in Toulouse on March 16th, 17th and 18th, 2016The film must be subtitled in EnglishThe screening format is Blu Ray (" copies for back up)Selection will be announced in early March 2016

Online Submission Form
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Films in Progress 27 Toulouse Submissions

Films in Progress 27 will take place on March 26 and 27 within the framework of the 27th edition of the festival Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse.

Since 2002, this double event jointly organized by the festivals of Toulouse and San Sebastián, presents an annual selection of 12 works-in-progress within two sessions: 6 films in Toulouse in march and 6 films in San Sebastián in September.

Films in progress promotes the meeting and cooperation between the producers of the selected works-in-progress and European partners to make the films reach screens and audiences. With more than 400 professionals, among the most influential on the European and international level, taking part each year to these two sessions, Films in Progress is the unmissable and strategic meeting point with Latin American films and professionals connected to Latin America.

In recent years, Films in Progress have contributed efficiently to the completion, diffusion and commercialization of some the most remarkable Latin American films: "Tony Manero" by Pablo Larraín, "Gloria" by Sebastián Lelio, "Sangre" by Amat Escalante, "Clandestine Childhood" by Benjamín Ávila, "La Sirga" by William Vega, "La Playa D.C." by Juan Andrés Arango, "Bad Hair" by Mariana Rondón, "History of Fear" by Benjamin Naishtat, "To Kill a Man" by Alejandro Fernández Almendras.

Film in Progress is a label that generates trust between the community of professionals from both side of Atlantic Ocean.

Awards

Three prizes will be awarded in Film in Progress 27

Toulouse Films in Progress Award consists of 58.850 € in post-production services in France, offered by prestigious organizations: a grant from the Cnc, a residence in Paris by the Ccas, sound post-production by Mactari, technical works from Titra Tvs, color correction program by Firefly, auditorium and material for calibration from Commune Imageand the coordination of the post-production by Eaux vives.

Ciné + Award consists of the guarantee to the French distributor of the purchase of the winning film for the amount of 15.000 euros by Cine + Broadcast.

European Distributors and Exhibitors Award consists in the promotion of the winning film in the networks of the 130 distributors of Europa Distribution and the 2.000 members of the Cicae.

Submission of a work in progress

The feature films presented must be a Latin American production The length of the feature film in its final version must be over 60 minutes The film must be at the post-production stage (minimum first cut) The cut that is presented for evaluation must last a minimum of 45 minutes The cut presented for evaluation must be subtitled in English if it is not Spanish-speaking There is no charge of fees for the registration The application must be done online: here Deadline : January 30, 2015 In the case that the film is selected:

The director and the producer have to be in Toulouse on March 25, 26 and 27 of 2015 The film must be subtitled in English The screening format is Blu-ray (2 copies for back up) The selection will be announced in early March 2015.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Films in Progress 27 Toulouse Submissions Open Through January the 30th of 2015

Films in Progress 27 will take place on the 26th and 27th of March within the framework of the 27th edition of the festival Cinélatino, Rencontres de Toulouse.

Since 2002, this double event jointly organized by the festivals of Toulouse and San Sebastián, presents an annual selection of 12 works-in-progress in two sessions: 6 films in Toulouse in march and 6 films in San Sebastián in September.

Films in progress promotes the cooperation between the producers of the selected works-in-progress and European partners to make the films reach screens and audiences across the world. With more than 400 professionals, among the most influential on the European and international level, taking part each year to these two sessions, Films in Progress is the unmissable and strategic meeting point with Latin American films and professionals connected to Latin America.

In the last years, Films in Progress have contributed efficiently to the finalization, difusion and commercialization of the most remarkable Latin American films: "Tony Manero" by Pablo Larraín, "Gloria" by Sebastián Lelio, "Sangre" by Amat Escalante, "Clandestine Childhood" by Benjamín Ávila, "La Sirga" by William Vega, "La Playa" by Juan Andrés Arango, "Bad Hair" by Mariana Rondón, "Historia del Miedo" by Benjamin Naishtat, "To Kill a Man" by Alejandro Fernández Almendras...

Film in Progress is a label that generates trust between the community of professionals from both sides of Atlantic Ocean.

Awards

Three prizes will be awarded in Film in Progress 27

Toulouse Films in Progress Award consists of 58.850 € of post-production services to be done in France, offered by prestigious organizations: a grant from the Cnc, a residence in Paris by the Ccas, sound post-production by Mactari, technical works from Titra Tvs, color correction program by Firefly, auditorium and material for calibration from Commune Image and the coordination of the post-production by Eaux vives.Ciné + Award consists in the guarantee that Cine + Broadcast will be the French distributor of the winning film. It will be purchased for 15.000 euros.European Distributors and Exhibitors Award consists in the promotion of the winning film in the networks of the 130 distributors of Europa Distribution and the 2.000 members of the Cicae.

Submission of a work-in-progress

The feature films presented must be a minority or major Latin American productionThe length of the feature film in its final version must be over 60 minutesThe film must be at the post-production stage (minimum first cut)The cut that is presented for evaluation must last a minimum of 45 minutesThe cut presented for evaluation must be subtitled in English if it is not Spanish-speakingThere is no charge of fees for the registrationThe application must be done online: hereDead line : January the 30th 2015

In the case that the film is selected:

the director and the producer have to be in Toulouse on March 25, 26 and 27 of 2015the film must be subtitled in Englishthe screening format is Blu Ray (2 copies for back up)The selection will be announced in early March 2015.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

Clandestine Childhood Movie Review

  • ShockYa
Clandestine Childhood Movie Review
Title: Clandestine Childhood Director: Benjamín Ávila Starring: Natalia Oreiro, Ernesto Alterio, César Troncoso, Teo Gutiérrez Romero, Cristina Banegas, Douglas Simon, Violeta Palukas, Marcelo Mininno, Mayana Neiva. When abuse of power and violence take over, the crossroads between ideals and the safeguard of your loved ones is inevitable. The Argentinian director, Benjamín Ávila, was inspired by his personal infancy in the making of this historical film, set during the “Dirty War,” the time of state terrorism in Argentina. ‘Clandestine Childhood’ portrays the story of a married couple of Montoneros (the organisation fighting against the Military Junta ruling the country) living in Cuba with their two children, who manage, through the help [ Read More ]

The post Clandestine Childhood Movie Review appeared first on Shockya.com.
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It's Cuba!

It’s Cuba! Where else would The Havana International Film Festival’s Opening and Closing Night take place except in The Karl Marx Theater? Opening with music by Cuba’s greatest salsa group, Los Van Van, the 34th edition is still headed by its founder and Fidel Castro’s teacher in Communism, Alfredo Guevara, who dedicated this edition to the new generation of filmmakers which represents the future of cinema. The 10 day festival showcased a broad range of new and not-so-new films from Cuba, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Peru and fellow Caribbean nations, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Curacao and others whose cinema is being aided by their governments and whose youth is creating a new international cinema with the support of Europe and even, sometimes, Asia.

While this edition paid homage to the youth, also present and recalled were the members of the generations from the ‘60s like Aldo Francia, Chileans Miguel Littin, Patricio Guzman, Jorge Sanjines, Fernado Birri, Fernando Solano, Cacho Pallero, Santiago Alvarez, Glauber Roch, Carlos Diegues, Leon Hizsman, Juaquim Pedro, Tomas Guierrez Alea, Mario Handler, Walter Achugar and many others who in the years ‘67 and ‘68 were themselves inspired by such luminaries as Joris Ivens. Together they were the originators of the phenomenon El Cine de America Latina or New Latin American Cinema influenced mainly by Italian neorealism and other movements of social cinema. Its function was to go against U.S. models and to illuminate the troubled realities of Latin America in the hope of restoring cinema of the continent. Its key moment was the meeting of Latin American Cinema 1967 , which had its impetus in the Chilean Aldo Francia , the Cinema Club of Viña del Mar , the Cuban Alfredo Guevara, the Instituto Cubano de Arte e Industria Film (Icaic) and the Argentine Edgardo Pallero.

Illuminaries such as Annette Benning whose film The Kids are All Right was screening there and Hawk Koch, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, wrote fan letters to Fidel and Raoul and then mixed and caught up with the top critics and journalists of Latin America and festival participants in the gardens of the Hotel Nacional. Miguel Litten and spouse, the parents of Chile’s Christina Littin, one of Chile’s current top producer/ distributors, were often seen there. Their presence reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book Clandestine in Chile about the time when Miguel disguised himself to reenter Pinochet’s Chile from whence he had been exiled. So many stories of exile and return mark the modern history of Latin America.

The first day of the Havana festival was devoted to Eictv, the international film school that Gabriel Garcia Marquez founded in 1986 with his Nobel Prize money on land donated by Cuba. Today it is headed by Rafael Rosal who in his own country, Guatemala, set up the first infrastructure for a film industry – a film school, a film festival and production facilities.

Eictv has a student body from everywhere in Latin America, Europe and even from North America. Last year as the emissary for Woodbury University in Burbank CA, I brought them their first agreement with a U.S. institution and exchanges between students and staff have already begun, bringing TV documentary filmmaker Rolando Almirante for a second time to teach documentaries.

Eictv’s event at the Festival de Cine Nuevo en Habana is Nuevas Miradas, 12 chosen projects whose producers and directors present themselves to the industry and compete for three awards.

Coincidently with the lateness of this blog which I wrote from the Palm Springs International Film Festival -- some of Eictv’s staff’s and students’ films were among Psff’s 22 Latino projects vying for the Cine Latino Prize being offered by Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara. This fact along shows a new unity of purpose among the Latino countries and their festivals (Cuba, Guadalajara and Palm Springs, which as part of the Coachella Valley, has the largest Latino population in the United States.) Among the 22 candidates for Psff’s Best Iberoamerican film were Clandestine Childhood (Argentina/ Brazil/Spain) by Benjamín Ávila, who was the coordinator of Fiction at Eictv and screenwriter Marcelo Muller also participated in Eictv; La Voz Dormida (España) of the emerging filmmaker Benito Zambrano, and 7 Boxes (Paraguay) co-directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia, a student in many of the workshops of Eictv. Eictv considers this exchange of ideas and talents as globally important.

The winners of Nuevas Miradas should be watched as one or several reach fruition. Last year The Visitor (Chile) won and has since raised the budget for a feature length film debut.

The projects, Un Viejo Traje, Moora Moora directed by Australian Rhiannon Stevens and produced by Chilean Esme Joffre, Tus padres volverán directed by Uruguayan Pablo Martínez and produced by Virginia Hinze, Cocodrilos tomando el sol, Cuerpos Celestes by Mexican director Lorena Padilla and producer Liliana Bravo, Revolución de las polleras by Bolivian director Sergio Estrada and producer Valeria Ponce received recognition and free software from Assimilate.

The documentary, Un Viejo Traje (aka The Old Suit), by Cuban director Damián Saínz (a student of Eictv) and producer Viana González received a $2,000 prize.

Fiction project, Cocodrilos tomando el sol, directed by Colombian Carlos Rojas and the Venezuelan producer Carolina Graterol, received a $1,000 prize and a course in directing at Eictv.

A film package for those interested in Cuban film programming

Ann Cross, a Scottish woman married to a Trinidadian is always in Havana. She programs the best selection of current Cuban features for U.K. distribution. This year she gave me this list of her favorites and many people concurred with her.

Y sin embargo (aka Nevertheless) by Rudy Mora also won the Beijing Film Festival prize which is surprising in that it is about school children challenging the school system, and challenging any systems in China (and perhaps in Cuba as well) is highly problematic. The child actors are exceptional. The type of burlesque comedy is typical of Cuba. Produced and Isa (international sales agent) is the Cuban government film group Icaic.

Irredemediablemente Juntos (aka Irredeemably Together) by Jorge Luis Sanchez Gonzalez is brave and challenging. Purportedly about classical music and Cuban music and the conflict between the two, it is really about race and the synthesis between black and white, Cuban and European Classical is reached in the story.

Cresciendo en la musica is about teaching music to children.

El sangre en la casa, en la escuela y en la calle (aka Blood in the House, in the School and in the Street) is a British-Cuban coproduction about Matanza, a town just outside of Havana where Cuban music roots are.

La piscine (aka The Swimming Pool) by Calvo Machado might not stand alone in the U.S. but would be good in a package.

Binchi by Eduardo Galano is about the 2 classes clashing in prison.

At the top of Ann’s list and on top of many others’ lists is Melaza.

What I saw and liked

It was also a time for me to catch up of Latin American cinema I have missed. My favorite was Chilean film Jueves a Domingo (aka from Thursday to Sunday) by Dominga Sotomayer. This road trip by a young couple and their 7 year old son and 11 year old daughter tells a story through the daughter’s eye of a loving family’s vacation and their father’s decision to move from Santiago to the countryside. We never know what he is getting away from (Pinochet?) but we see what is supposed to be a vacation transforms the family’s wholeness. The loving light touch of Sotomayer reminds me of Eric Rohmer’s four films of the seasons.

Lucie Malloy’s Una Noche was mobbed by the Cuban public wanting to see this film about two young defectors from Cuba; the police were called to break up the crowd and the overflow had a special screening set up. We hear that the young woman star who defected with her costar on the way to the Tribeca Film Festival and who landed up in Las Vegas is now in “exile mode” bewailing how she misses her family. La probrecita!! Yet another exile story. Had she waited a month, travel from Cuba would be legal. Una Noche is now here in Palm Springs as well, competitng for the Cine Latino Prize.

Other films I saw and liked

El Limpiador and Ombras were both without subtitles (as was Pablo Lorrain’s closing night film No) and so I could only watch a part of them. However I did see El Limpiador here in Palm Springs and was impressed with its simplicity and its authenticity and loving heart. A low tech take on a mysterious illness killing people in the Peruvian city of Lima, the film was simple, sometimes funny and in the end very satisfying.

A film which divided the audience neatly between men and women was the Brazilian feature Brecha Silencia (aka Breaching the Silence) about domestic violence from which 3 siblings barely escape. The subject of violence toward women was also the subject of a short which showed in every public screening. Called Ya No, this short Latin American backed PSA brings public awareness to the unacceptable violent behavior of men toward women often found in schools, in dating, and in homes.

Desde de Lucia playing in Palm Springs also takes on the subject of bullying, this time in a bourgeois Mexican school and centering on a teenage girl who has recently lost her mother.

Taken by Storm

The next segment of the festival was taken up with Trinidad + Tobago Film Festival (t+tff). Emilie Upszak, Artistic Director of t+tff, whom I had met in Havana last year through Icaic’s Luis Notario, and Bruce Paddington the founder and exec director of t+tff were in Havana with a delegation of filmmakers and their films. Since I had missed them all during the extraordinary experience I had at t+tff, I got to see Storm Saulter’s Better Mus Come which has been picked up by the new African Diaspora film distributor for U.S. Affrm (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement).

Storm is Jamaican and took film courses at L.A. Film School, that large private film school on Sunset near Vine, across from the Arclight Theater, where many foreign students go and where many vets go seeking to learn filmmaking. Storm, however, had been making films since he was a kid using super 8mm and at the ripe old age of 27, he has since formed a collective in Jamaica called, the New Caribbean Cinema. His new fiction feature Better Mus Come screened at Trinidad + Tobago film festival and showed here in Havana as well. He will be announcing an international sales agent and a U.S. distributor very soon.

What fun and interesting days and evenings and nights I had with the t+tff folks.

We heard live music, I danced salsa with a Puerto Rican Actor/ Director who dances salsa and has a short in the festival.

Salsa in Havana seems to be losing steam. Reggaeton closes every dance event as the drunken, monotonous final act before going home. However in Jamaica it is transforming itself into Dancehall (what could be more sexual than that except for sex itself?). There is also Rumba, the traditional dance of Afro-Cubans. It is now taking new forms as the newest generation of Cuba takes the stage. Woodbury faculty, in Havana on a hosted tour with the Jose Marti Cultural Institute, led by my friend Cookie Fischer were invited to the top of the Lincoln Hotel on the night the world was to end (remember the Mayan calendar prediction?) and we danced the night away to the live music of Septeto Nacional a 70 year old group. Son was my dance of choice there. For those of you who want to see Cuba before the transition is over, now is the time. You can travel legally from L.A. and Miami, Mexico or anywhere else in the world with a general license. Take advantage of it Now as it is going to get more crowded with tourists. For us film folk, we get a privileged perch, so plan on next December taking in a week of films plus another week or two to see a country whose land and people are unique in Latin America and the Caribbean.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

‘Clandestine Childhood’ a film about wartime displacement and coming-of-age

Clandestine Childhood

Directed by Benjamín Ávila

Argentina, 2011

Philadelphia Film Festival

Benjamín Ávila’s debut feature is a fine balance of youthful longing and militant resistance.

Ernesto (Teo Gutiérrez Romero) has two names. One name – Ernesto – is for his schoolmates, but he goes by Juan at home. His parents also have two names. Horacio goes by Daniel (César Troncoso) and Cristina by Charo (Natalia Oreiro). It’s Argentina in 1979, and five years after Perón’s death, Horacio, Cristina and charismatic Uncle Beto (Ernesto Alterio) continue the fight against the existing regime through violent tactics.

Using a mixed-media strategy where moments of extreme violence are depicted through graphic animations, Ávila’s film keeps the focus firmly on Juan and his budding relationship with a classmate’s sister, María (Violeta Palukas).

Romero’s surprisingly tender and mature performance recalls the two great Ana Torrent roles from the 1970s in Spirit of the Beehive and Cria Cuervos.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

LatinoBuzz: Interview with Benjamín Ávila

In Clandestine Childhood (Infancia Clandestina), writer/director Benjamín Ávila drew inspiration from his personal exiled childhood during Argentina's Dirty War as the son of two Montoneros guerillas. The film, which took prizes at both San Sebastian and Havana Film Festivals last year, is set in 1979 during the family's return from Cuba to fight in the Montoneros counteroffensive operation under new assumed identities. Benjamín spoke to LatinoBuzz about what it meant to see memories from his formative years unfold on the big screen.

Clandestine Childhood is being released in NY and CA on Friday, January 11th, 2013.

LatinoBuzz: What did the actors take away from spending several days with former Montoneros?

Benjamín Ávila: I wanted the actors to have the chance to physically live that era. The most complex challenge for an actor is the ability to give dimension to the story from the time that it happened, not from the present. For them it was important to get rid of all the Whys and be able to answer them by themselves. So I decided to have the actors meet a couple of former guerrilla members to do a training drill for two days, the way it was done back then, as well as for them to have a chance to talk and for the actors to be able to ask anything they wanted.

It was very productive because their body changed, as well as their stand before history. It also helped me to confirm some doubts that had arisen during the process of writing the script. And from that moment on, the improvisations we did were very important in defining some scenes of the film. Particularly the argument scene between the grandmother and mother. That improvisation came after the work we did, and some glorious moments emerged as a result, very complex and incorrect that served to give another dimension to the movie.

LatinoBuzz: Was there a particular audience for this film that was most important for you to see it?

Benjamín Ávila: Not really. But firstly, it is a film that I made for my brothers. And for the children of the disappeared and those killed during the last dictatorship in Argentina. They are the primary audience, but the story is not constructed so that only they understand. On the contrary, I wanted the film to move people, to it would provoke feelings and ideas, without sacrificing the cinematic and artistic construction. Luckily, for all the feedback that I receive from the people who have seen it, I think we have achieved that goal. It's a film that provokes many emotions, that endures for days within the people who see it, and that generates the need to reiterate the questions that were supposedly already answered.

LatinoBuzz: When was the first time you realized that 'Infancia Clandestina' was the story you had to tell?

Benjamín Ávila: I always knew it. Since I was 13, I knew I wanted to work in film. I also knew back then that one day I would film my childhood. Somehow I made a tacit commitment at that time with myself, with my family, and with my own story. Therefore it is very important for me to have completed this process. It is a feeling of a debt paid, like I "had to do" this film. It was a duty rather than a necessity. Now that the film is finished I feel a relief, that of mission accomplished. Now I can be at peace.

LatinoBuzz: How much of what was going on were you very much aware of and how did you process that as a young boy?

Benjamín Ávila: My older brother and I were very aware, even though we were 7 and 8 years old at the time. I always think we were like the kids living in the street, who have a very conscious relationship with their environment. We knew what was happening, what we could and could not say. Although we were doing and saying what we were living, we could not have a dialectical discussion nor a real argument. We understood it all.

For us what we lived was not anything special, but it was normal. It was our life. We could not imagine anything different. This is why we were never traumatized. Even nowadays I miss that lifestyle. That clear and powerful bonding we all had. What was traumatizing was everything else: the absence, the persecution, the disappearance of my mother and not knowing anything to this day, not having been raised with my younger brother (Vicky in the movie). It was not until three yeas ago that we started having a life of ordinary siblings. And it cost a lot to have it...

LatinoBuzz: You were a child of Montoneros, so your childhood was unlike many others yet in the film we largely see this sweet portrayal of this blossoming first love between Juan and Maria –just like any teenager experiences. How much of that was Benjamín wishing that childhood was that innocent?

Benjamín Ávila: What you need to understand is that living in hiding was not something different to normality. It had parameters that were unusual, but we lived them like any other, even inside the house. I remember many common and normal family moments. Like waking up too late at night to watch the matches of the national team playing the World Cup youth soccer, Maradona’s first in Japan, and the matches were at 4 or 6 am. I remember going out at 7am in the morning with all the neighbors to celebrate the championship. My mother chastising me because I was late for school, or because I hadn't made my bed. Family barbecues, like any other Sunday, and so on, thousands of memories as normal as any other.

LatinoBuzz: What happened to “María”?

Benjamín Ávila: Maria never existed at that time. I had my Marías, but in other places and other times!

LatinoBuzz: In writing such a personal story what was the hardest thing to

write and did you avoid anything?

Benjamín Ávila: The most difficult part was at the beginning, trying to detach myself from my own history. Because several things were clear to me: the subject of film, that I did not want to be the protagonist of the story, that the most important part was the reconstruction of a routine

that has never been shown but that was not only mine but of many. That's why I took anecdotes and stories from others... Writing the script with Marcelo Muller, a dear Brazilian friend, helped me to achieve that distance I wanted for the construction of the story. With him I was able to rule out what wasn't important to the film’s story even if it was personally very important to me, and so we achieved that distance even though I deepened what remained. It was as if Marcelo pulled out to keep it to the essential, and I pulled inwards to deepen what remained.

LatinoBuzz: Was the casting difficult? Were you looking for yourself in

the Actor?

Benjamín Ávila: The casting of the children was complicated. We did it with María Laura Berch, an incredible casting director specializing in children, and we elaborated a very clear, yet complex, strategy. We saw over 700 children in total for all the roles, and it took us three months as planned.

But most importantly, we wanted to cast very homely, to give the kids the idea of what the shooting was going to be right from the beginning. And as I do my own camerawork every time I film, I decided I was going to shoot the casting so the kids could get used to my presence close to them and behind the camera from the beginning. And it worked really well.

With the adults it was very different. I saw Ernesto Alterio in the TV series "Vientos de Agua" by Campanella miniseries and compared to other roles I've seen him perform, I found the construction of his character wonderful. Something similar happened with Natalia Oreiro, she is very famous in Argentina but because of roles in comedies or romantic comedies, but seeing her in Caetano's "Francia" I noticed a dramatic profile in which I was very interested. With Cesar Troncoso, he was recommended by Luis Puenzo who had worked with him in "Xxy" the film he produced, directed by his daughter Lucía Puenzo. I had seen him in "The Pope's Toilet" and I had loved his role. And it was always a dream that Cristina Banegas play the role of the grandmother, and luckily we did it!

LatinoBuzz: Was seeing the film for the first time like looking at

photographs of your childhood?

Benjamín Ávila: No, this film has a lot of traits that belong to my childhood but they're for the most part, changed or modified. What does happen to me, is that I see through them my own memories. That happens to me, but it's something very intimate. The photos that appear at the end, which are from my family in reality, is the moment that moves me the most as I get haunted by the echoes of that wonderful past that was destroyed at the moment portrayed by the film.

My production company is called Room 1520 in tribute to the last scene of Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders, where the young kid (Hunter) is reunited with his mother after a long time in that same room... My childhood accompanies much of what I do.

LatinoBuzz: How many details from set design and wardrobe to how the actors who played your parents looked and acted did you involve yourself or were you able to separate yourself?

Benjamín Ávila: The shooting process was very intimate, intense and emotional. All of the staff, technicians and actors, we were involved in a special way. I have a way of working which at first puzzled the team. I like getting carried away by what is happening and then decide each scene based on the actors, the set and the light.

I operate the camera, I always do it when I'm the director, and I like to approach it as a documentary, finding the images based on what happens, as it happens. In that sense, each take was a particular universe of its own, unique and not replicable. Of course some takes came out really bad. But others were magical ... and those are the ones remained.

On the third day of filming something happened that made the whole team realize the scope of what we were doing, and from that moment on, everybody trusted my working technique. It happened that we were shooting Juan's (played by Teo Gutiérrez Moreno) first sequence where he burns the photos, near the end of the film. A tough sequence due to the mood that Juan had to reflect (as he just learns that his father was killed and had just hopelessly cried with his mother), and with children you don't work from a rational place but rather from the body directly, something very natural to them. So, I asked Natalia Oreiro to stand off-screen next to me, and that at moment I said 'action', for her to scream inconsolably, begging for help. On the other hand I told Teo that regardless of whatever was happening, he should not take his eyes off the fire, and that he should run out when I called his name. We got ready and at the moment of saying 'action' Natalia started to scream, heart wrenching, and all that I wanted to happen to Teo, started happening to me with the camera on my shoulder. I began to cry inconsolably (if you look carefully at the scene, the camera moves because I'm crying), as if it was an ancestral cry from some other time, and at some point I yelled at Teo and he perfectly did what he had to do, as usual, an he ran. I said 'cut', gave the camera to my assistant and as I was leaving I saw Natalia crying uncontrollably, everyone saw me and realized I was crying. I went to the video assist and as I entered everybody was very excited, they saw me crying. I asked to see the take… At that moment, everybody including actors, technicians and me, realized that we were doing something more than professional, but also very personal.

LatinoBuzz: Were there any films that influenced the look of the film?

Benjamín Ávila: Absolutely. For the tone of the performance and the gaze of the kids, "My Life as a Dog" by Lasse Halstrom. All of Krystof Kieslowski's filmography, and the political view of the films that Ken Loach made in

England such as "Raining Stones", "Riff-Raff" and "Hidden Agenda".

LatinoBuzz: What's the next project?

Benjamín Ávila: I am writing for a TV series of 40 single chapters. Additionally, I am adapting a novel by Elsa Osorio that I've been wanting to do for 12 years. I'm adapting it with her to make a miniseries of 13 chapters. It's about 40 years of history and involves many characters. A different look at the people who survived or were involved in Argentina's dictatorship.

For Screening times in NY and CA visit: http://www.filmmovement.com/theatrical/index.asp?MerchandiseID=314

Like em at: https://www.facebook.com/Infancia.clandestina

Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, 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 @LatinoBuzz on twitter.
See full article at SydneysBuzz »

International Film Festival of Kerala announces line up

The 17th edition of the International Film Festival of Kerala (Iffk) has announced its lineup. The festival will run from 7th to 14th December, 2012 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Some of the highlights of the lineup are festival favourites of the year Amour, Chitrangada, Samhita, The Sapphires, Drapchi, Miss Lovely, Me and You, Celluloid Man, and Baandhon.

Fourteen films will screen in the Competition section while seven contemporary films will be screened in “Indian Cinema Now” section.

Complete list of films:

Competition Films

Fourteen feature films from Asia, Africa and Latin America will compete for the coveted “Suvarna Chakoram” (Golden Crow Pheasant) and other awards.

Always Brando by Ridha Behi (Tunisia)

Inheritors of the Earth by T V Chandran (India)

A Terminal Trust by by Masayuki Suo (Japan)

Shutter by Joy Mathew (India)

Today by Alain Gomis (Senegal-France)

The Repentant by Merzak Allouache (Algeria)

Sta. Niña by Manny Palo (Philippines)

Present Tense
See full article at DearCinema.com »

Philadelphia Film Festival Recap

The 21st Annual Philadelphia Film Festival came to a close on Sunday, ending a strong 10-day run. Featuring a smattering of entries from Cannes, Toronto and SXSW among others, this year’s Pff lineup was one of the most diverse in recent memory.

Best of the Fest:

Beyond The Hills (Mungiu, 2012)

Cristian Mungiu’s follow-up to 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a horror film that draws as much of its creeping dread from a jarring soundscape as from the events that take place during its pseudo-exorcism narrative.

A test of female friendship and possibly love, Beyond The Hills is also a test of audience endurance. Clocking in at a healthy 150 minutes, Mungiu uses every minute to ramp the tension painfully slowly. The only jump moment in the film is a joke at the fraught nerves expecting something different.

Barbara (Petzold, 2012)

Probably also the simplest film in the festival, Barbara is
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Philadelphia Film Festival 2012: ‘Clandestine Childhood’

Clandestine Childhood

Directed by Benjamín Ávila

Argentina, 2011

Philadelphia Film Festival

Benjamín Ávila’s debut feature is a fine balance of youthful longing and militant resistance.

Ernesto (Teo Gutiérrez Romero) has two names. One name – Ernesto – is for his schoolmates, but he goes by Juan at home. His parents also have two names. Horacio goes by Daniel (César Troncoso) and Cristina by Charo (Natalia Oreiro). It’s Argentina in 1979, and five years after Perón’s death, Horacio, Cristina and charismatic Uncle Beto (Ernesto Alterio) continue the fight against the existing regime through violent tactics.

Using a mixed-media strategy where moments of extreme violence are depicted through graphic animations, Ávila’s film keeps the focus firmly on Juan and his budding relationship with a classmate’s sister, María (Violeta Palukas).

Romero’s surprisingly tender and mature performance recalls the two great Ana Torrent roles from the 1970s in Spirit of the Beehive and Cria Cuervos.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Academy Award for foreign language film nets a record 71 submissions

Academy Award for foreign language film nets a record 71 submissions
For the first time in Academy Award history, 71 countries are vying for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The submissions for 2012 include director Michael Haneke’s Amour, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival; France’s global box office sensation The Intouchables; and Nairobi Half Life, the first film ever submitted by Kenya. Check out the full list below:

Afghanistan: The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi, director

Albania: Pharmakon, Joni Shanaj, director

Algeria: Zabana!, Said Ould Khelifa, director

Argentina: Clandestine Childhood, Benjamín Ávila, director

Armenia: If Only Everyone, Natalia Belyauskene, director

Australia: Lore, Cate Shortland, director

Austria: Amour,
See full article at EW.com - Inside Movies »

Oscars: Amour, The Intouchables, No & Pieta lead submissions for Best Foreign Language Film

  • HeyUGuys
The Oscar season is almost upon us, and the submissions list is in for the Best Foreign Language Film category, featuring a record 71 entries, including the first submission from Kenya.

Last year, Iran’s Asghar Farhadi came away with the top prize for his acclaimed film, A Separation, and the year before, it was Denmark’s Susanne Bier with her In a Better World.

This year, there are already a handful of strong contenders amongst the pack, most notably Michael Haneke’s Amour, for Austria, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes; Olivier Nakache’s and Éric Toledano’s The Intouchables, for France, which has been breaking records at the global box office; Pablo Larráin’s No, for Chile, which also came away from Cannes with an award in hand; Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta, for South Korea, which took four awards at Venice, including (controversially) the Golden Lion; and
See full article at HeyUGuys »

The Intouchables & Amour On Foreign Language Film List For 85th Academy Awards

The Intouchables

A record 71 countries, including first-time entrant Kenya, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®. In May, Michael Haneke.s Amour (Love) won the Palme d.Or at the 65th Cannes Film Festival and was shown this past weekend at the 50th New York Film Festival. However the film I was happiest to see make the list below is from France – The Intouchables from directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Check out our review Here.

In the Academy’s rules, only one picture will be accepted from each country. Plus the Academy Statuette (Oscar) will be awarded to the motion picture and accepted by the director on behalf of the picture.s creative talents. Ultimately five foreign language motion pictures are nominated for this award.

Director/writer Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation from Iran won the Oscar for the Best
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

A Record 71 Countries Vie for 2012 Foreign Language Film Oscar

A record 71 countries, including first-time entrant Kenya, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®. The 2012 submissions are: Afghanistan, "The Patience Stone," Atiq Rahimi, director; Albania, "Pharmakon," Joni Shanaj, director; Algeria, "Zabana!" Said Ould Khelifa, director; Argentina, "Clandestine Childhood," Benjamín Ávila, director; Armenia, "If Only Everyone," Natalia Belyauskene, director; Australia, "Lore," Cate Shortland, director; Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director; Azerbaijan, "Buta," Ilgar Najaf, director; Bangladesh, "Pleasure Boy Komola," Humayun Ahmed, director; Belgium, "Our...
See full article at Comingsoon.net »

Meet Barfi’s 64 Oscar competitors

Meet Barfi’s 64 Oscar competitors
Indian Oscar entry Anurag Basu’s “Barfi” will have to compete with 64 films from around the world. Barfi’s chance will be sealed on January 24th 2013 when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the five nominees.

The deadline for submission of entries for the foreign language category got over yesterday on October 1st.

63 countries had sent their entries for the category last year.

Iran, the winner of last year (A separation) decided not to send an entry this year in protest of a youtube film that ridiculed the prophet.

The final list of submissions is yet to be announced by the academy.

Also Read: Who Selected “Barfi” for Oscars? and Where does “Barfi” stand in the Oscar race?

Here is the complete list of announced submissions:-

Afghanistan – The Patience Stone, directed by Atiq Rahimi (Persian) Albania – Pharmakon, directed by Joni Shanaj (Albania) Algeria – Zabana!, directed by Saïd Ould Khelifa (Arabic,
See full article at DearCinema.com »

Toronto International Film Festival 2012 Lineup

  • MUBI
Above: Ernie Gehr's Auto-Collider Xv.

The vast bulk of Tiff's 2012 has been announced and listed here, below. We'll be updating the lineup with the previous films announced, as well as updating links to specific films for more information on them in the coming days. Of particular note is that the Wavelengths and Visions programs have been combined to create what is undoubtedly the most interesting section of the festival. Stay tuned, too, for our own on the ground coverage of Tiff.

Galas

A Royal Affair (Nikolai Arcel, Demark/Sweden/Czech Republic/Germany)

Argo (Ben Affleck, USA)

The Company You Keep (Robert Redford, USA)

Dangerous Liaisons (Hur Jin-ho, China)

Emperor (Peter Webber, Japan/USA)

English Vinglish (Gauri Shinde, India)

Free Angela & All Political Prisoners (Shola Lynch)

Great Expectations (Mike Newell, UK)

Hyde Park on Hudson (Roger Michell, UK)

Inescapable (Ruba Nadda, Canada)

Jayne Mansfield's Car (Billy Bob Thorton, USA/Russia)

Looper (Rian Johnson,
See full article at MUBI »

Toronto International Film Festival Announces International Guest List Of Filmmakers And Actors To Walk Red Carpet

The 37th Toronto International Film Festival® will roll out the red carpet for hundreds of guests from the four corners of the globe in September. Filmmakers expected to present their world premieres in Toronto include: Rian Johnson, Noah Baumbach, Deepa Mehta, Derek Cianfrance, Sion Sono, Joss Whedon, Neil Jordan, Lu Chuan, Shola Lynch, Barry Levinson, Yvan Attal, Ben Affleck, Marina Zenovich, Costa-Gavras, Laurent Cantet, Sally Potter, Dustin Hoffman, Francois Ozon, David O. Russell, David Ayer, Pelin Esmer, Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Andrew Adamson, Michael McGowan, Bahman Ghobadi, Ziad Doueiri, Alex Gibney, Stephen Chbosky, Eran Riklis, Edward Burns, Bernard Émond, Zhang Yuan, Michael Winterbottom, Mike Newell, Miwa Nishikawa, Margarethe Von Trotta, David Siegel, Scott McGehee, Gauri Shinde, Goran Paskaljevic, Baltasar Kormákur, J.A. Bayona, Rob Zombie, Peaches and Paul Andrew Williams.

Actors expected to attend include: Bruce Willis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jackie Chan, Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Bill Murray, Robert Redford,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

See also

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