Cartagena Film Fest Kicks Off With Political Period Film 'Roa'

The 53rd edition of Latin America’s oldest fest increases its program with more than 100 features.

BUENOS AIRES – The 53rd edition of the Cartagena de Indias Film Fest kicks off Thursday with a screening of Andres Baiz’s political period piece Roa, starring Catalina Sandino Moreno. A biopic set in the late 1940s, Roa centers on Juan Roa Sierra (Mauricio Puentes), the alleged murderer of Bogota Mayor and popular presidential candidate Jorge Eliecer Gaitan.

The oldest Latin American film festival, FICCI has increased the amount of films this year, going from 77 to 107. The official fiction competition features 15 features from Ibero-America: The Lighthouse (Luis Fernando ‘Pacho’ Bottia); 7 Boxes (Juan Carlos Maneglia and Tana Schembori); Here and There (Antonio Mendez Esparza); Show White (Pablo Berger); Dog Flesh (Fernando Guzzoni); Cielo Oscuro (Joel Calero); Colors (Francisco Garcia); Belated (Barbara Sarasola-Day); Il Futuro (Alicia Scherson); Clandestine Childhood (Benjamin Avila); Las Lagrimas (Pablo Delgado Sanchez); Senoritas (Lina Rodriguez); Tabu (Miguel Gomes); So Much Water (Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge); and Viola (Matias Piñeiro).

FICCI’s Documentary Competition will open with Priscilla Padilla’s La eterna noche de dos lunas and features 12 films, including Alejo Hoijman’s The Shark Eye, Oskar Alegria’s The Search for Emak Bakia and Jose Luis Garcia’s The Girl From the South.

In the Galas section, FICCI will screen controversial film Operacion E, inspired by the story of a peasant who was given a baby to look after by the FARC (the Colombian guerrilla). The child was the son of Clara Rojas, who was kidnapped in 2002 together with presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and released in 2008. Rojas herself filed an injunction to prevent the screening of the film, which was overruled by the local courts.

“Forbidding us to screen this film would have been an unfair and unnecessary control mechanism, and we believe the Cartagena International Film Festival is the most adequate scenario for the film’s first public screening," said FICCI director Monika Wagenberg.  

Channeling a currently booming local film production, the FICCI’s industry arm Cartagena Meetings will welcome more than 100 filmmakers, producers, writers and journalists to be part of an International Producers Meeting, a Documentary Production Workshop, a Colombian Film Video Library, a Film Criticism Workshop and a Film Festival Management Workshop.

International guests include Paul Schrader, Harvey Keitel, Aaron Eckhart, Raoul Peck and Eric Cantona.

The Cartagena de Indias International Film Festival runs Feb. 21 to 27.