Films in Progress Runs as a Key Ingredient to San Sebastian

Six films from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay will screen in the widely popular and professionally advantageous sidebar.

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain – Sales agents and distributors convened San Sebastian Tuesday as the Films in Progress sidebar got under way, showcasing promising unfinished films from Latin America.

“This is always an important place to get a first glimpse of films when you can really see what they are about and there is still time to improve them,” said one Madrid-based distributor at the Kutxa Auditorium.

Sales agents screened Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge’s Tanto Agua, followed by Caru Alves de Souza’s De Menor, Estanislao Buisel Quintana’s Asalto a la Fabrica de Caolventores and Sebastian Sepulveda’s Las Ninas Quispe.

They may not be vying for the top prize at the 60thSan Sebastian International Film Festival, but the cluster of Latin American filmmakers with spools of unfinished film could be the real winners here.

The winner gets a free ticket on post-production costs that see the film to completion with a 35mm copy subtitled in English and a coveted slot in next year’s San Sebastian lineup.

But the showcase has catapulted its participants to the limelight beyond San Sebastian, with a dozen graduates of the initiative seeing their films screen at Cannes and other top festivals.

“With the passing of time, [Films in Progress] has matured to become an indisputable key to the San Sebastian festival and for many young filmmakers and producers with limited resources that see Films in Progress as a launching platform for the international film market,” said distributor Vertigo Films’ financing director Roberto Sanz. “We’re clearing faced here with a necessary and indispensable program in our sector and even more so in these tough times.”

A venture created by the Rencontres Cinemas d’Amerique Latine in Toulouse and the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Films in Progress screens the completed footage exclusively to producers, distributors, technical industries, TV channels, festivals, organizations and companies related to the different stages of the cinematographic process which, as a whole, can play a decisive part in helping these projects reach the general public.

The sidebar is so popular with the industry that the similar initiative, Cinema in Motion, focused on the Maghreb region has also gained stature.

Winners from this year’s edition were announced Monday, with Morocco’s The Golden Calf, directed by Hassan Legzouli winning the top prize of €15,000 in sound mixing, a 35 mm print without subtitles or a subsidy on a digital copy, while Ahmed Nour’s Waves picked up €15,000 in post-production costs and an additional €10,000 for sound mixing from Paris’ Mactari Studio.