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Six films have been selected for coveted spots in the San Sebastian International Film Festival’s Films in Progress sidebar, which is dedicated to unfinished Latin American gems.
The films that made the cut from the 181 titles submitted are: Mateina by Joaquin Penagaricano and Pablo Abdala (Uruguay – Brazil – Argentina); Sharks by Lucia Garibaldi (Uruguay – Argentina); The Prince by Sebastian Munoz (Chile – Argentina); Sirena by Carlos Pineiro (Bolivia); Ni heroe ni traidor by Nicolas Savignone (Argentina); and Los fuertes by Omar Zuniga (Chile).
The Films in Progress section awards postproduction financial aid to Latin American films and a slot on the festival circuit the following year. Created in 2002, it has become a platform for the international launch of new talents and a meeting point for the Latin America audiovisual industry.
This year’s event, which is heavily attended by industries execs looking for a sneak peak at promising films in the pipeline, will run Sept. 24-26 during the festival.
Mateina is the first feature film directed by Penagaricano and Abdala. Both are the writers and directors of the short films La velocidad de los ceibos (2006) and Nuestra hospitalidad (2010). Mateina is set in the Uruguay of 2045 where everything’s pretty much the same, except that it is now forbidden to drink mate.
Zuniga, Garibaldi and Munoz also vie for the postproduction aid with feature film debuts. Sharks focuses on a seaside resort threatened by the rumor of sharks approaching its coasts and reflects on the search for empathy. The Prince is set in Chile in the early 1970s and narrates the experiences of a 20-year-old sent to prison for stabbing his best friend.
Zuniga won the Teddy Award at the Berlinale in 2015 with the short film San Cristobal. He now debuts in features with Los Fuertes, a film starring a man who falls for a local boatswain while visiting his sister in a remote Southern Chilean town. The film is produced by Chilean director Dominga Sotomayor, the recent recipient of an award in Locarno for her film Too Late to Die Young.
In Sirena, Pineiro shows the search for and rescue of an engineer’s body in a remote island on Lake Titicaca, while Savignone’s Ni heroe ni traidor is about a young boy who dreams of going to Spain to study music.
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