'Embrace of the Serpent' Wins Best Film at Santiago Film Festival

Embrace of the Serpent Still - H 2016
Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival

Embrace of the Serpent Still - H 2016

Alejandro Fernandez Almendras named best director for Sundance entry ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’

Ciro Guerra’s 2016 Oscar contender Embrace of the Serpent keeps sweeping Latin American film festivals. This time it won at the Santiago Film Festival (SANFIC), one of the two main film competitions in Chile, where Guerra’s 19th century Amazonian tale nabbed best film honors in the international competition, as well as a special mention for its cinematography.

The first Colombian nominee for best foreign-language film at the Oscars, Embrace of the Serpent swept the Platino Awards (a new local equivalent to the Academy Awards) and topped the Colombian version of the Oscars, the Mar del Plata film fest in Argentina and the Ariel in Mexico, among others. 

SANFIC’s best director prize went to Alejandro Fernández Almendras for his Sundance entry Much Ado About Nothing, a story about a young man from a well-off family who finds himself accused of a fatal hit-and-run, based on a true local scandal involving the son of a former senator in Chile who was absolved after killing a man while driving.

In what was probably the least surprising award, Alfredo Castro (The Club, Tony Manero) grabbed the best acting performance award for Venezuela’s Venice-winner From Afar. Lorenzo Vigas’ film is also the first Latin American submission to the 2017 Oscars.

The 12th Santiago Film Festival ran Aug. 23-28, screening over 100 films and a guest list that included actor Danny Glover and writer-director Paul Schrader.

The main awards are listed below.

International Competition: 

Best film: Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra)

Best director: Alejandro Fernandez Almendras for Much Ado About Nothing

Best acting performance: Alfredo Castro for From Afar

Chilean Competition: 

Best film: El Fumigador

Best director: Carlos Leiva for El primero de la familia

Best acting performance: Sergio Hernández for You’ll Never Be Alone 

Special mentions: Blanca Oscuridad and Andrés Lee i Escribe

Audience award: You’ll Never Be Alone