'The Wild Ones' Tops Santiago Film Festival Awards

La Playa DC

Juan Andres Arango wins best director for "La Playa DC."

BUENOS AIRES – The latest Latin American entries in Cannes swept the International Competition at the Santiago de Chile International Film Festival, which closed last weekend. Alejandro Fadel’s mystical western The Wild Ones – a Critics' Week entry that premiered in BAFICI – picked best film, while Colombian helmer Juan Andres Arango got best director for La Playa DC, which premiered in Un Certain Regard. The international jury also gave out a special mention to actress Sfine Fischer Christensen for her performance in Christian Schwochow’s Cracks in the Shell.

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The Work in Progress section, which was expanded to support projects in post-production stages from other Latin American countries, picked Gustavo FallasPuerto Padre, Camilo Botero’s La Gorgona, historias fugadas, and Sebastian Sepulveda’s Las niñas Quispe.

A cascade of awards was poured into Chilean cinema in the two local competitions, aimed at both films and shorts. The first one was topped by the precise and balanced documentary Cuentos sobre el futuro, directed by Pachi Bustos, while Alvaro Viguera grabbed best director for Perez. The jury expanded the winners list and added three special mentions, to Boris PetersLeontina for its soundtrack by Jorge Aliaga; Miguel Angel Vidaurre’s Marker 72, for “its contribution to the history of Chilean cinema;” and Juan Cortes Mancilla Valparadaise.

The National Talent competition of short films was topped by Pelayo Lira’s family drama La visita del cangrejo, with special mentions to Claudia Huaiquimilla’s San Juan, la noche más larga, and Sergio Castro San Martin’s Un fotografo.

A recent favorite among international film funds, for the past few years Chilean cinema has been making its way in the region’s main league of film producing countries. “They’ve always had really good filmmakers in Chile, but it seems now there has been a burst in the last few years, like Sebastian Silva’s work, and Pablo Larrain’s NO being a huge hit in Cannes,” says Tribeca Senior Programmer Genna Terranova to THR. “There’s more of a momentum, and I feel young filmmakers now are more inspired. Chilean cinema has really grown,” she adds.

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Terranova attended this edition of SANFIC as a consultant for local film projects, and witnessed the development of Chilean cinema since the first editions of the fest. “The movies that came out recently, like The Maid, Old Cats, NO, or Young and Wild, there’s something to them that I think is a little bit more distinct,” she says. “There is a sort of levity to the material.”

Critic’s Week delegate Charles Tesson, who was a juror in the Work in Progress section, has a similar opinion. “Chile is not new, there had been many Chilean filmmakers,” he says to THR. But these new generation of film directors, they were too young during Allende’s time [the Socialist President overthrown by Pinochet’s US-backed military coup in 1973] Sometimes they want to know what their parents did in the past, but they also free themselves from history and just want to describe today’s Chile. The new generation’s films are more about the life here and now, and that’s interesting too. We used to expect more political films from South America, but now this is also what happens in Colombia, with films like La Playa DC.”