'The Student,' 'Porfirio' Top Cartagena Film Fest Awards

Porfirio Film Still
Cannes Film Festival

Tatiana Huezo’s "The Tiniest Place" wins the doc competition.

BUENOS AIRES – Santiago Mitre’s political college thriller The Student swept the fiction competition at the Cartagena de Indias Film Festival, which closed last Wednesday with a screening of Alex de la Iglesia’s latest film As Luck Would Have It.

Mitre’s opera prima about a young Argentine student who makes his way up in Buenos Aires college politics won best film and best actor for the lead Esteban Lamothe. The jury of the competition was formed by French filmmaker Claire Denis, film critic Dennis Lim, and Argentine director Hector Babenco. The Argentine indie hit of 2011 was also the pick for the FIPRESCI jury, comprised by film critics Gustavo Noriega, Renzo Fegatelli, and Pedro Adrian Zuluaga.

A Special Jury Mention was granted to Mexican political-punk love story El lenguaje de los machetes, directed by Kyzza Terrazas.

Best Director went to Alejandro Landes Echavarria for Porfirio, based on the true story of Profirio Ramirez, a man on a wheelchair who hijacked a plane in 2005 to demand the Colombian government for compensation after a police bullet left him paraplegic. A co-production between Colombia, Spain, Argentina, Uruguay, and France, the film also cleaned the 100 percent Colombia competition by picking up bst director and best film. The jury –Anna Marie de la Fuente, Josh Siegel, and Edouard Waintrop – picked Andres Crespo for best actor for his role in Sebastian Cordero’s Pescador and gave out a Special Jury Prize to Sofia y el Terco, by Andres Burgos.

Regarded as one of the fest’s strongholds this year, the documentary competition was conquered by Mexico: Tatiana Huezo’s The Tiniest Place picked best director and best film and the jury’s special prize went to Everardo Gonzalez’sCuates de Australia’.

The fest’s opening film Choco, a social drama directed by Colombian producer Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza, picked up the audience award.

Aly Muritiba’s short A Fabrica (Brazil) picked best film and best director in that competition, where Ivan D. Gaona’s Los retratos (Colombia) got a jury’s special prize.

On its second year of new direction by Monika Wagenberg, the festival also hosted Encuentros Cartagena, a series of industry meetings and workshops that connected local producers and directors with representatives from international film funds -- such as Global Film Initiative, Hubert Bals and the World Cinema Fund -- and festival officials from Toronto, Cannes and Biarritz, among others.