Valdivia Film Fest Opening Vows to Chilean Film Industry


The country’s renowned festival was officially inaugurated Monday night with a double-feature screening, a concert and a salute to exiled filmmakers.

VALDIVIA – The fine moment of the Chilean film industry was the protagonist at the official inauguration of the 20th Valdivia film fest last-night in a ceremony at the aula magna of Austral University.

The Opening Night ceremony featured a double program of Miguel Gomes’ praised medium-length film Redemption and La Isla, a short by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz and Dominga Sotomayor, who won last year with Thursday Til Sunday.

“I’m honored to share the evening with a filmmaker I admire so much”, said Sotomayor, who is also in the jury for this year’s international competition, together with film critics Manu Yañez and Roger Koza.

The event was hosted by actresses Patricia Rivadeneira and Gloria Münchmeyer, and followed a short but powerful concert from new wave band Electrodomesticos

Chilean cinema became a LatAm favorite in the festival circuit in recent years, and reached global visibility with a Foreign Language Oscar nom last year for Pablo Larrain’s No. Sebastian Lelio’s Gloria is now a main contender for a nomination in the same category, with high hopes for a Best Actress nom for star Paulina Garcia.

“If there’s something we can definitely celebrate in these past 20 years, is that we’ve recovered the project of having a national film industry,” said fest director and producer Bruno Bettati. “The 1942 and 1967 projects to build a Chilean film industry didn’t end well. The end of certain government policies, in one case, and the military coup, in the other, ended that dream,” he added.

The ceremony also included a tribute to Marilu Mallet, Angelina Vasquez and Valeria Sarmiento, three Chilean directors who were forced into exile after the 1973 coup. FICV’s program includes a complete retrospective of their work

A main display and promoter of local directors, FICV has also encouraged project development and regional film distribution through its industry-arm AustraLAB, which recently partnered with Rotterdam’s Cinemart and BAFICI’s BAL to sponsor and develop LatAm projects together.

“Today our cinema is growing: in jobs, in public funds, but also in talent, exporting, in screens all over the world,” said Bettati.

“We have the chance to finally build a tradition. Let’s win back the ability to dream: let’s establish a film industry. Let’s turn cinema in something as important for Chile today as wine has been -- a product that requires an elaboration process by many Chileans both behind and in front of he camera.”