l Three awaited Latin American fil- ms – Aly Muritiba’s Ferrugem, Armando Capos’ Agosto and Ruben Mendoza’s Niña Errante – feature at a six-title 2017 San Sebastián Films in Progress, one of the best-attended of pix-in-post competitions in the Spanish-speaking world.
Organized with the Toulouse Cinelatino Festival, Films in Progress runs Sept. 25-27.
Three other titles – Nicolas Buena- ventura’s Kairos, Maria Alche’s Immersed Family and Leandro Leal’s Rodantes – make up a section.
In a sign of the popularity of the San Sebastián Films in Progress, Vicente Canales’ Film Factory has launched a new prize Film Factory Award of a €40,000 ($47,600) minimum guarantee against world wide distribution rights to one of the titles in the cut (dropping to €30,000 ($35,700) if Spain is excluded).
Brazil has a strong presence at this year’s Films in Progress, fruit of its government’s forceful backing for art films via government agency Ancine. Five of the six titles are international co-productions, including three with France, as Latin American movies become ever more part of a global arthouse movie industry.
Their films also address global themes. Of titles at 2017’s San Sebastián Films in Progress, however specific their setting, nearly all the rough-cut productions portray a fast-changing, unstable world of physical transformation (Niña errante, Agosto) or dis- location, whether personal (Immersed Family) or social (“Rodantes”), in which Internet has revolutionized social and sexual relations, and even ideas of self-respect (Ferrugem).
Anticipated, Ferrugem marks the second feature, after To My Beloved, one of Brazil’s most courted young directors and film fest organizers, Aly Muritiba, who has Blood-Drenched Beard, an identity drama/mystery thriller, set up at RT Features. Already currying Internet buzz, Ferrugem depicts one dramatic case of high-school sexting and its conse- quences, in a world where, Muritba has said, the young are not ready to deal with negative images of themselves.
Produced by Marcela Esquivel at Costa Rica’s La Feria Producciones, Cuban Armando Capo’s August, which won him Sundance’s 2017 Global Filmmaker Award, is a co- ming-of-age-tale set in a 1994 Cuba wracked by food and energy shorta- ges and escapee rafters. Agosto also took the Egeda Prize at San Sebastian’s 2014 Europe-Latin America Co-production Forum.
The third fiction feature from Ruben Mendoza (Dust on the Tongue, one of its biggest young names in Colombian cinema and a Cannes Cinefondation Residence alum, Niña Errante weighs in as a physical coming-of-age tale as a 12-year-old girl, just orphaned, discovers her awakening sensuality in the company of her half-sisters, when they share a roadside hotel room.
Maria Alche’s Immersed Family is another woman’s drama, here about a woman in her mid-50s whose life is turned upside down by the death of her sister. It is lead produced by Pasto Cine’s Barbara Francisco, co-producer of Santiago Mitre’s The Student, and co-produced by Brazil’s Bubbles Project.
Brazilian Leandro Lara’s Rodantes turns on three characters – a Haitian widower, an adolescent, a girl from Sao Paulo – all in a process of trans- formation.
The second feature of Colombia’s Nicolas Buenaventura (La Deuda), but financed mostly out of France, Kairos is a bank heist thriller, in which a laid-off employee seizes the moment to get his own back on the bank that has sacked him. Audiences will surely be on his side.