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65th San Sebastian Film Festival
22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2019. 67th Edition  > Festival Diary > San Sebastian Co-Production Forum: Lerman, Altuna, Avila, Rondón Make Cut
San Sebastian Co-Production Forum: Lerman, Altuna, Avila, Rondón Make Cut
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Diego Lerman’s Literature Teacher, Asier Altuna’s Karmele, Benjamín Avila’s The Cardinal and Mariana Rondón’s Zafari will pitch at the 8th San Sebastian Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum, now firmly established as a key art film meet.

Featuring new projects from other name auteurs - Pablo Giorgelli, Neto Villalobos -  as well as top producers working Europe Latin American production - Tu Vas Voir, Campo Cine, Patagonik, Malbicho Cine, Tarea Fina, Gullane - the Forum, running Sept.22-25, will attract most of San Sebastian’s now 1,600-plus industry delegates, while offering a glimpse of the market trends now forging the regions’ filmmaking. 

Here, for starters, are three:  


One is a step up in scale., or move towards the mainstream. Giorgelli’s Transfondo, produced by Juan Pablo Miller’s Buenos Aires based Tarea Fina, comes in at Argentina’s 1981-86 dictatorship from  a new angle, a submarine-set war movie unspooling during the Falklands War. Produced by San Sebastian’s Tintxua Films, Karmele, from top Basque auteur Altuna (Amama), follows a woman and her family and how they are impacted by Spain’s 20th century - the Spanish Civil Guard, political exile, Franco’s dictatorship and the financial consequences of exile. A potential move towards the mainstream, Lerman’s Literature Teacher, produced by Nicolás Avruj at Campo Cine, is a hope-tinged drama set at secondary school in Buenos Aires’ violent, marginalized outer radius.


Another trend is co-production. Without it, it is now difficult to make an arthouse film of budgetary ambition. 11 of the 16 projects pitched at the Forum already have an international co-production partner.

Avila’s The Cardinal, for example, set up from last year as a co-production between Chile’s Storyboard Media and Argentina’s Magma Cine, now has Brazil’s Gullane on board. A historical true-events-based drama, it is set in 1973 Chile, charting Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez’s halting, agonized build to frontal opposition to Pinochet’s murderous regime. Avila (Clandestine Childhood) directs.

Neto Villalobos’ Costa Rican La Sucia Centroamericana is partnering with Alejo Crisostomo’s Ceibita in Chile on Love is the Monster, a psychological thriller exploring how far a grandmother’s attempt to rescue her granddaughter from imminent danger.

Daughter of Rage, from Laura Baumeister, is being structured as a four-way co-production between Nicaragua, México, the Netherlands and Germany.

Produced by Daniel Van Hoogstraten’s Syndrome Films, Streets of Glory, continuing Brazilian Felipe Sholl’s exploration of sexuality, seen in debut The Other End, is set up as co-production with France.

Paris-based production company Tu Vas Voir was in advanced negotiations by mid August to bring in a Luxembourg partner on Almamula, Argentine Juan Sebastián Torales fiction feature debut. It turns on Nino, aged 12, who is assaulted for being homosexual, Pilar Peredo produces.


Disasters and injustice in Latin America are too terrible to ignore, Peruvian Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa wrote decades ago.

Those social-concerns remain. Daughter of Rage is a motherdaughter relationship drama set at a rubbish drama in Managua, Nicaragua.  In The Judges, from Guatemala’s Cesar Díaz - whose Cannes Critics’ Week player Our Mothers won this year’s Caméra d’Or - some neighbors in a conflictive Guatemalan hood take justice into their own hands, as official justice fails.

Produced by Uruguay’s Malbicho Cine, whose Sandino Saravia took an associate producer credit on Roma, Gerardo Minutti’s Dogs is described as a “singular comedy,” turning on a man who tries to give up a life of crime. He fails. 

In Sleepless Ana, from Daniel Gil, produced by director brothers César y José Esteban Alenda (Sin Fin), a mother searches for her daughter, a sex-trade victim, she believes.

Supported by the Sundance Institute, Dos estaciones, from Mexico’s Juan Pablo González, turns on a Mexican tequila plant owner, facing the end of her empire. 

A social conscience, however, does not preclude entertainment. Produced by Argentina’s Pucara Cine, behind Benjamín Naishtat’s Rojo, the Buenos Aires-set The Dirty Ones has a marked thriller edge. Directed by Ulises Porra (Tigre), it turns on a boxing referee from the Balkans who refuses to fix a fight, is marked by the mob, but stumbles on a former Albanian warlord, guilty of crimes against humanity. He conceives a plan to set mob and mass murderer at each other’s throats.

Very little was known in mid-August of Zafari, from Rondón, a San Sebastian Golden Shell winner, or of The Time We Lost, from Gustavo Rondón Cordova, whose Familia played Cannes Critics’ Week to applause;  or Curuzú, from Argentina’s Ana García, whose debut Good Intentions has just been selected for Toronto’s Discovery and San Sebastian’s New Directors sections- Their freshness, however, will be one of the Forum’s attractions. 

John Hopewell

One-to-one meeting in the Europe-Latin America co-production forum.
One-to-one meeting in the Europe-Latin America co-production forum.

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