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22/30 September 2017 - #65ssiff

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You are in: Home > 2019. 67th Edition  > Festival Diary > Daughter of Rage, Non Distinguishing Features, Painless Top Industry Awards
Daughter of Rage, Non Distinguishing Features, Painless Top Industry Awards
Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Already backed by a four-way production partnership spanning Nicaragua, Mexico, the Netherlands and Germany, Nicaraguan Laura Baumeister’s stirring feature debut project Daughter of Rage (La hija de todas las rabias) swept three of the four prizes on offer at San Sebastian’s 8th EuropeLatin America Co-production Forum, which wrapped Wednesday night.

The other big plaudit, a Films in Progress Prize for  San Sebastian’s pix-on-post competition, went to another alumna of Mexico’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) film school, Fernanda Valadez for Non Distinguishing Features, an extraordinary achievement for an already celebrated institution.

The trio of trophies - Best Project Award, an Efads-Caaci Grant, and Artekino Intl. Prize - for Daughter of Rage mark further recognition for a movie project whose combination of mother-daughter story and socialissue drama has won development backing from the Hubert Bals, HB Minority Europe, Ibermedia funds. It also garnered a Woulter Barendrecht Award at the Rotterdam Festival. 

Also written by Laura Baumeister, Daughter of Rage  turns on eleven year-old María, who seethes with rage at her mother’s abandonment of her at a garbage dump in Managua, Nicaragua’s capital.  Joining a gang of other abandoned children who work at the dump’s recycling factory in return for food and water, she sets out find her mother crossing a city rocked by violent protests.

The rubbish dump works as a microcosm for Nicaragua’s society at large, an ecological disaster on the banks of the country’s biggest lake and a mark of political disorder and sexism. Reacting to her screenplay, “some people have objected that a mother never abandons her child, but nobody’s said that about a father,” Baumeister commented to “Variety”. 

Daughter of Rage has a daughter searching for her mother; Non Distinguishing Features has a mother searching for her son, missing en route to the U.S.-Mexico border. Produced by Corpulenta Producciones and Jack Zagha’s Avanti Pictures, also based in Mexico City, it is directed by Mexican Valadez, who produced The Darkest Days of Us, directed by Astrid Romero. Here Romero returns the favor, producing Non Distinguishing Features.

Presented at 2019’s Berlinale Talents, Non Distinguishing Features follows the mother,Magdalena, who while searching for her son, instead, meets Miguel, recently deported from the U.S., eager to be reunited with his mother in Mexico, a country he hardly now recognizes.

The title is symbolic. “I wanted to comment on the wave of violence and crimes in Mexico which affects everyone. In this situation, Mexicans are indistinguishable, only recognized by the people who love them,” Valadez told “Variety”.

San Sebastian’s 2019 Forum awards also marked a major victory for women with Daughter of Rage set up as a co-production between Rossana Baumeister at Nicaragua’s Felipa Films, Martha Orozco at Mexico’s MartFilms, Christine Anderson at Dutch production house Halal and HeimatFilm’s Bettina Brokemper in Germany, meaning that seven out of the eight directors or producers of the two big winners on Wednesday night are women.

The women producers’ support “happened organically. It was women who approached us at festivals, saying they wanted to be on board,” said Baumeister. 

Both Daughter of Rage and Non Distinguishing Features are also broken family dramas. Nicaragua is one of the countries with the highest rate of single mothers in all Latin America, according to Baumeister.

Of other industry prizes, a Kosovo-France-North Macedonia- Italy co-production, Andromeda Galaxy, from Kosovo’s More Raça, took both prizes at Glocal in Focus, a pix-in-post strand dedicated to films in non-major European languages. It tracks an out-of-work middle-aged man who decides to sell a kidney to fund a move to western Europe.

Juan Sebastian Torres’ Almamula, lead produced by Paris-based Tu Vas Voir, one of San Sebastian’s most frequent Forum and Films in Progress winners, walked off with the Forum’s Eurimages Development Co-production Award. It turns on Nino, aged twelve, who is assaulted for being homosexual. Tu Va Voir’s Pilar Peredo produces.

Brazil-based Michael Wahrmann’s Painless - a social-issue genre movie whose co-writers include notable young talents such as Argentina’s Alejandro Fadel and Brazil’s Gabriela Amaral de Almeida - won the REC Grabaketa Estudios Post-Production Award at San Sebastian’s burgeoning  Ikusmira Berriak residency program.

John Hopewell

 

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