Chilean Paulina García won the hotly contested Best Actress award at the Berlin International Film Festival for her role in the film Gloria, directed by Sebastián Lelio.
“I’m elated,” García told El Mercurio over the phone from Berlin. “The truth is I feel very honored. Imagine the honor this represents! Indeed, it is an honor for all Chilean actresses, to know that our work has attained this level,” she said.
In the film, García plays the title character Gloria, a Chilean divorcée that seeks a new direction for her life.
“Even people on the street greet me to talk fondly about the film,” said García. “I felt that the film struck a chord and I realized that it’s not just an issue for Chile, but the women of the world.”
Director and co-writer Sebastián Lelio, who wrote the part of Gloria specifically for García, was especially proud.
“This award is the crown of a glorious week, and it’s a great thing that they have awarded this to Paulina, who is the heart of the film. The truth is that we could not be happier,” said Lelio.
The film’s positive reception at the festival has also sparked commercial interest. According to producer Juan de Dios Larraín (who also produced Oscar-nominated No), the film has already secured distribution in areas like the United States, Europe and much of Asia.
Gloria is just one of many Chilean films currently receiving international attention. In addition to No, Chilean Sebastián Silva recently won the Directing Award for World Cinema Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival for his new movie Crystal Fairy.
“I think the Chilean cinema is living in a unique moment and we are witnessing a generation of directors with enormous talent, and I feel very honored to be part of it,” Larraín said.