Second time was the charm for Matías Bize, director of The Life of Fish (La vida de los peces) as he took the Goya prize for Best Hispanic-American Film, beating Peru’s Countercurrent (Contracorriente), Argentina’s The Man from Alongside (El hombre de al lado) and Mexico’s Hell (El infierno).
Bize is Chile’s third filmmaker to have won the important accolade from Spain’s biggest film awards– following Ricardo Larraín for his 1991 film The Border (La frontera), and Andres Wood for The Good Life (La buena vida) in 2009.
Larraín’s 2006 film On The Bed (En la cama), which was nominated for the same award, won Spain’s prestigious Valladolid Festival in 2005. Winning this award confirms Bize’s recent acclaim in Spain.
“I want to dedicate this to Chile as it’s been tough for us recently,” Bize said in his speech on accepting the award, referring to Chile’s recent year of hardship. “I’m so happy to win the prize, we never expected it,” he told La Tercera following the award.
“It’s amazing to take home this award for Chile. We won, and for me it’s incredible,” he added, thanking Spain for awarding his movies, and calling the Goya a crowning prize for all the good Spain has done for him.
It is certain the Goya will open many doors for the young director, as now his movie is on track to being widely distributed throughout Spain and in South America. In a discussion with La Tercera, he added that producers Ceneca Productions have just closed an agreement for the movie to be commercially released in the major cities in Spain.
Released in Chile last June, the movie grossed a healthy 30,000 tickets in Chilean box offices. The film, which features a cast of characters attending a house party who are all bound together by a historical event, is also about a romantic reunion between two people who have not met for 10 years.