Chile plays host to international architecture film festival

A look at forthcoming festival ARQFILMFEST, showing films that protagonize architecture, the city and urban environments in Santiago this weekend

Architecture, the city, the urban environment and the people that make it. These are the protagonists, the unifying themes that all works share in an intriguing film festival to be held in Santiago this weekend. Between Oct 17-20, 117 films will show as part of the second annual Architecture Film Festival or ARQFILMFEST.

Showing across two venues — Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) and Centro Cultural Matucana 100 (M100) — the festival will also feature a workshop in which participants will be invited to create shorts in the theme of the festival, or Arquimetrajes. During the course of the event these will be combined to create a collectively constructed documentary. A trailer of last year’s Arquimetrajes can be seen here.

Kicking of at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in M100, attending aficionados will be able to watch, and then vote on, films in a range of categories including fiction, documentary and a special “Subliminal Image” category.

Expanding on last year’s inaugural festival, ARQFILMFEST 2013 will also exhibit several animation films. Among those on offer are “Megalomania” (Jonathan Gales, U.K., 2011) and “The Illusionist” (Sylvain Chomet, France, 2010).

One potential highlight is the showing of “Men at Lunch” (2012), a U.S. film that tells the story of the iconic photograph of the same name showing a group of construction workers enjoying sandwiches perched at a great height on a beam, overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

Meanwhile, film buffs are sure to be sold on the prospect of seeing a re-vamped upgrade of a genuine classic — Fritz Lang’s mythical “Metropolis.” Visually restored and replete with 25 minutes of footage missing from the original cut but dramatically re-discovered in a Buenos Aires basement in 2008, this version will allow festival-goers the chance to see more of the milestone of the film genre.

As the festival winds down Sunday, a jury consisting of journalist and critic Christian Ramírez; Director of the Architecture School at Universidad Andrés Bello, Martin Schmidt; and TV and film director Fernando Lavanderos will announce this year’s winners.

As Chilean cinema moves from strength to strength, Santiago is cementing its reputation as a cinema hub with an ever-growing number of high-profile international film festivals. July saw the 17th installment of the prestigious Fidocs documentary festival, while in August the Chilean capital once again played host to international film festival SANFIC.