German movie wins top prize at Chile’s international film festival

Big name actors and directors flocked to Santiago’s Bellas Artes Museum for the gala red carpet event that marked the end of Chile’s premiere film event.

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La Canción en Mí (“The Song in Me”), a German-Argentinean film that tells the story of a young woman’s discoveries about her hidden past, has taken the Best International Film Award at the seventh annual Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC).

Directed by Germany’s Florian Cossen, the film revolves around Maria (Jessica Schwarz), a German swimmer who comes to Chile to participate in a sporting competition. But after a series of unusual incidents, Maria finds herself staying in Argentina where she finds out she is the daughter of one of the 30,000 ‘desaparecidos’ who went missing during the country’s military dictatorship.

More than 300 actors, directors and other cinema professionals hit the red carpet for the gala event held at Santiago’s majestic Bellas Artes Museum. Event organizers declared the festival a major success, noting how it had grown and consolidated itself over the past seven years.

“We are proud to see that SANFIC has become a central part of Chilean culture,” said festival director, Catalina Saieh. “This festival boosts the country’s development.”

The prize for the Best Chilean Film went to Ulises, the debut movie from director Óscar Godoy. Starring local actors Jorge Román and Francisca Gavilán, the film addresses the issue of Peruvian immigrants in Chile.

Accepting the award, Godoy paid homage to renowned Chilean director, Raúl Ruiz, who passed away recently in Paris.

“He was a director whose extensive career forged a different approach to films and enabled us all to better understand Chilean cinema,” he said.

SANFIC 7 2011: The winners

International Competition

Best film: La Canción en Mí (“The Song in Me”): Germany-Argentina; Director: Florian Cossen
Best direction: Paraísos Artificiales (“Artificial Paradises”): Mexico; Director: Yulene Olaizola
Special mentions: The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, Norberto Apenas Tarde (“Norberto’s Deadline”) and La Espera (“Expecting”)

Chilean Cinema Competition

Best film: Ulises; Director: Óscar Godoy
Best direction: Mapa Para Conversar (“A Map for a Talk”); Director: Constanza Fernández

Local Talent Competition

Work in progress: Sentados Frente al Fuego (“Sitting Around by the Fire”), Joven y Alocada (“Young and Crazy”) and Ulises Morales
Best short film: El Elefante Blanco (“The White Elephant”); Director: Felipe Egaña
Special mentions: Titanes (“Titans”) and Memoria del Viento (“Memory of the Wind”)
People’s choice: Locas Mujeres (“Crazy Women”); Director: María Elena Wood