Last month, residents and visitors to northern Chile were treated to three days of top international films and projects as the area hosted the 5th annual International Cinema Festival of Tarapacá.
Held from July 18-21 across the region, the festival welcomed filmmakers from around the world, including this year’s guest nation, Italy. The European nation was represented through four feature films as well as various exhibitions and guest speakers. Alongside the Italian projects were entries from Spain, Costa Rica, Argentina, Brazil and France.
Of course national films and projects were also on display throughout the festival. Among the Chilean films were a comedy from leading filmmaker Cristián Sánchez, “Tiempos Malos” or “Bad times” which is about a young man related to a group of drug traffickers starring Chilean actor Fernando Farías as the mob boss in charge of the notorious pack. Chilean writer and director Miguel Angel Vidaurre entered a documentary, “Marker 72”, which follows the journey of acclaimed French French filmmaker Chris Marker through Chile in 1972.
When the awards were handed out on the final night of the festival, the host country was a big winner, with top awards going to Chilean projects in both the best feature film category, the short film competition and the the international documentary competition.
“La Jubilada”, or ‘Retired” from Chile’s Jairo Boisier took the best feature film award for “its excellent technical work in performance, through which it touches the viewer with a simple story and the closeness of people.” the film stars Paola Lattus, Catalina Saavedra, José Soza, Daniel Antivilo, and follows a woman as she returns to her hometown after living a controversial life in the city and trying to reconnect with her family.
Chile’s documentary winner was ‘Las Cruces de Quillagua”‘ or “The Crosses of Quillagua” from Jorge Marzuca Quillagua. It was chosen for the the University Academy of Christian humanism prize for its “careful photographic work and sensitive approach to a social conflict of industrial ecological character.” the film captures the struggle of the Quillagua people in the Atacama Desert as development has drastically changed their ecological realities.
The award for Best Short Film was also claimed by a Chilean, Sebastián Ayala, for his piece, “Anqas”, which looks into the life and memories of a woman and the work that distanced her from her marriage and her town.
The festival’s judges also awarded a French entry with the Best International Documentary Prize. The winner was “Le Bonheur terre promise’ or “Happiness…Promised Land” by French filmmaker Laurent Hasse, which was originally released in France in 2011. The judges recognized the project, which features the filmmaker walking across the country, for its “exquisite and interesting work as autobiographical documentary.”
Chile has is becoming a center for various film festivals, from unique events at top ski resorts to major international events such as the International Documentary Film Festival held each year in Santiago.