Last January 21st, the fifth version of the Tropical Cinema Awards took place in New York city. Awarding films since 2010, the festival seeks to recognise the best of Latin American film industry and to promote their distribution in the United States. This year, Chilean films “Naomi Campbel” and “Las Niñas Quispe” (The Quispe Girls) were awarded the Best Documentary and Best Debut Film respectively.
“Naomi Campbel”, directed by Camila José Donoso y Nicolás Videla, tells the story of Paula “Yermén” Dinamarca, a transgender from Población La Victoria (La Victoria Settlement), who tries her luck in a television show to undergo a gender reassignment surgery. While doing so, she meets an immigrant who wants to undergo surgery to look like the renowned British model. The film mixes recordings by the filmmakers and images taken by Dinamarca herself about the settlement’s reality.
In addition, Sebastián Sepúlveda’s “Las Niñas Quispe” is about true events that occurred in Chile during the 70’s. The film tells the story of the life of Quispe sisters, who were born and raised in Chilean high Andean plateaus. They lived of their herding goats and making cheese to be sold jobs. However, a new law passed in 1974 makes them take a radical decision. The movie is starred by Catalina Saavedra, Francisca Gavilán, Alfredo Castro and Digna Quispe, niece in real life to one of the sisters the film is about.
Both films premiered in Chile in the 2013-2014 period, and have been present in many festivals, like the Valdivia International Film Festival, Mar del Plata International Film Festival, and the Latin American Film Festival. They received different awards, Tropical Cinema award being the latest one.