Valdivia International Film Festival serves as a gateway into global industry

The six-day event which is now in its 17th year, provides a stepping stone for independent filmmakers from around the world. This year’s edition saw Chile’s Minister of Arts and Culture Luciano Cruz-Coke announce plans for new culture commission.


The Valdivia film festival ran this past week, from Oct. 14 to 19, showcasing dozens of short and feature-length films, as well as documentaries.

The competitive film and video festival is held every year in the picturesque southern city of Valdivia, where regional rivers meet the sea. By providing an opportunity to showcase work and making industry connections, it aims to open doors for independent filmmakers into the bigger world of film.

This year, some of the most interesting and up-and-coming names in the international film community participated, including U.S. filmmaker and critic Thom Andersen, Mexican director Nicolas Pereda, and Chilean Sebastian Silva.

This year, it became the first festival in the world to feature a spotlight on the works of Andersen, whose latest release Get out of the car was a New York Times favorite last month during the New York Film Festival.

This week, festival awards were handed out, giving top prize of Best Film to Pereda’s Verano de Goliat (Summer of Goliath). The 28-year-old’s dramatic depiction of a Mexican town also won the Orrizonti Prize at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.

The Valdivia event -one of the world’s southernmost film festival- is already in its 17th year. In total, 2,100 seats were available for people to view and enjoy the festival, at 12 venues around what is considered to be one of Chile’s most beautiful cities,  around 12 hours’ drive south of Santiago.

Chilean films featured included Post mortem by Chile’s Pablo Larraín and Ocaso by Theo Court, alongside other films from Serbia, Spain, France, Italy, the United States, Uruguay, México and Guatemala, among others.

Well-known Chilean actors and actresses were present in Valdivia, including Catalina Saavedra, who played the maid in the movie La Nana.  In her latest film, she paired up once again with La Nana director Sebastian Silva. Their dark comedy,  Gatos viejos (Old cats), opened the festival last week.

Pablo Cerda presented Velódromo, the film in which he stars and which was directed by Chilean novelist and screenwriter Alberto Fuguet.

Chile’s Minister of Arts and Culture saw the festival as a platform to announce a new plan to boost cultural content on national television in Chile.

To inject more Chilean culture into programming, Minister of Arts and Culture Luciano Cruz-Coke announced a new culture commission will be created that will participate actively in the decisions of the television council, in a step toward “higher-quality” TV.