Camila José Donoso and Betzabé García Represent Latin America at Locarno’s Filmmakers Academy

Filmmakers Betzabé García and Camila José Donoso. Photo by Alana Mejías.

Filmmakers Betzabé García and Camila José Donoso. Photo by Alana Mejías.

By Naomí Orellana

The Locarno Film Festival, celebrating its 70th edition in 2017, has selected two Latin American filmmakers for it’s Filmmakers Academy among its 15 participants: Camila José Donosó from Chile (Naomi Campbel and Casa Roshell), and Betzabé García from Mexico (Kings of Nowhere), both Cinema Tropical Award winners. 

Renowned for being a jump off platform for many well known filmmakers—Claude Chabrol, Stanley Kubrick, Raúl Ruiz, Chantal Akerman, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Abbas Kiarostami, Gus Van Sant, Pedro Costa, Claire Denis, Kim Ki-Duk—the Locarno Film Festival has put special emphasis on highlighting the work women have done in cinema.

“We want to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Festival by looking in the future rather than into our glorious past. Well…in the past there was also something that wasn’t so glorious…there were really few women directors. In the last years this have changed a lot and now women are bringing a different voice to the world of cinema”, said the festival in a press release.

Taking place between August 2-12, the Filmmakers Academy is part of the festival’s summer academy, which offers formative activities for young film professionals: Critic’s Academy, Industry Academy, Gioventú Documentary Summer.

15 young filmmakers under the age of 40 from around the world participate in the Filmmakers Academy which includes interaction with directors, producers and other international industry professionals allowing participants to explore their own directorial identities and refine their professional skills.

“Even though we received other suggestions from South America, Camila is the only director who made it to the final selection of 15 talents proceeding from the whole world, which means that she will represent Chile as well as South America”  says Stefano Knuchel, head of Filmmakers Academy. 

Among the stand-out activities, besides the traditionally crowded projection at Piazza Grande, Albert Serra will teach a master class about the influence of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièl Huillet in cinema.

“Cinematically speaking, this is one of the most stimulating film festivals for me. Yesterday for instance we watched the first Dominican film to participate here, Cocote, a very powerful film that breaks with the usual representation of Latinos as exotic; it also shows the Dominican Republic in a way rarely seen on screen. As part of the Academy’s activities, I’ll be talking to filmmakers Miguel Gomes and Valeria Sarmiento. I’ll also have the opportunity of screening a snippet of Nona, which will be ready next year”, said Donoso in regards to her participation.

Translated by Sofía Vicuña.