Cannes 2015 In Review: Latin American Cinema Excels, Winning Awards in Almost Every Section

Despite the preliminary unpromising prospects for Latin America at the 68th edition of the Cannes Film Festival -in last April's original lineup announcement only the Mexican film Las elegidas / The Chosen Ones by David Pablos was selected- the region had a stellar performance at the French competition. Latin American filmmakers won awards at all, but one, of the competitive section at Cannes, arguably the world’s most influential film festival.

Colombia, the South American country with the most numbers of competing films, had a historic performance at Cannes earning five major accolades at the French Riviera. César Augusto Acevedo was the winner of the Caméra d’Or prize for his debut feature La tierra y la sombra / Land and Shade, making it the highest distinction ever won by a Colombian film, and the fourth time a Latin American filmmaker won the prize for Best First Film of the festival.

Land and Shade premiered at the International Critics’ Week, the oldest parallel competitive section at Cannes that features first and second feature films by directors by directors from all over the world, where it also won three awards: the France 4 Visionary Award, the SACD Award and Le Rail's d'Or prize.

Also from Colombia, Ciro Guerra’s third feature film El abrazo de la serpiente / Embrace of the Serpent was the winner of the Art Cinema Award, the top prize for Best Film at the Directors’ Fortnight, the independent section of the festival.

Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco, who was the only Latin American representative at the Official Competition with his feature film Chronic, was awarded the prize for Best Screenplay, while Argentinean film Paulina / La patota, the sophomore film by Santiago Mitre was awarded with the top prize at the Critics’ Week as well as the FIPRESCI Award.

In its first edition, the L’Oeil d’Or prize awarded to the Best Documentary, was presented to the Chilean film Allende mi abuelo Allende, Beyond my Grandfather Allende by Marcia Tambutti, which had its world premiere as part of the Directors' Fortnight competition.

Another Chilean production was also awarded in the Cinéfondation section of the festival. The short film Locas perdidas / Lost Queens by Ignacio Juricic Merillán from Universidad de Chile won the second place of the competition.