Cinema Tropical

Peruvian ROSA CHUMBE Wins at Austin's Cine Las Americas

The five day festival, 19th Annual Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, screening 38 feature films, 61 short films and 16 music videos, with 24 countries represented concluded on May 8th by announcing the award winners. The festival presented audience and jury awards which were determined by jury members Curran Nault, Sterlin Harjo, Ivete Lucas and Chale Nafus.

Ecuadorian Film Fest in NY Announces Lineup for its Second Edition, June 2-5

UIO: Take Me for a Ride

UIO: Take Me for a Ride

Maravilla, the New York-based organization dedicated to raising awareness of Latin America through films and the arts, has announced the second edition of the Ecuadorian Film Festival in New York, EFFNY: One Ecuador! co-presented with Syndicated Bar Theatre Kitchen. This year’s festival will present ten feature-length and 17 short films, one of them in its world premiere, and the rest in their U.S. or New York premiere, with the presence of the filmmakers.

The competitive film festival, the first of its kind in the world dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the burgeoning cinema of Ecuador, will take place June 2-5 at the Village East Cinema, Syndicated Bar Theatre Kitchen and Queens Museum. The festival will open with the feature film UIO: Take Me for a Ride by Micaela Rueda, which had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, and recently played at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (BAFICI).

As a way to honor the victims of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Ecuador on April 16th, and as a way to help in the ongoing recovery efforts, EFFNY will donate half of the money raised through ticket sales to the Ecuadorian Shelter Initiative in their shelter and housing reconstruction programs assisting victims of the recent natural disaster.

"On Saturday, April 16th, hundreds of Ecuadorians lost their lives and thousands lost their homes. But Ecuador did not lose hope, and today an entire country is working tirelessly to overcome adversity. I look forward to a festival full of great films and a warm, positive, and enthusiastic crowd," says Christian Ponce, director of the film festival.

Other highlights of the festival’s second edition include the world premiere of the documentary film DreamTown (pictured left) by New York-based director Betty Bastidas on the inspiring story of three young Afro-Ecuadorian soccer players chasing after success in the face of extraordinary challenges; as well as the documentary features Moments of Campaign (pictured above right) by Tomás Astudillo, which closely follows Rafael Correa on his presidential campaign for his third term, and Bernhard Hetzenauer's And There Was Fire in the Center of the Earth, a fascinating piece on memory and self-discovery telling the compelling story of a Jewish woman who fled Europe during war and settled in Ecuador.

EFFNY will present two awards. A jury composed of renowned film professionals composed by Variety’s Anna Marie de la Fuente, film producer Isabel Dávalos and filmmaker Ashish Avikunthak, will present the award for Best Film, and the public attending the screenings will vote for the Audience Award.

Check out the complete lineup at:

Book Review: Nicolás Batlle’s "Producción de Largometrajes"

By Pablo Goldbarg

Latin American cinema is constantly evolving. International co-production, contests, labs, funds and government incentives are practically the only way to commercially release films. After their scripts have reached a solid version, new filmmakers are usually lost when it's time to approach the real world and look for producers willing to co-own the projects from beginning to end. The chances of getting funds without teaming up with a producer that has done it before are limited. That is, unless filmmakers also wear the producer's cape and sword to fight against windmills—as if directing actors weren’t enough.

Blogs, forums, classes, guidelines, and many other DIY resources for today’s no-excuses filmmaking are flooding the cyberspace. Much less is available in Spanish, especially about producing in Latin America. That's why Producción de largometrajes (Nicolás Batlle, 2016, Ediciones del CIC, 180p) has recently seen the light: to save new filmmakers from drowning in so much and yet so little information, and to understand how things are done step-by-step. The book is also a tool for students—in fact CIC (Centro de Investigación Cinematográfica) is an institution in Buenos Aires where the author teaches.

Batlle is a relatively young producer, but has produced movies for more than 15 years including The Boss, Anatomy of a Crime / El patrón, anatomía de un crimen (Sebastián Schindel, 2014, pictured below left). Wakolda (Lucía Puenzo, 2013, pictured above left), one of his last films, was the Argentine official entry for the 86th Oscars. Luis Puenzo, co-producer and an Oscar winner himself, proudly presented the book at BAFICI 18 saying that everybody working with him should read the book. New Latin American filmmakers should read it too, and pay close attention to the way films are done in the region and the challenges producers face until a film is released.

The book is not a typical filmmaking bible. It’s concise and to the point, covering all the film production stages. It's a practical guide that includes pitching recommendations, production design, budgeting, financing, legal aspects, post-production schemes, international distribution, lists of funds and online resources. There are no personal anecdotes or on-set experiences—Batlle recommends El cine y lo que queda de mí, by Hernán Musaluppi, for readers who are eager for a producer's diary.

"The more solid the foundation, the more solid a building will be," says Batlle. And that's precisely his intention publishing his first book. It’s a guide for seeing the big picture from the beginning to ensure that the project is logic and viable all the way through. This coherency is key—he assures in a conversation—to getting support and funds, whether a project is a horror film or a documentary, or whether the filmmaker aims for State funding or a Kickstarter campaign. Movies are made every day; producers sharing their knowledge in a book, not so often.

Walter Salles’ Jia Zhangke Documentary Will Be Released this Month

Kino Lorber has announced the New York theatrical opening of Walter Salles’ documentary Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang / Jia Zhangke, Un Homem de Fenyang, at Anthology Film Archives on May 27. The film is schedule to play for a full week, along with selected screenings of three recent films by the Chinese filmmaker.

Jia Zhangke, A Guy From Fenyang had its US premiere at last year’s New York Film Festival, and is now going to play in select cities across the country, together with two Jia Zhangke films in the Kino Lorber catalogue. A VOD and DVD release is planned for the fall.

Brazilian director Walter Salles (Central Station, On the Road) accompanies the prolific Chinese director Jia Zhangke on a walk down memory lane, as he revisits his hometown and other locations used in creating his ever-growing body of work. At each location, they visit Jia's family, friends, and former colleagues, and their conversations range from his mother's tales of him as a young boy to amusing remembrances of school days and film shoots to memories of his father and to the shared understanding that if not for pirated DVDs, much of Jia's work would go unseen in China.

All roads traveled are part of one journey; the destination of which is Jia's relationship to his past and to his country.  The confluence of storytelling, intellect, and politics informing all of Jia's work is brought to light in this lovely, intimate portrait of the artist on his way to the future.