Chile Reigns at Havana

Chilean films No (pictured) by Pablo Larraín and Violeta se fue a los cielos / Violeta Went to Heaven by Andrés Wood were named the top films at the year's 34th Havana Latin American Film Festival in Cuba. Competing amongst Latin American 19 fiction films, both films from Chile took home the First and Second Coral Prize in the official competition.

No, is the story of Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet's attempt to hold a plebiscite to extend and legitimize his rule in Chile in 1988. It stars Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal as René Saavedra, the brash young advertising executive called upon opposition leaders to spearhead their campaign.  The award was given in honor of the film's ability to take a moment from the Chile's past which permits a greater understanding the film's present.

Winning the Second Coral, Wood's Violeta se fue a los cielos / Violeta Went to Heaven (pictured right) is a biopic based on the life of renowned singer Violeta de la Parra. Violeta joins No as well for the Glauber Rocha Prize, selected by media professional from international news agencies and correspondents from broadcast outlets. Named after the late Brazilian filmmaker, Glauber Rocha, its aim is to encourage the new Latin American film movement.

The third Coral Prize was awarded to the Brazilian film A febre do rato / Rat Fever by Cláudio Assis. Argentine film Días de pesca / Gone Fishing by Carlos Sorín, received the Special Jury Prize while Brazilian film Era uma vez eu, Verônica / Once Upon a Time Was I, Veronica by Marcelo Gómes received a Special Jury Mention.

Mexican director Michel Franco was the recipient for the prize for Best Director for his film Después de Luciá / After Lucía. Spanish director Antonio Méndez Esparza was the winner for the prize for Best Latin American Film Made by a Non-Latin American Director for his debut featue film Aquí y allá / Here and There.

In the First Film category, Colombian film La Sirga by William Vega won the top prize, followed by Argentinean film Los salvajes / The Wild Ones, by Alejandro Fadel and the Chilean film Carne de perro / Dog Flesh (pictured left) by Fernando Guzzoni that won the Second and Third Coral for Best First Films respectively. Cuban film El evangelio según Ramiro / The Gospel According Ramiro by Juan Carlos Calahorra was the winner of the prize for Best Documentary.