Three Latin American films were awarded at the 45th edition of the Seattle International Film Festival: the Cuban film The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia / El viaje extraordinario de Celeste García by Arturo Infante, the Costa Rican film The Awakening of the Ants / El despertar de las hormigas by Antonella Sudassi, and the Mexican film The Good Girls / Las niñas bien by Alejandra Márquez Abella.
The Cuban film The Extraordinary Journey of Celeste Garcia was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the New Directors Competition. The jury in a statement justified its decision characterizing the film as a “science fiction dramedy charting the hopes of space exploration while keeping its heart and feet planted in the earthly struggles of Cuban life… indeed an extraordinary, unexpected and heartwarming, journey for both the characters and the audience.”
The directorial feature film debut by Infante tells the story of Celeste García, a 60-year-old former schoolteacher and guide at the Havana Planetarium, who is looking for a life change. When a group of aliens land in Cuba offering earthlings a chance to visit their planet, Celeste signs up for the journey hoping for a better and more fulfilling life.
Sudassi’s debut feature was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the Ibero-American competition. The jury composed by film critic Manuel Betancourt, producer Effie Brown, and director Carlos Marqués-Marcet awarded the Costa Rican film “for its subtle yet powerful depiction of a woman's inner landscape as she takes control of her body in defiance of cultural and familial expectations. For giving us a stirring central performance that's equal parts moving and transfixing.”
The Awakening of the Ants tells the story of Isabel, who is a good mom, a good wife, a good daughter in law. When her family starts pushing her to have another child, she will have to confront herself, her environment, and her family.
Additionally, the Ibero-American competition jury decided to give a Special Jury Prize to Márquez Abella’s The Good Girls, “to its director, for creating a biting satire that reminds us that women's quiet lives of desperation can carry the weight of recent history within them.”
Based on Guadalupe Loaeza’s satiric and iconic 1985 bestseller of the same name, Márquez Abella’s second film is a portrait of the always charming, perfect and spoiled Sofia, the queen bee of her group of friends, who faces the unimaginable—her social decay. It’s 1982 and a big economic crisis is hitting Mexico. Sofia will have to maintain appearances but her fall is not only inevitable, it will acknowledge what is lost when the money is gone.
The 45th annual Seattle International Film Festival, showcasing more than 400 films from nearly 90 countries took place May 16 - June 9.