The Brazilian historical drama film Joaquim, the fifth feature by director Marcelo Gomes, was the top winner at the 19th edition of the Havana Film Festival New York. The film received the two top awards of the festival, the Havana Star Prize for Best Feature and Best Director.
Set in the 18th Century, Joaquim tells the story of the historical figure José da Silva Xavier, aka Tiradentes. During the Portuguese rule, the colony endures a decline in gold production. A Portuguese minority rules over a corrupt and autocratic society formed mostly by African slaves, native Indians and mestizos. Joaquim is an efficient military famous for capturing gold smugglers. He longs to be compensated with a lieutenant promotion to buy the freedom of Preta, a slave he is in love with. But the promotion never comes through. Joaquim despairs. A risky mission to the feared Badlands in search of new gold mines appears to be the only way to achieve a promotion and buy his lover’s freedom.
Other winners at the Havana Film Festival New York included the Cuban film Sergio & Sergei for Best Screenplay, the Argentine performer Miguel Solá for Best Actor for The Last Suit / El Último Traje), and the Chilean performer Antonia Zegers was the winner of the award for Best Actress for her work in Los Perros. The Puerto Rican film Filiberto was the winner of the Best Documentary award.
Additionally, Special Jury Mentions were presented to feature film The Desert Bride by the Argentine filmmakers Valeria Pivato and Cecilia Atán and to the documentary Severo Secreto by Cuban filmmakers Gustavo Perez and Oneyda Gonzalez.
The 19th Havana Film Festival New York took place April 6 - 17.