TO THE DESERT
TO THE DESERT

Twelve films produced in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela, make up the Horizontes Latinos section of the 2017 San Sebastian International Film Festival.

The Horizontes Latinos section is a selection of feature films not yet screened in Spain, produced totally or partially in Latin America, directed by filmmakers of Latin origin or which have as their setting or subject matter Latino communities in the rest of the world. Half of the titles in the section are first or second works.

Among the films is premiere of the winner of the two Films in Progress 30 awards in San Sebastian, La educación del Rey (Rey’s Education), first feature film from Santiago Esteves (Mendoza, Argentina, 1983), who has written and directed short films including Los crímenes (Best Iberoamerican Short Film and Critics’ Award at Huesca 2011) and has worked as an editor for Pablo Trapero, Mariano Llinás or Juan Villegas.

Another of the selected first films is La novia del desierto (The Desert Bride) by directors Cecilia Atán (Buenos Aires, 1978) and Valeria Pivato (Buenos Aires, 1973), which, having landed the Films in Progress Toulouse Award, was premiered in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Festival and has just won the Jury Award for Best Debut Feature at the Lima Film Festival. The documentary by Atán, Madres de Plaza de Mayo, la historia (2016), was nominated for the Emmy Awards, and Pivato, who has worked with directors including Juan José Campanella, Walter Salles or Pablo Trapero, won the Patagonik International Screenwriters Competition with his Project Antes y después… y después otra vez.

Temporada de caza (Hunting Season, Films in Progress 31) is the first feature film by Natalia Garagiola (Buenos Aires, 1982), who will compete in Venice at the International Critics’ Week, an independent section organised by the Italian Union of Film Critics. One of Garagiola’s shorts, Yeguas y Cotorras (2012), was selected for the Critic’s Week at Cannes.

Gustavo Rondón (Caracas, 1977) has written, helmed and produced numerous shorts later screened at festivals such as Tribeca, Biarritz, Toulouse and Havana. The most recent, Nostalgia (2012) was selected to compete in Berlin. La familia (Films in Progress 30), which was screened at the Cannes Critics’ Week and has just won Jury Award for Best Film at Lima Film Festival, brings his feature directorial debut.

The filmography of Alexandra Latishev (San José, Costa Rica) contains the prizewinning short Irene (2014) and the documentary Los volátiles, winner of the Best Documentary Feature Film and Audience Awards at the Costa Rica Festival. Medea (Films in Progress 30), which competed at the BAFICI (Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival), marks her debut in feature films.

After numerous experiences in the non-fictional field, in 2013 Marcela Said (Santiago de Chile, 1972) directed her first feature-length fiction, El verano de los peces voladores, Films in Progress Toulouse Award in 2013 which had its premiere at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Horizontes Latinos will see the screening of her second film, Los perros (Films in Progress 31), after its presentation at the Cannes Critics’ Week.

Las olas (The Waves, Films in Progress, 30) is the third feature film from the director, screenwriter, actor and singer Adrián Biniez (Remedios de Escalada, Argentina, 1974), whose debut, Gigante (2009) won the Grand Jury Prize, the Alfred Bauer Award – in recognition of a film that “opens new perspectives on cinematic art” – and the Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale, as well as the Horizontes Award in San Sebastian.

Michel Franco (Mexico City, 1979) landed a special mention in San Sebastian with Después de Lucía (After Lucía, 2012), Best Feature Film in Un Certain Regard at Cannes. As a moviemaker he also won the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes for Chronic (2015). He also has a long and outstanding background as a producer: in 2015 he won the Best First Feature Award in Berlin for 600 millas (600 Miles,Gabriel Ripstein) plus the Golden Lion in Venice and a Special Mention in San Sebastian for Desde allá (From Afar, Lorenzo Vigas), both selected for Horizontes Latinos. Now he returns to the Festival as a director with Las hijas de Abril (April’s Daughters), having won the Jury Prize at Un Certain Regard.

Sebastián Lelio (Mendoza, Argentina, 1974) has a trajectory closely related to San Sebastian. His first film, La Sagrada Familia, competed in Horizontes Latinos in 2005 after its screening in Films in Progress. His fourth feature, Gloria, won the Films in Progress Award in San Sebastian in 2012. His latest film, Una mujer fantástica (A Fantastic Woman), Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlinale, will open the section.

Affonso Uchôa (Contagem, Brazil) and João Dumans (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) jointly wrote A vizinhança do tigre / The Hidden Tiger (2014). Here they repeat their collaboration as the directors of Arábia /Araby, selected for the Rotterdam Festival official competition and winner of a special mention at the BAFICI. Uchôa is the director of Mulher à tarde / Afternoon Woman (2010) and wrote with Marília Rocha A cidade onde envelheço / Where I Grow Old (2016), selected for Films in Progress Toulouse in 2015 and for Zabaltegi-Tabakalera last year.

Al desierto (To the Desert) is the new feature film by Ulises Rosell (Buenos Aires, 1970), after the award-winning Sofacama / Sofabed (2006) and El etnógrafo / The Ethnographer (2012). Rosell wrote and directed this story of a kidnapping and hike across the Patagonia desert to premier in San Sebastian.

Lastly, Cocote, which has just won the Signs of Life section Award at the Locarno Festival, is the third film from the Dominican director Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias (Santo Domingo, 1985), who in 2015 shot Santa Teresa y otras historias,a radical adaptation of Roberto Bolaño’s novel 2666, screened in Toronto and winner of awards in Marseille and Mar del Plata.

All twelve feature films compete for the Horizontes Award and its 35,000 euros. The six first and second films in the selection (La educación de Rey, La familia, Medea, Arábia, La novia del desierto and Temporada de caza) are also contenders for the EROSKI Youth Award.

2017 San Sebastian International Film Festival Horizontes Latinos Program

UNA MUJER FANTÁSTICA (A FANTASTIC WOMAN)
SEBASTIÁN LELIO (CHILE- GERMANY – SPAIN – USA)
Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Paulina García, Néstor Cantillana, Alonso Torres, Cristián Chaparro, Senén Arancibia
OPENING FILM (IN COMPETITION)
Marina is a young waitress and wannabe singer; Orlando owns a printing company. Together they plan their future. When Orlando dies suddenly, Marina has to stand up to his family and society to show them what she truly is: a complex, strong, forthright and… fantastic woman. Teddy Award and Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlinale 2017.

AL DESIERTO (TO THE DESERT)
ULISES ROSELL (ARGENTINA – CHILE)
Cast: Valentina Bassi, Jorge Sesán, José María Marcos, Germán De Silva, Gastón Salgado
Driven by the insecurity of her working situation, Julia, an employee at the Comodoro Rivadavia (Argentina) casino, gives in to the temptations of Gwynfor, a laconic man of Welsh descent, who promises her an administrative job with the oil company he works for. By the time she realises her mistake they are already well into the desert as they set out on an arduous hike across the Patagonia plain. Hunting, sheltering in caves and abandoned buildings, with no way out in the middle of infinite distances, the difficult coexistence will change as the days pass. In a pickup truck, on horseback, guided by trackers, superintendent Hermes Prieto is hot on their heels, convinced of finding some kind of trace in the midst of the desert.

ARÁBIA / ARABY
AFFONSO UCHÔA, JOÃO DUMANS (BRAZIL)
Cast: Aristides de Sousa, Murilo Caliari, Glaucia Vandeveld, Renato Novaes, Adriano Araújo, Renan Rovida, Wederson Neguinho, Renata Cabral
Young André lives in an industrial neighbourhood in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, near an old aluminium factory. Once a week, his aunt Márcia, a voluntary nurse at the community hospital, visits himself and his younger brother to help them with the household chores while their mother is away. One day, one of the factory workers, Cristiano, a foreigner with a stormy background in the neighbourhood, suffers an accident at the factory. Márcia gives him first aid right in front of the factory, and asks André to go to Cristiano’s house to get his documents and some clothes. Entering the house, André comes across a mysterious notebook…

COCOTE
NELSON CARLO DE LOS SANTOS ARIAS (DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – ARGENTINA – GERMANY – QATAR)
Cast: Vicente Santos, Judith Rodríguez, Yuberbi de la Rosa, Pedro Sierra, Isabel Spencer, José Miguel Fernander
Alberto, an evangelical gardener, returns to his hometown for the funeral of his father, murdered by an influential man. To mourn the dead man, he is forced to participate in religious celebrations that go against both his will and his beliefs.

LA EDUCACIÓN DEL REY (REY’S EDUCATION)
SANTIAGO ESTEVES (ARGENTINA – SPAIN)
Cast: Germán De Silva, Matías Encinas, Jorge Prado, Mario Jara, Martín Arrojo, Elena Schnell, Marcelo Lacerna, Esteban Lamothe
Films in Progress 30
Bolting from his first ever heist, Reynaldo Galíndez, alias ‘Rey’, lands in the patio of the house inhabited by Carlos Vargas, a retired security guard. Vargas offers a deal: the young boy will repair the damage to his home in return for not being handed over to the police. The lessons given to the teenager by the former guard develop into a relationship not unlike the old legends of educating a king (for the “Rey” of his name, meaning “king”). But the agreement will start to fall apart when the loose ends of the robbery Reynaldo had been involved in start closing in around them. Films in Progress Industry Award and CAACI / Ibermedia TV Films in Progress Award in 2016.

LA FAMILIA
GUSTAVO RONDÓN CÓRDOVA (VENEZUELA – CHILE – NORWAY)
Cast: Giovanny Garcia, Reggie Reyes
Films in Progress 30
Twelve year-old Pedro roams the streets with his friends in the violent urban atmosphere of a working-class district of Caracas. When Pedro seriously injures another boy in a fight, his single father, Andrés, decides that they must make a run for it and hide. Although Andrés will realise that as a father he is incapable of controlling his son, the situation will bring them closer than they have ever been.

LA NOVIA DEL DESIERTO ( THE DESERT BRIDE)
CECILIA ATÁN, VALERIA PIVATO (ARGENTINA – CHILE)
Cast: Paulina García, Claudio Rissi
Films in Progress 31
Teresa (54) has worked for decades as a live-in maid in Buenos Aires. When the family sells the house, she is forced to take a job in a distant town. Though not particularly comfortable with the idea, she embarks on a journey through the desert. During her first stop in the land of the miracle-producing ‘Difunta Correa’ saint, she loses her bag with all her belongings. This incident leads her to cross paths with a travelling salesman, the only person who can help her. What seemed like the end of her world will prove to be her salvation.

LAS HIJAS DE ABRIL (APRIL’S DAUGHTERS)
MICHEL FRANCO (MEXICO)
Cast: Emma Suárez, Ana Valeria Becerril, Hernán Mendoza, Joanna Larequi, Enrique Arrizon, Iván Cortés, Giovanna Zacarías, José Ángel García, Tony Dalton
Valeria is 17 and pregnant. She lives in Puerto Vallarta with her step-sister Clara. Valeria doesn’t want April – the mother they haven’t seen for some time – to find out about her pregnancy. However Clara, compelled by financial difficulties and the responsibilities of having a baby in the house, decides to call her. Abril arrives with the intention of helping her daughters, but we soon understand why Valeria would have preferred her to stay away.

LAS OLAS (THE WAVES)
ADRIÁN BINIEZ (URUGUAY – ARGENTINA)
Cast: Alfonso Tort, Julieta Zylberberg, Fabiana Charlo, Victoria Jorge, Ilana Hojman
Films in Progress 30
Alfonso leaves work and heads for the beach. He dives into the sea and starts swimming. He surfaces on a beach where he and his family had been on holiday five years earlier. This is the start of a fantastic voyage through the different holidays and resorts he has visited during his lifetime: as a boy with his parents, on a mysterious island with his ex-wife, as a teenager with his friends, with Malaysian pirates and when camping in the same place with two different girlfriends in two consecutive years.

LOS PERROS
MARCELA SAID (CHILE – FRANCE)
Cast: Antonia Zegers, Alfredo Castro, Rafael Spregelburd, Alejandro Sieveking
Films in Progress 31
Mariana (42) belongs to the Chilean upper class; she spends her days managing an art gallery and learning how to ride a horse. Her riding instructor, Juan, 20 years her senior, is an ex-cavalry officer known as El Coronel, under investigation for human rights abuses committed during the Chilean dictatorship. When Mariana embarks on a romance with her mysterious teacher, she finds herself caught up in a complex situation from which she is loathe to escape on discovering her father’s close relationship with the man being investigated.

MEDEA
ALEXANDRA LATISHEV (COSTA RICA – ARGENTINA – CHILE)
Cast: Liliana Biamonte, Javier Montenegro, Eric Calderón
Films in Progress 30
María José’s life swings back and forth between the monotony of classes at the university, her eternally distant parents, rugby training and dares with her gay friend. Emotionally disconnected from her environment, when she meets Javier she tries to start a relationship with him. But none of her efforts to live a ‘normal’ life succeed. She harbours a secret that nobody notices: she’s a few months into her pregnancy.

TEMPORADA DE CAZA (HUNTING SEASON )
NATALIA GARAGIOLA (ARGENTINA)
Cast: Lautaro Bettoni, Germán Palacios, Boy Olmi, Rita Pauls
Films in Progress 31
Nahuel is a teenager with an innate violent conduct. After his mother dies, he travels to Patagonia in Southern Argentina, where he encounters his biological father, who he hasn’t seen for more than a decade. Ernesto is a respected hunting guide who lives in the mountains with his second wife and daughters. The reunion is not an easy one, pride and resentment prevail in both father and son. They stubbornly resist any possible contact with one another. However, as the weeks go by and winter settles in, Nahuel starts giving in. Initial hostility gives place to curiosity, both towards his father’s universe of hunting and the life of a group of teenagers that he meets in the area. On his side, Ernesto’s roughness gives in to the undeniable love he has for his son…

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