May 24, 2011
Alpert Award in the Film/Video category, as it was announced by The Herb Alpert Foundation. The Alpert Award in the Arts provides unrestricted, annual prizes of $75,000 to "five engaged, independent artists working in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theatre and the visual arts." The award is by California Institute of the Arts, and it "rewards experimenters who are challenging and transforming art, their respective disciplines, and society." Natalia Almada has made three feature films to date: Al Otro Lado, El General (winner of the US Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010) and more recently El Velador, which had its world premiere at New Directors/New Films Festival in New York and was featured out of competition at Cannes' Directors Fortnight just last week. "Exploring experimental and documentary cinema, Almada combines artistic expression with social inquiry to make films that are both personal reflections and critical social commentaries," says the Alpert Foundation.
May 22, 2011
64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival came to a close today, it was announced that Argentine film Las Acacias (pictured) by Pablo Giorgelli was the winner of the Caméra d'Or award as Best First Feature Film. The film, which premiered at Critics' Week section, tells the story of a truck driver giving a ride to a woman with a little baby on the road between Asunción, Paraguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since the Caméra d'Or award was created in 1978, only three Latin American films have received the prize: Oriana by Fina Torres from Venezuela in 1985, and the Mexican film Año bisiesto / Leap Year by Michael Rowe just last year (Mexican director Carlos Reygadas received a Special Mention for his film Japón in 2002). Las Acacias had also been awarded two prizes as it was announced few days ago: the OFAJ Young Critics Prize and the ACID (Association of Independent Cinema for its Distribution) / CCAS (Main Fund of Social Activities) award.
May 8, 2011
May 2, 2011
Released by New Yorker Films, Octubre opens theatrically in New York City on May 6. The following interview of co-director Diego Vega was conducted upon the film’s North American premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.
Michael Guillén: October is an enchanting fable and the line that jumped out of the movie at me was: "Poor is not someone who has little but he who wants a lot." This struck me as the lesson of your film's fable, particularly because your main character Clemente is a money lender who somehow misses the true value of his transactions. How did you and your brother go about developing this story? Did one of you write it? Did you both write it?
Diego Vega: We started on October quite a long time ago. The first idea came after I graduated from film school—I studied at Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión in Cuba—and when I came back to Peru, I was full of films and emotions from having been at the school. I liked Robert Bresson's films a lot and had seen his last film L'Argent many times. As you might remember, L'Argent is about a counterfeit bill that crosses the lives of many characters with tragic consequences.
Guillén: Fascinating! I failed to make that connection.
Vega: Well, also in Peru, we have a lot of fake money in circulation. Peru has a "fake" culture in the sense of piracy. Everything is sold as something it's not. You buy something and it's not the real designer label; it's not the original. It's common for Peruvians to be suspicious and scrutinizing when anyone pays them with paper money. Whether it's paying for a taxi, going to a small store, eating at a restaurant, anywhere, people will always check the money you are handing them to see if it's fake. So the influence of Bresson's L'Argent and this cultural practice in Peru of doubting authenticity were the origins of October. [Continue reading]