'Belzebuth, Body Electric, Len and Chakay top Ventana Sur
Mexico's "Belzebuth," Brazil's "Body Electric," Colombia's "Len and the Whales' Song" and Ecuador's "Chakay, the Master of the Two Worlds" won top or multiple industry awards at Ventana Sur on Friday night. Not only the prize winners had something to celebrate. The awards, mostly in industry services, went to three Ventana Sur sections, two of which - the genre-focused Blood Window and Animation! are growth industries in Latin America passionately favored by many young talents in the region's newest generation of filmmakers.
Also, Animation!, an inaugural development and pitching training forum, looks to have been a roaring success. Part of this must be put down to the quality of top animation coming out of Latin America: It is no coincidence that a Chilean work, "Bear Story," won the Oscar for animated short this year. Animation! was launched in collaboration with France' Annecy Festival, with winners given flight to and accommodation at Annecy, or at least accreditation for special mentions, which in the world's toon industry is the equivalent of winning passage to Lourdes.
As the Animation prizes were announced in an Annecystyle good humor and ebullience, the only thing lacking at Ventana Sur to simulate the prestigious French fest were paper darts launched towards the stage, in hallowed Annecy tradition. Animation!'s kudos highlight potential standout movies and TV series coming out of the region. Top trophies went to, as best TV series, "Chakay, the Master of the Two Worlds," from Ecuador's Alicia Studio, directed by Daniel Esteban Jacome.
Turning on a geek 12-year-old whose routine life changes when his cell-phone receives an Incan life- force allowing him to travel through alternative dimensions, the toon series was praised by the Animation! jury for "its original concept, strong lead character and the capacity of the team to improve their pitching." "For its capacity to emotionally move the jury, its promise of an epic and special journey, and the theme which is both traditional and cultural but also leaps to the universal," Joan Manuel Millan and Manuel Victoria's 2D "Len and the Whales' Song" won best feature. It turns, as around half the projects at Animation, on an indigenous protagonist in tune with nature battling invasion of her ancestral lands.
Curated by San Sebastian Fest director Jose Luis Rebordinos, Blood Window Work In Progress winners played broadly according to form, three titles taking the major awards: Emilio Portes' demonic shock fest "Belzebuth, shot in the U.S. and Mexico and English and Spanish; "Clementine," from Argentine producer-turned-director Jimena Monteoliva, which casts a story of domestic abuse as a horror narrative; and "Black Circle," the first Swedish-language movie of Adrian Garcia Bogliano, a founding father of modern Latin American genre. Nicolas Puenzo's "The Unseen" and Natalia Beristain's "The Goodbyes" provoked much of the buzz in the build-up to Primer Corte. Both took a couple of prizes on Friday night. It was, however, a Brazilian movie, "Body Electric" from Marcelo Caetano, which stopped most plaudits, three in total.
Move is a story of obsession, turning on Elias, a designer running a Sao Paolo fashion factory who falls in love with Filipe, an African immigrant working on the production line. Caetano is hardly off the radar. His half-hour "Verona' played te Rotterdam Fest in 2014; he has attended the Berlinale Talent Campus. That said, "Body Electric's" Primer Corte wins exemplify Brazil's capacity to generate relatively-unknown talent for the rest of the world which goes on to festival or market glory, making movies which explore social issues at the forefront of public debate in the country. — Reuters