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Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Valdivia Day 1

After a grueling 20-hour journey with four different flights, we arrived in Valdivia, Chile, yesterday, as part of the Cine Sin Fronteras workshops I am attending here until Saturday. The Valdivia Film Festival doesn't kick off till Thursday (opening film will be OLD CATS, from Sebastian Silva, director of LA NANA, which I saw in Toulouse in March) and I am hoping we'll see a few other films before my departure.

Chile has a long and strong cinematic tradition, linked most notably in the past to its political backdrop. The superb documentary THE BATTLE OF CHILE (PARTS 1, 2 & 3) by Patricio Guzman was the definitive account of the Allende presidency and his demise after the Pinochet-led coup in 1973. Miguel Littin contributed to this genre with the doc COMPANERO PRESIDENTE about Allende. 20 years of Pinochet's rule silenced the industry but recently the country has come back with a vengeance: Pablo Lorrain (TONY MANERO, POST MORTEM), Andres Wood (MACHUCA) and Sebastian Silva (LA NANA) are all filmmakers dealing in new ways with the political realities of Chile. Alejandro Jodorowsky (EL TOPO, THE HOLY MOUNTAIN) is a Chilean filmmaker more known for his Mexican-set films.

Last night we met our Latin American counterparts, which include Venzuelans, Chileans, Mexicans, Argentinians and Uruguayans. We also have observers and presenters from Brazil and Peru. Over dinner last night I heard about the new laws coming into effect in Venezuela, where exhibitors will be forced to show Venezuelan films and multiplexes will have to dedicate one of their screens permanently to non-Hollywood product. This has created a surge in homegrown productions, which the state is funding. We might see in the next few years a new wave of Venezuelan cinema, spurred by direct government intervention.

I shall keep you posted in the next few days. Hasta pronto!

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