“Paper & Glue,” the feature-length documentary that follows French artist JR as he plasters his provocative large-scale images of people in such places as the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, the U.S.-Mexico border wall and a California supermax prison, has won the top prize at Uruguay’s inaugural arts film festival, ARCA, which wrapped on Friday, Jan. 14. The prize is a bespoke sculpture by celebrated Uruguayan artist and festival host Pablo Atchugarry, valued at 60,000 euros ($68,487).
“By exploring the great capacity of art to challenge perspectives and unite communities, [“Paper & Glue”] highlights the power of art and the work of the artist, which makes visible and gives voice to those who do not have it,” the festival’s jury commented.
Special mentions were also awarded to “La Intención del Colibri,” the feature debut of Uruguayan filmmaker Sergio de León, which chronicles the love story between late artist Ulises Beisso and his partner Juan Arrospide, and documentary “Hidden Away” (“Volevo Nascondermi”) by Italy’s Giorgio Diritti about the mentally challenged and mistreated mid-century naive painter Antonio Ligabue.
Launched to complement the grand opening of the Pablo Atchugarry Foundation’s dramatic new art museum, MACA, on Jan. 8, the arts festival ran from Jan. 9-14 with some 20 international art films in contention. Some 6,000 people attended the opening of the museum. Variety estimates that more than 3,000 people attended the arts festival.
“It is particularly impressive how this unique and privileged setting amplified the enjoyment and emotion of a film,” said festival director Mercedes Sader, adding that they’ve already been approached by filmmakers about participating another year. “We are working together with MACA to develop the following edition with increasingly solid links between the museum’s exhibitions and the festival’s programming.
“We have sought to prepare a careful and extensive program that keeps its main focus on art,” said ARCA executive producer Andres Varela who together with Coral Cine partner Sebastian Bednarik, produced the festival and ran its nascent industry section. “On the other hand, the attending public, its attractive location and the time of year in which it takes place have been the building blocks that suggest we are on the right track, as we plan the next editions.”
Screenings were held at the museum’s cinema, as well in its outdoor sculpture park. Adding to the cinema experience under the stars, the festival screened a selection of video art from the Geneva Moving Image Biennale, organized by the Geneva Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Andrea Bellini and Laura Bardier from the Este Arte fair. Uruguayans Pablo Uribe and Guillermo Zabaleta also participated as guest artists with a selection of video works.