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Ikusmira Berriak: Ana Cristina Barragán, Joâo Paulo Miranda




Ecuador’s Ana María Barragán (“Alba”), Brazil’s Joâo Paulo Miranda (“Memory House”) and Spain’s Meritxell Colell (“Facing the Wind”) will put awaited new feature film projects through San Sebastián’s Ikusmira Berriak, one of Spain’s foremost development labs.

Also selected for 2022’s edition are a second reputed Latin American auteur, Argentina’s Maximiliano Schonfield (“Jesús López”) as well as Spain’s Irati Gorostidi (“In the Rain”) and a second Catalan filmmaker, Jaume Claret (“Ella y jo”).

As part of an eight-week residency, Ikusmira Berriak’s six directors will attend a Tabakalera tutorial Artist’s Space over March 14-April 24, and then return for September’s San Sebastian Festival.

Arguably the strongest lineup in Ikusmira Berriak history, next year’s selection rolls of a powerful and still building film-TV ecosystem in San Sebastian.

In the case of Ikusmira Beriak, this brings together the San Sebastian Festival, the most important film event in the Spanish-speaking world, the Tabakalera International Center for Contemporary Culture and the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola, which collectively are constructing a round-the-year hothouse for new and emerging talent.

Barragán has developed her Ikusmira project “Ivy” at the Zine Eskola; Claret studied there and premiered his short “Ella i jo” at San Sebastian’s Nest short film competition; Gorostidi attended the Tabakalera’s Artist’s Space and Miranda’s “Memory House” proved a standout at San Sebastian’s 2020 New Directors strand, the festival’s biggest sidebar. Schonfeld’s Jesus Lopez opened Horizontes Latinos, San Sebastian’s panorama of recent Latin American features.

A drill-down on the six titles making Ikusimira Berriak’s 2022 cut:

“Anekumen,” (Irati Gorostidi, Spain)

As Spain’s transition to democracy comes under new and more skeptical focus – think Alberto Rodriguez’s upcoming “Modelo 77” – Gorostidi’s bold debut feature examine the defeat of radical ideas of Spain’s ‘70s as a group of libertarian militants abandon their factory work to set up a free-thinking commune in the mountains of Navarre. Observing the fragmentation of the workers’ movement, the film chronicles the “complex contradictions in the search for a reduced and isolated social model,” Gorostidi comments.

“Bandeira,” (Joâo Paulo Miranda, Brazil, France)

Consecrated by “Memory House” – the only Latin American feature chosen for 2020’s Cannes Official Selection – Miranda’s “Bandeira” was described when announced as a revenge thriller to be shot in the Amazon rainforest. The Ikusmira Berriak announcement confirms more details: The project turns on Jonás, a young indigenous gold digger who’s convinced that he’s the chosen one to bring prosperity to his community. But gold gradually plunges him into destructive madness, endangering his own people. “‘Bandeira’ follows the same line as my previous films, where my characters always fight against a nature imposed on them,” Miranda says.

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Courtesy of SSIFF

“Frankenstein,” (Maximiliano Schonfeld, Argentina)

Inspired by a chapter of Mary Shelley’s book, where the Monster surreptitiously observes the daily routine of a family on a farm, much like those shot in the past by the director in Argentina’s Entre Rios, “a voyage through landscapes and modes of existence,” Schonfeld says. It also examines the clash between word and image and asks: Is there some kind of plan for us?

“Ivy,” (“Hiedra,” Ana Cristina Barragan, Ecuador, Mexico)

The third feature from Barragán whose debut, “Alba,” Ecuador’s Oscar submission, world premiered at the 2016 Rotterdam Festival, winning the Lions Film Award, “Ivy” turns on a mother, Azucena, 31, who attempts to rekindle a relation with her son, Julio, whom she abandoned after giving birth at the age of 13. “The tension between mother and son who physically seem almost the same age opens up a space to explore instinct, the Oedipus Complex and anger,” Barragán told Variety in January, announcing that “How To Get Away With Murder” star Karla Souza will play the mother.

“Far from the Trees,” (Lejos de los Árboles, Meritxell Colell, Spain)

A leading light of Catalunya’s newest generation of directors and producers, Colell’s potential third feature was presented at Ventana Sur’s Proyecta earlier this month. It focuses on Angélica, 50, who records the sounds and stories of the high Andes, which weave together in her fevered mind, capturing the present and past, reality and imagination of the places and people of the mountains and her childhood in Mexico. “A journey through listening that will push Angélica to think about who she is, who she wants to be, and where she comes from,” the synopsis runs.

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“Far from the Trees”
Courtesy of SSIFF

“Strange River,” (“Estrany Riu”, Jaume Claret, Spain)

A film which, like so many new Spanish-language arthouse features, turns on the question of identity. Brothers Dídac (14) and Biel (12) bike along the banks of the Danube with their family until Didac meets and is seduced by the mysterious Alexander. As the Danube grows in leaps and bounds, Biel senses he is losing his brother. A “reflection on masculinity in brotherly relations,” says Claret.