Chile’s Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC) has unveiled the full list of films participating in its upcoming Labs for fiction and documentary features, running under the festival’s Sanfic Industria banner Oct. 27-Nov. 5.
It’s the second such event hosted by the fest this year, although the first to welcome participants in person. In March, a entirely online Industria event was held, where Brazil’s “The Life That’s Left,” Costa Rica’s “Crono-Capsulas” and Chilean drama series “Silver Bridge” and “La Vida de Nosotras” highlighted the field of exciting projects.
“It is not easy to host two industry spaces in the same year and host new productions as powerful as those we will have in this edition, only seven months after our 100% online event,” Industria head Gabriela Sandoval explained to Variety.
Fifteen fiction features will participate in this fall’s – or spring’s if you’re in Chile – lab.
“This year’s selection once again confirms the continued growth of Sanfic Lab through to the quality of the applicant projects, which were varied and demonstrated a high level of quality. We have celebrated the large number of women producers leading projects and the good number of women directors presented,” said Magma Cine’s Nathalia Videla, who selected the finalists with Arturo Pérez of Vendo Cine México.
In total, 11 documentaries will also participate, selected by Sandoval and Colombia’s Consuelo Castillo.
“The epicenters have changed and the look has been transformed, the future documentaries that are part of the selection of projects of this new version of the Sanfic industry account for a change in paradigms, internal searches are complemented by the need to tell a world that is outside, that world that we almost lost last year,” Castillo added.
Several themes reappear through both sections, the most frequent among them being race and identity, particularly among indigenous peoples from across Latin America. Immigration is clearly a hot-button issue for many of the filmmakers and gender politics also stands out as a main topic touched upon by several projects.
Below, a brief breakdown of all 26 titles participating in this edition of the Santiago Lab.
SANFIC LAB FICTION
“Muchachos de Madera” (Andrés Porras, Jesús Reyes, Colombia)
Genaro delivers the bodies of fallen soldiers to their surviving families, having become numb to the specter of death over the years. Meanwhile, he searches for his wife Consuelo and learns that his own son has enlisted to go to war.
“Turtle Sellers” (Maria Eugenia Veron, Dalmira Films, Argentina)
Eight-year-old Benito is abandoned by his father and settles in with a family that sells turtles and cacti on the side of the highway. There, new knowledge conflicts with traditional mysticism and forces him to act against his better judgement. From Argentine upstart production house Dalmira Films.
“Chimera” (Maria Berns, Axolotl Cinema, Mexico)
A near-future sci-fi thriller, “Chimera” starts with an explosion in Mexico City which destroys a government center for controlling and wiping people’s memories. Recollections begin to spread like waves through the nearby population. Produced by Aurora Fragoso at Axolotl Cinema.
“Family” (Marcelo Landaeta, Abadi Films, Bolivia)
On the brink of the 1979 Bolivian military coup, two of its key players’ personal lives threaten to derail the whole thing. Intense violence weaves through this exciting screenplay loaded with themes of betrayal, identity and political intrigue.
“The Cry of the Tide” (Maggie Zacarias Mandujano, La Ñusta Films S.A.C, Peru, Argentina)
Mixing elements of investigational drama and psychological thriller to move a compelling story, Zacarias Mandujano’s semi-autobiographical tale about seeking justice after sexual assault turns into a powerful story about healing and sisterhood.
“Reaching for the Moon” (Ana Semino, Carajito Films, Uruguay)
Middle-aged mother Beatriz, alone after her daughter leaves on a solo trip around the world, must fight against the pre-conceptions and truths of aging to re-discover herself and re-evaluate what she now wants from life.
“Mom and Dad Don’t Get Back Together” (Marcelo Flores, Orioncine, Chile)
Four years after his wife left him and their three children to study abroad, Pablo manages to move on from the abandonment. When she reappears, hoping that all can be returned to normal, she is dismayed to learn nothing is how she remembers it.
“The F****ing Life” (Lucho Smok, Grita Medios, Chile)
Lore, 20, and her grandfather Hernán, 87, are forced on a holiday road trip. When Lore learns her grandfather anxiously awaits death, she kidnaps the man and forces him to embark on one last great adventure.
“Purple” (Nina Marin, Marines Films, Colombia)
A thriller, “Purple” is the story of an executive who must fight for her survival after suffering a series of intentional tragedies perpetrated by a forgotten figure from her past.
“El Huatrila” (Roberto Flores Muñoz, Saqras Films, Peru)
Raúl must either embrace a past inherited from his rural family or forge his own path into the future after his father has a stroke and the two return to their family’s village for the first time in a decade.
“The Force of the Land” (Franco García, Hdperú, Peru)
When a mining company threatens the local water supply, a small community bands together to confront the corporate giant in the face of brutal intimidation tactics. The conflict is shown from the perspective of a solitary young boy.
“Life on Venus” (Rodolfo Abud, Rodolfo Abud, Chile)
Investigator Ernesto sifts through clues that don’t make sense and which often lead him to more questions than answers. The investigation is made more difficult by his deep depression, clouding his once sound reasoning.
“The Child Who Gave Us Venus” (Lucio Rojas, Fascinante Films, Chile)
Mixing drama and fantasy, this is the story of a young, non-binary child who lives in the shadow of an older sibling who died years before. Stuck in a depressed and muted environment, the child retreats into the world of ‘50s sci-fi and fantasy films on TV.
“Finding The German Woman” (Pedro Wallace, Equis+, Argentina)
In her mid-30s, Marta sets out to find her mother, absent since childhood, after a meeting with a friend from her mother’s youth. Confronting several roadblocks along the way, including her own father’s refusal to help, she sets out on a globe-spanning journey of self-discovery.
“El Maravilloso Viaje de Akinte” (Reyson Velásquez, Dela Mina Studios, Colombia)
16-year-old Akinte embarks on an odyssey to find a healer capable of curing his ailing grandmother. When he arrives at the old man’s home, a curse has the healer bedridden and incapable of helping, so Akinte must face down the responsible witch to free the healer, allowing him to work his magic once again.
SANFIC LAB DOCUMENTARY
“Jailers” (Julia Hannud, Uma Filmes, Brazil)
Two Brazilian jailers, young Amanda who is in training to become an officer and experienced Frabícia whose hard years of service often affect her life outside the prison walls, are profiled in this examination of Brazil’s penal system.
“Matryoshka” (Maricarmen Merino, Maricarmen Merino, Puchunka Cine, Costa Rica, Mexico)
Patricia Mora Castellanos was born and married into powerful families among Costa Rica’s political left. This is the story, captured by her filmmaker daughter, of her rise in politics following her husband’s death, when she took his place at the front of the leftist party.
“The Shepherdesses” (Gabriela Domínguez Ruvalcaba, Bosquenegro, Estudio Errante, Mexico)
Maribel, the eldest of seven sisters, works as a shepherd adhering to a lifestyle inherited from the indigenous Tzotziles. Her way of living and her family’s ancestral home are under threat by the encroachment of modern and commercial interests.
“The Safest Place” (Magdalena Hurtado, Milena Castro, Dos Be, Chile)
Several women, all strangers, share stories of childhood sexual abuse committed by members of their own households. Their stories are woven together into a narrative of survival with each contributing their own perspective on overcoming the trauma of the events.
“The Dream Route” (Diego Balanta Mosquera, Cinemedia, Colombia)
Borders, both seen and unseen, block the way of Isabel, a Black Colombian woman who dreams of relocating to Chile and embarks on a 2,700-mile immigration journey in which typically only three of ten hopefuls arrive successfully.
“Juliette & Camille” (Paloma Zapata, La Fábrica Naranja, Spain)
Zapata delivers the stories of two fierce women musicians from different circumstances who use their art to express themselves and to be heard. Each is also on a quest for self-discovery, hoping to learn more about their roots.
“Terricide” (Angel Giovanni Hoyos, Argentina)
In the summer of 2021, a series of forest fires tore through Argentine Patagonia, affecting the indigenous Mapuche nation. This film examines how a new generation seeks to recover a lost spirituality and protect its ancestral lands.
“Underdog” (Nicolás Leiva, bzfilms, Chile)
THe doc feature follows a young Black basketball player from the U.S. who relocates to Valparaíso to play for a local team. There, he struggles through a tumultuous season, learning a great deal about himself along the way.
“Parking. Why Did my Friends Migrate to Europe?” (Juan Diego Kantor, Domenica Films, Reina de Pike, Argentina)
Starring Kantor himself, an Italian who moved to Argentina as a young child, “Parking” examines what it means to belong in a place regardless of where one is “from,” using the filmmaker’s own story as a guideline.
“Karukinka” (Caroline Pavez, Yareta Producciónes, Chile)
Pavez, who has Mapuche ancestry on her father’s side, delivers this autobiographical documentary about her journey of self-discovery to learn about her ancestry and its extreme inter-generational changes.
“Kawesqar territory” (Cristian Valle Celedón, Wolf Producciones, Chile)
Four families which survived the ethnocide of Chile’s Kawesqar people are profiled as they fight to protect their lands from the salmon farming industry.