Chile takes its films to the San Sebastian Film Festival’s most important sections

>>>  Eight Chilean productions will form part of the five biggest sections of the Basque film festival, competing for multiple awards including the Official Section’s Golden Shell. The films in the running for this award are Jose Luis Torres Leiva’s Vendra la Muerte y Tendra Tus Ojos, as well as Andres Wood’s Araña, the Chilean representative in the competition for the Goya and Academy Awards, which shall have its debut before Spanish audiences. In addition to this, two Chilean projects in development stages will form part of the Europe-Latin America Coproduction Forum.

 >>> With the on-site support of CinemaChile, a large delegation of professionals from the Chilean film industry will arrive at the festival in order to promote and secure new partners and business opportunities for their developing audiovisual projects. Four producers from this delegation will be attending the festival with the support of Ministry of Cultures, the Arts, and Patrimony, through its Attendance to International Markets program.

Each year, the Chilean film industry shines at the San Sebastian Film Festival, the most important festival in Hispanic America, with a large selection of films and a robust delegation. And 2019 will be no exception: Chile will be one of the countries in the region with the largest presence at the Basque festival, with eight productions selected for multiple sections and two projects participating in the festival’s industry area, which is called the Industry Club.

“San Sebastian is one of the world’s most important film festivals, and the interest that the festival’s organizers have shown towards our participation as a country is an indication of the great moment that the Chilean film industry is going through. We will have four films competition, including Araña, which is the Chilean ticket for the Oscars and the Goyas, and The Prince, which has just been awarded the Queer Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival, making a mark as the first Chilean film to receive an award in this category,” says Juan Carlos Silva, Sub-secretary of Cultures and the Arts.

The authority of the Ministry of Cultures, the Arts, and Patrimony also notes, “As in previous years, we are supporting various productions’ participation through our support program for participation in international festivals. The audiovisual field continues to fully justify the Ministry of Cultures’ support, and in that sense, instances such as these are very important occasions on which to show the great films that are being developed in our country.”

This participation will wrap up one of this year’s best months for Chilean film, keeping in mind that in September alone there will have been seven international premieres at some of the season’s most important festivals, such as Venice, Toronto, and San Sebastian.

CinemaChile’s executive director, Constanza Arena, highlights the enormous presence of the Chilean film industry at San Sebastian, assuring that “the industry’s strength will also be demonstrated by the participation of 21 production companies and their over 40 projects in development stages, who will have meetings with the international film industry.” With regards to what she identifies in the competing films and the subjects they address, she assures, “There’s a very distinct point they all have in common: they all explore the subject of family, of new families, and the relationships that are generated in this area from the perspective of a couple, of a woman, of parents, children, and friends.” She also adds, “The special confluence of established Chilean directors like Guzmán, Wood or Larraín and emerging filmmakers who are already present in the Festival’s most important competition sections, such as the Official Competition, New Directors, and Horizontes Latinos.”

At the front of the productions that are set to land in the Basque city is the latest fiction film by José Luis Torres Leiva, entitled Vendrá la muerta y tendrá tus ojos, which will be competing for the prestigious Golden Shell alongside 19 other feature-length films. The film was produced by Catalina Vergara from Globo Rojo Films and features performances by Amparo Noguera and Julieta Figueroa. It narrates the story of two women who have shared an entire life together and are forced to come to terms with an illness that strikes one of them, who decides not to undergo any treatment. Together, they move to a cabin, where they will rediscover their love, strengthening their relationship while death awaits.

The New Directors section will include Algunas Bestias, by director and producer Jorge Riquelme (Laberinto Films). With performances by Paulina García, Alfredo Castro, Consuelo Carreño and Andrew Bargsted, the film will plunge spectators into the story of a family that disembarks on an uninhabited island in the south of Chile with the dream of building a hotel, and are held captive after the man who brought them there disappears. In the cold, with no water or any certainty of anything, their peaceful coexistence will come to an end, revealing the beasts that are hiding within the family.

 In Horizontes Latinos, the film chosen to inaugurate the section is Patricio Guzman’s latest film, La Cordillera de los Sueños, a documentary produced by Market Chile and Atacama Productions. The synopsis reads: “In Chile, when the sun rises, it must climb hills, walls and mountain tops before reaching the last stone of the Andes Mountains. In my country, the mountains are everywhere. But for the Chilean citizens, they are unknown territory.”

This same space will also include the Spanish premiere of the film that will represent Chile in the race for the Oscars and the Goyas, Araña by Andrés Wood, produced by Wood Producciones along with Magma Cine (Argentina) and Bossa Nova Films (Brazil). The film features leading performances by Mercedes Morán and Marcelo Alonso, and narrates the story of Inés, Justo, and Gerardo, who form part of a nationalist group that wants to overthrow the Marxist government during the 70s. They form a love triangle and commit a political crime. Forty years later, Gerardo reappears. Ines will do whatever it takes to keep him from disclosing her and her husband’s past.

Sebastian Muñoz’s film The Prince was also selected and will arrive to San Sebastian directly from Venice with its Queer Lion Award. The film was produced by El Otro Film and Niña Niño Films, in co-production with Le Tiro Films (Argentina) and Be Revolution Films (Belgium). With performances by Juan Carlos Maldonado, Alfredo Castro and Gastón Pauls, its synopsis is as follows: San Bernardo, Chile, 1970. After a night of heavy drinking, Jaime, a solitary and narcissistic man in his twenties, stabs his best friend in friend in what appears to be an outburst of passion. In prison, he discovers affections and loyalties amidst an everyday life marked by violence

After its acclaimed premieres at the Venice and Toronto film festivals, Pablo Larrain’s film Ema will arrive at Perlak, the contest’s most exclusive section. Produced by Fabula and featuring lead performances by Mariana Di Girolamo and Gael García, the film narrates how after a serious accident that derails her family life and her marriage to a choreographer, Ema embarks on a crusade for personal liberation that turns her life into an incendiary drama about art, desire, and family.

The Chilean-Argentinean coproduction Shakti, directed by Martin Rejtman, will participate in the Zabaltegi – Tabakalera section. Produced by Forastero and Un Puma (Argentina), the film narrates the moment in which Federico decides to separate from Magda, but Magda wins out and Federico falls into a depressive pit. However, his life begins to change when he finds some potato knishes in his freezer, which his grandmother left him a few months before dying.

Fiebre Austral, by Thomas Woodroffe, was selected for the Nest Film Students space. The short film, which has already participated in-competition at Venice and Toronto, was produced by Rodrigo Díaz from Brisa Producciones and features performances by Francisca Gavilán, Nicolás Sobarzo, and Roberto Villena. Its synopsis: Amanda, a lonely and complacent woman, lives with her son Daniel in the south of Chile. One day, a friend of Daniel’s called Octavio is accidentally wounded while they are hunting in the forest. Amanda dresses his wound and discovers an addictive pleasure that comes from touching his wound.


Two Chilean projects were selected for the Europe – Latin America Coproduction Forum, which is dedicated to fostering productions in different stages of development.

One of them is El Cardenal, directed by Benjamin Ávila and produced by Gabriela Sandoval and Carlos Núñez from Storyboard Media, along with Argentina and Brazil.  The synopsis is as follows: After the 1973 military strike, Cardinal Silva Henríquez initiates an effort to help the victims that opposes his cautious attitude towards the regime’s authorities. Little by little, he will get to know the brutal dictatorship he must stand up against.

The second project is Amor es el Monstruo, directed by Neto Villalobos and produced by Chilean producer Alejo Crisóstomo from Ceibita Films along with Costa Rica. Synopsis: After accidentally leaving her granddaughter locked up inside her car, a grandmother will set off a chain of calamities that will lead her to do things she never thought were possible, all in order to save her daughter from imminent danger.

Chile’s presence will be complete with the arrival of a numerous delegation of professionals that will work on the Chilean films of the future, participating in the festival’s industry gatherings, representing twenty-one production companies, and promoting over 40 film projects in development stages of diverse genres. Four of these professionals will be attending with the support of Ministry of Cultures, the Arts, and Patrimony through its Attendance to International Markets program: Karina Jury from 17 Producciones, Sebastián Freund from Rizoma, Giancarlo Nasi from Quijote Films, and Francisco Hervé from Panchito Films.

Subscribe to the cinemachile newsletter

Find out about the news, calls and more from the Chilean audiovisual industry.


+56 2 2732 4783 / +56 2 2732 2732
Alberto Reyes 075, Providencia, Santiago de Chile