Chile under the spotlight with Four World Premieres and three projects at the Venice Film Festival

>>> The films Ema, Blanco en Blanco, El Príncipe, and the short film Fiebre Austral will have their international premieres in diverse sections of the great Italian festival, bringing stories that range from a failed adoption to addictive pleasures and are set in places such as the Chilean Patagonia or the streets of Valparaiso.

>>> The sectorial brand CinemaChile will be attending Venice’s industry area for the third time, supporting three projects in development stages, expanding business opportunities, and promoting the films in competition.

The upcoming edition of the prestigious Venice Film Festival is set to take place from August 28th to September 7th. Year after year, the festival stands out for embracing auteur cinema. This year, Chile will have an unprecedented participation with four productions competing in diverse selections, including the Official Selection. In addition to this, a large group of professionals from the Chilean film industry will arrive with a diverse dossier of productions, looking for new partners in consideration of the standing coproduction agreement that exists between Chile and Italy and the European country’s participation in Ibermedia.

Ema, the new and much-awaited feature film by director Pablo Larraín (Jackie, Neruda) is one of the twenty films selected for the Official Selection –the one and only Latin American production— that will aspire to the Golden Lion. Larrain’s eighth film, produced by Fabula, features performances by Mariana di Girolamo and Gael García Bernal and tells the story of a young dancer who decides to separate from her boyfriend after giving up for adoption the son they had both chosen to take care of and were incapable of raising. Ema will seek out new love affairs in the streets of Valparaiso in order to placate her guilt, but this won’t be her only goal: she will also carry out a secret plan in order to gain it all back.

Meanwhile, the film Blanco en Blanco by director Theo Court (Ocaso) will be competing in the Orizzonti section. Starring Alfredo Castro and coproduced by Quijote Films along with production companies from Spain, France, and Germany, the film is also the only Latin American feature-length film in this section. Set in Tierra del Fuego at the beginning of the 20th century, Blanco en Blanco narrates the story of Pedro, who arrives at a hostile and violent territory to photograph the wedding between a powerful landowner and a 14-year-old girl, who becomes his obsession. However, Pedro is discovered, punished, and stripped of his privileges. The man is unable to escape, and ends up being complicit, participating in a society that lives with the genocide of Selknam natives. “Blanco en Blanco seeks to portray the destiny of a society that was forged on death, a story about the invisible guilt that we participate in on a daily basis. This is the burden our protagonist carries, in an untouched land marked by the horror of genocide” says Court.

El Príncipe, Sebastián Muñoz’s opera prima, is produced by El Otro Film and Niña Niño Films in coproduction with Le Tiro (Argentina) and Be Revolution Pictures (Belgium). The film is based on the homonymous novel written by Mario Cruz and set in 1970. It all begins when after a night of heavy drinking, Jaime (Juan Carlos Maldonado) stabs his best friend in what appears to be a passional outburst. In prison he meets “El Potro” (Alfredo Castro), an older and respected man with whom he will initiate a relationship. Jaime begins to be known as “The Prince” and discovers affections and loyalties, while at the same time dealing with the power struggles that exist behind bars. This is Muñoz’s first foray into directing after a long career as an art director, working with filmmakers such as Alicia Scherson and Pablo Larraín.

The short film section Orizzonti will include the participation of Fiebre Austral, a short film directed by Thomas Woodroffe and produced by Brisa. The piece shows the life of Amanda (Francisca Gavilán), a lonely woman who lives with her son Daniel in the mountains of the south of Chile. One day, a friend of Daniel’s called Octavio is accidentally wounded while they are hunting in the forest. Amanda takes responsibility for healing his wound, developing an intimate relationship with the young man. There, they will discover that having contact with the wound produced an addictive pleasure. In Woodroffe’s own words, Fiebre Austral is “an atmospheric search that attempts to understand what goes on in the magical distance that exists between pleasure and pain.”


After two years of working at Venice’s market area, CinemaChile  —ProChile and APCT’s sectorial brand– will return to the festival to continue with its task of promoting and connecting the Chilean film industry with the Italian and European industries, all of which will gather around this space over the course of nine days. This offers excellent opportunities for future projects, which may assure financing with potential investors and interested professional partners.

“Chile’s historically unprecedented participation in this year’s Venice Film Festival continues to show us the great international recognition that the Chilean audiovisual industry is receiving due to the high quality of its productions. As ProChile, the organization that promotes the country’s exports, it makes us very proud to see that the efforts we have made over the years through CinemaChile’s promotion and public-private collaboration mechanisms have had a great multiplying effect over the process that the Chilean audiovisual industry is currently going through,” says Tatiana Larredonda, Chief of ProChile’s Department of Creative Economy.

This year, the 6th edition of the Venice Gap-Financing Market, a project financing platform, selected 51 pieces from all over the world, including three Chilean productions: A la sombra de los árboles by Matías Rojas, Hypha by Natalia Cabrera, and the minority coproduction Re Granchio by Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis, developed jointly between Italy, Argentina and Chile. The first two projects are led by Chilean production companies and stand out for their powerful narratives and risky formats, whilst the Italian coproduction proposes a story that will bring eyes to our national territory.

A la sombra de los árboles, produced by Giancarlo Nasi and Quijote Films, tells the story of Pablo, the son of a rural farm woman who is taken to a boarding school in Colonia Dignidad, a German settlement in the south of Chile, in order to receive a better education. Pablo will gradually become the favorite of the settlement’s leader, Uncle Paul, whom he sees as the father he never had. However, being the favorite implies an obligation that brings an abrupt end to his innocence, and this leads him to planning an almost impossible escape that has irreversible consequences. Pablo turns into the first person to stand up against Uncle Paul.

The virtual reality piece Hypha, produced by Sebastián González from Maltrato Films, is a virtual reality adventure that explains the natural cycle of a mushroom, from spore to fruiting body, in soils of southern Chile. The production looks to generate a reflection regarding fungi as the main agents capable of remediating our planet’s soil. After its Venice screening, the project will be shown to the world for the first time on November 2nd, 2019, in the framework of Santiago’s Media Art Biennial.

Re Granchio, which is also produced by Giancarlo Nasi through Rampante, tells the story of Luciano, a drunken bourgeoisie with a revolutionary spirit. Exiled from his community, he arrives to the last corner of the world and becomes the legendary King Crab of Cape Horn, in the southernmost tip of South America.


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