The year 2019 has positioned itself as a historic year for Chilean cinema worldwide, with an unprecedented presence at the Venice International Film Festival that includes four films competing in different sections of the festival. Topping this groundbreaking presence is Ema, the new feature film by director Pablo Larraín, selected in the Official Competition of the Biennale. Additionally, White on White, by Theo Court, was selected in the Orizzonti section, The Prince, by Sebastián Muñoz, in Settimana della Crítica, and Austral Fever, by Thomas Woodroffe, in Orizzonti Shorts.
For the past two years, CinemaChile has attended Venice as a sector brand, and it is a joy to now announce the unprecedented Chilean presence in one of the most important festivals in the world. The Venice Film Festival, in charge of promoting international cinema in all of its forms for decades, has put a special emphasis on Latin America during the last years.
Ema, Larraín’s new film and the eighth of his filmography, tells the story of a young dancer who decides to separate from Gastón, her boyfriend, after giving up the son they had adopted and were unable to raise. Ema will search the streets of Valparaíso for new loves to placate the guilt. However, that is not her only objective, as she also has a secret plan to recover what was lost.
White on White, an international co-production between Quijote Films (Chile), El Viaje Films (Spain), and Pomme Hurlante Films (France), is set in the early twentieth century in Tierra del Fuego, the last corner of the world. When the marriage of an omnipotent landowner is about to take place, a photographer arrives to immortalize the relationship. The future wife, a girl who travels with him, becomes his obsession. Theo Court, director of the film, says, “Blanco en Blanco seeks to portray the fate of a society forged on death, a story about the invisible guilt in which we participate daily. Which is the load carried by our protagonist, in a virgin land marked by the horror of genocide.”
The prince is a fiction feature based on a novel of the same name by author Mario Cruz. The story takes place in 1970, where after a night of drunkenness, Jaime stabs his best friend in an apparent passionate outburst. In prison he will strengthen ties with “El Potro”, an older and respected man with whom he will begin a relationship. Jaime will become known as “The Prince”, and discover the affections and loyalties, while facing the power struggles behind bars. This film is the first feature film by Muñoz, who has been an art director for films by Alicia Scherson and Pablo Larraín.
Additionally, the short film Austral Fever, is an intense 20 minute short made by the young director Thomas Woodroffe, that tells the story of Amanda, a lonely woman who lives with her son Daniel in the southern mountain range of Chile. Octavio, a friend of Daniel, is accidentally injured while hunting in the forest. Amanda takes care of the healing sessions, developing an intimate bond with the child. There they will discover that contact with the wound produces an addictive pleasure.
In Woodroffe’s words, Austral Fever is an atmospheric search with which he tries to understand what happens with the magical distance that exists between pleasure and pain. “It is a film that wonders about the body, and the unique and personal perception of the limits of its sensitivity” he says. “Participating in the short film competition of the Venice Film Festival is very surprising, both for me and for the incredible team of creatives and technicians with whom I was able to work with in Austral Fever. Venice selects only 12 shorts from around the world, which makes us feel especially honored. In addition, it is the first time that a Chilean short film participates in this section,” says Woodroffe.
CHILE’S TALENTED CAST & CREW
The professionals, creatives and technicians that make up each film represent the effervescent talent present in all arenas of the Chilean audiovisual sector.
Among the creative and technical professionals that make up the team behind Ema are the following talented people: Cinematography by Sergio Armstrong; Art Direction by Estefanía Larraín; Screenplay by Guillermo Calderón, Alejandro Moreno and Pablo Larraín; Editing by Sebastián Sepúlveda; Sound by the post production company Sonamos. The cast is integrated by Mariana Di Girolamo, Gael García Bernal and Santiago Cabrera.
In Blanco en Blanco, the screenplay was written by Theo Court and Samuel Delgado; Cinematography by José Ángel Alayón; Art Direction by Amparo Baeza; Editing by Manuel Muñoz; Sound by Joaquín Pachón. The cast is integrated by Alfredo Castro, Lars Rudolph, David Pantaleón and Lola Rubio.
The Prince was produced by Marianne Mayer- Beckh of El Otro Film, Roberto Doveris of NiñaNiño Films and co-produced by Le Tire Films (Argentina) and Be Revolution Pictures (Belgium). It features the performances of Juan Carlos Maldonado, Alfredo Castro, Cesare Serra, Gastón Pauls, Lucas Balmaceda, Sebastián Ayala and José Antonio Raffo. The Art Direction was done by Claudia Gallardo, Cinematography by Enrique Stindt, Costume Design by Carolina Espina, Gerson Valenzuela as General Producer, Edited by Danielle Fillios, Sound by Guido Deniro, Original Music by Ángela Acuña and written by Luis Barrales and Sebastián Muñoz.
Additionally the short Fiebre Austral, was produced by Rodrigo Díaz and Joaquin Echeverria and Pascual Mena of Brisa; the script was written by Thomas Woodroffe, Camila Aboitiz and Gabriel Goicoechea; Cinematography by Emilia Martin; Art Direction by Rafael Pontigo; Sound by Catalina Mateluna, Sound Design by Roberto Espinoza of Sonamos, Editing by Camila Aboitiz and Gabriel Goicochea, and in Effects and character design Franklin Sepúlveda.