Cinema Chile

Chile prepares for its participation as Country in Focus in the European Film Market of the Berlinale

February 3, 2020

>>> Chile will participate in various sections of the German encounter, the first big European market of the year, where our country will be represented by more than 70 film & audiovisual professionals, who will arrive with new Chilean projects, films and series.

>>> The premiere of the film by Raúl Ruiz and Valeria Sarmiento, “The Tango of the Widower and its Distorting Mirror” and the filmmaker Dominga Sotomayor as Jury of the first edition of the Encounters competition, puts a Chilean accent on the film festival, which will be celebrated from February 20th to March 1st.

Within two weeks, Chile will become the protagonist of the fourth edition of “Country in Focus” in the European Film Market (EFM), the audiovisual market of the Berlin Film Festival, which brings together producers, distributors, and film industry representatives from around the world. Our country will be the first in South America to form part of this special section, whose objective is to promote the cinema of a particular country, providing an excellent showcase for its films, series and talents. This initiative will also strengthen bilateral relations between Chilean and German cinema, given that the Audiovisual Co-Production Agreement signed by Chile and Germany is already in an advanced stage in Chile’s congress, posed to enter into effect during 2020.

“It’s no longer news for our audiovisual industry representatives to be protagonists at different international occasions, and Berlin won’t be the exception. We’ll arrive at the Berlinale with a considerable national committee, which will participate in different sections of the event, were Chilean projects will also have a privileged window as the European Film Market’s Country in Focus. As the Ministry of Culture, we continue to assume the challenge of contributing to the necessary mechanisms so that our producers, directors, actors, and film workers can maintain the reputation they’ve earned within and outside of Chile,” emphasizes Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Consuelo Valdés.

The Berlin Film Festival, known as the Berlinale, and the EFM have been key supporters of Chilean cinema in its path to internationalization and consolidation, premiering big productions and granting multiple recognitions in its industry spaces as well as its competitions, where Chile has obtained five Silver Bears and five Teddy Awards, among other meaningful prizes.

“Chile’s participation in the market has grown a lot due to the marvellous work of the industry and the quality of the films, but also because of Chilean cinema’s energy, its big ideas, and its expansion in Latin America and Europe,” comments Matthijs Wouter Knol, director of EFM, during the announcement of Chile as the 2020 Country in Focus.

Raúl Ruiz.

The important national presence in the festival this year is represented by two milestones: the premiere of The Tango of the Widower and its Distorting Mirror, feature film filmed by Raúl Ruiz in 1967 in Chile and concluded recently by his partner and filmmaker in her own right, Valeria Sarmiento, along with production company Poetastros. It will be the opening film of the Forum section at the Berlinale, one of the event’s most important categories, dedicated to experimental and contemporary works. In addition to this milestone is the participation of director Dominga Sotomayor, who will form part of the jury in the first edition of the “Encounters” competition, dedicated to new visions in cinema.

Meanwhile, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, ProChile and subsidiary brands CinemaChile and Chiledoc, along with Corfo and the Direction of Cultural Affairs (Dirac) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile’s cinema and independent television production will shine in the EFM, being present in multiple specialized sections. It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Finance, SERNATUR, and Fundación Imagen de Chile have also collaborated in this instance.


“La felicidad”

One of the Chilean projects that will get people talking this year in Berlin is the second film by director Pepa San Martín, who will land in Berlin after having been selected in the Co-Production Market with the film in development Happiness. San Martín returns after having been awarded in 2016 for her first feature Rara, during its premiere at the Berlinale. Now, with Happiness, produced by Macarena López at Manufactura de Películas (Chile), along with Aleph Cine (Argentina), the director will portray the bond between two older women amid adversity, boasting leading roles by Paulina García from Chile and Mercedes Morán from Argentina.

In the Talents section, the talent-development program at the Berlin Film Fest, three young Chileans were selected and will travel with the support of Dirac: director-screenwriter Camila José Donoso, producer Alba Gaviraghi, and art director Nicolás Oyarce. In addition, Chilean producer of the company Oro Films, Dominga Ortúzar, was invited as a jury member for Talents Footprints after having participated in Talents last year.

De izq. a der.: Camila José Donoso, Alba Gaviraghi y Nicolás Oyarce


Documentary cinema will make a strong presence at the event with five female filmmakers: Carola Fuentes, Joanna Reposi, Tiziana Panizza, Carolina Adriazola, and Karin Cuyul, who will arrive at DocSalon accompanied by documentary subsidiary brand ChileDoc. This space at EFM promotes networking and exchange among documentary buyers, sellers, directors, and producers.

“Berko, las armas de Pinochet”

This year, Chile will be the host of two important activities within DocSalon: DocLunch, a lunch that gathers audiovisual area representatives and experts with documentary filmmakers in a warmer and more relaxed atmosphere; and SalonTalk, which this year carries the title “Collaboration vs. Competition: A look at the Chilean documentary Industry and its collective and associative approach to international marketing and distribution”, a panel that will be made up by Joanna Reposi, Paola Castillo, and Carola Fuentes, who will talk about the importance of partnerships for the commercialization and distribution of productions on the international audiovisual market.

Furthermore, the main guests of the space dedicated to television production, Series Market, will be five Chilean professionals, representatives of our country’s contemporary series, who will participate in a showcase dedicated to the best and most recent series content. The production houses selected for this occasion are Fabula with the series The Pack; Invercine&Wood with Dignity; Parox and its production Invisible Heroes; the Emmy-winning mini-series The suspended mourning; and Promocine with the project Berko, las armas de Pinochet.

Indigenous voices in Chilean cinema are reshaping the dominant narrative. By exploring questions of resistance, identity and solidarity, these films are empowering audiences This force is not only seen in the thematic elements of these creative works, but also in the ethics of how they are produced. To delve deeply into this subject, Chile Country in Focus is organizing a panel, supported by the EFM, featuring the insights, experiences and perspectives of two leading Chilean filmmakers: the Mapuche director Claudia Huaiquimilla (Mala Junta), and the Rapa Nui director Leo Pakarati (Te kuhane o Te Tupuna).

In the coming days, the festival will announce the names of the Chilean professionals to headline other outstanding showcases dedicated to Chile: the Producers Hub encounter and the Visitor’s Program of the Coproduction Market.

In addition, our country will be the co-host of the EFM reception, an event to be run by ProChile, the institution that has backed local companies’ presence at this festival since 2007 in the context of a complete Chilean audiovisual sector support strategy. This strategy has included the development of two subsidiary brands, and has provided both programs to promote export and commercial offices to continue the work of internationalizing the industry following every festival and audiovisual market.


Internationalization and new co-production deals for each film or television series do not only depend on economic matters, but also on strengthening networks and on Chilean professionals deepening their personal relationships with foreign peers. This implies constant participation at each big encounter, backed consistently by multiple national entities such as MinCAP, through the Council of Art and the Audiovisual Industry’s (CAIA) International Market Attendance Program, or CORFO, who at this opportunity, valuing the great platform provided by Chile being the Country in Focus, has strengthened national presence through its grant called “Attendance at International Market Events”, which prioritizes proposals like EFM among their market circuit. The result of both support programs will allow representatives from 13 national production houses to travel to this encounter in order to strengthen the commercialization and distribution of their audiovisual works, as well as their partnership networks, strengthening the Chilean audiovisual industry in the context of the international market. Joining them it will be more than 30 professionals, from producers to directors and national festival programmers, counting on with the big stand that Chile will have in EFM, run by CinemaChile and ProChile Germany.

EFM will take place from February 20 to 28, 2020, during the 70th annual Berlin International Film Festival.