The 21st edition of the Valdivia Film Festival, Chile’s most renowned fest, closed Sunday, Oct 12 with a Best Film award for Teodora Ana Mihai’s Waiting for August. A winner at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival last May, the film depicts a Romanian teen suddenly left in charge of six siblings.
The jury composed of artist Valerie Massadian (Nana), Mar del Plata Fest programmer Cecilia Barrionuevo and film author Udo Jacobsen also gave a Special Jury Prize to El resto del mundo, directed by Pablo Chavarria. He dedicated the award to the 43 students allegedly murdered by corrupt police forces in collusion with drug cartels in Mexico.
“Alive they took them, and alive we want them back,” he stated.
A Special Mention was also granted to Virgil Vernier’s Mercuriales, a doc-fic hybrid that premiere in Cannes ACID sidebar, while the Audience Award went to local contender To Kill a Man, a Sundance winner and Chile's Foreign Language Oscar bid, directed by Alejandro Fernandez Almendras.
In the Chilean competition, Nicolas Molina's and Antonio Luco’s Beaverland, a hybrid fiction-documentary film about a young couple determined to fight the environmentally disruptive beaver plague in southern Chile, picked the Best Film Prize. The jury composed of BAFICI programmer Fran Gayo, Chilean filmmaker Tiziana Panizza and local director Matias Rojas (Root) also gave out a special mention to Carolina Garcia Bloj’s Respirar Helado.
The awards ceremony, hosted by fest director Raul Camargo, was certainly marked by social demands, a new add on the festival’s profile since Camargo took the lead this year. The closing event included a “cinema for the visually impaired” experience with the screening of Valdivia filmmaker Inaki Moulian’s short film II Luga in a version featuring audio description.
The fest's director stated the organization's commitment to the cause of making the resource available in Chilean film theaters and for TV broadcasts. “We’ll knock on every door we can to support this,” he said.
The ceremony also witnessed an abrupt interruption by a demonstration of the native community Kolinir Lof Wapi, which took the stage to denounce police brutality and the appropriation of mapuche lands by the Chilean state, as well as demand “the release of all mapuche political prisoners.”
“These demands coincide with the festival’s philosophy,” stated Camargo, who joined protesters on the stage.
Camargo also confirmed the date for the next edition of FICValdivia will be Oct. 6-11, 2015.