December 9, 2013
Mar del Plata Fest gears up for new edition
John Landis, John Boorman and Ricardo Darín among highlights
French comedian-filmmaker Pierre Etaix, US directors John Landis (Trading Places, 1983, Coming to America, 1988) and John Boorman (Beyond Rangoon, 1995, The Tailor of Panama, 2001), and Argentine actor Ricardo Darín (El secreto de sus ojos, 2009; Tesis sobre un homicidio, 2012) will top the bill at the 28th edition of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, taking place from November 16 to 24.
Created in 1948 by former president Juan Domingo Perón, Mar del Plata was at first a non-competitive festival — rather, it was an international exhibition. However, in spite of its non-competitive category, that same year the “Festival Cinematográfico Internacional,” as it was originally called, attracted such international stars as Italy’s Gina Lollobrigida and US actor Errol Flynn. After a four-year hiatus, the Argentine Film Critics’ Association took over and in 1959 the festival received the “Class A” category from the Fédération Internationale des Associations de Producteurs de Films (FIAP).
Festival director José Martínez Suárez, a respected filmmaker himself, and new producer Fernando Spiner reported that Etaix (a former assistant director of no less than Jacques Tati and Robert Bresson), Landis and Darín will give master classes open to festivalgoers, and will also attend screenings of some of their films.
This year, the Mardel Fest will highlight the work of Paraguayan writer Augusto Roa Bastos, with screenings of the most important movies based on his novels. Roa Bastos’ first film adaptation was El trueno entre las hojas (1958), the star vehicle for erotic icon Isabel Sarli. The film turned Sarli and her companion-director Armando Bo into international figures. Roa Bastos also scripted, among many other landmarks, Alias Gardelito (Lautaro Murúa, 1961), Hijo de hombre (Lucas Demare, 1961), and La madre María (Demare, 1974). Roa Bastos’ book on script writing will be published by the Mardel Fest.
Martínez Suárez and Spiner announced that animated film director Juan Pablo Zaramella (author of the award-winning short Luminaris) will make two festival spots featuring 600 people from Mar del Plata. Two additional spots will be made by postproducer and FX artist Mariano Santilli, and director Gustavo Taretto (Medianeras, 2010).
As festival programmers are still in the process of selecting and putting together the final schedule, a new submission deadline of August 31 has been set for all categories. Thus far, more than 2,000 submissions have been received. In all, the Mardel Fest will programme nearly 400 movies (features and shorts).
A US$40,000 cash prize will be awarded to the Best Director, while the Best Shorts Director will receive US$10,000. The winner of the “Domingo Di Núbila Essay Contest” (named after the late Argentine film critic-historian) will receive US$5,000.
One of the most interesting parallel activities will be the section devoted to the 300 movies donated by Turner International Argentina to the National Film Board (INCAA), a selection of the finest Argentine movies, including works by directors such as Carlos Hugo Christensen (Safo, historia de una pasión, 1943; El ángel desnudo, 1946), Mario Soffici (Prisioneros de la tierra, 1939; Rosaura a las diez, 1958), Hugo del Carril (Las aguas bajan turbias, 1952; Yo maté a Facundo, 1975), Leopoldo Torre Nilsson (La casa del ángel, 1957; Boquitas pintadas, 1974), and Manuel Romero (Tres argentinos en París, 1938; Adiós pampa mía, 1946).