The 27th edition of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival took place from November 17th to November 25th 2012 in the port and resort city of Mar del Plata on the east Atlantic coast of Argentina. It is the only competitive feature film festival recognized by the FIAPF (International Federation of Film Producers' Associations) in Latin America and is the oldest in this category in the Americas. It was created in 1954 as a non-competitive exhibition of international cinema. The festival was approved and recognized by the FIAPF in 1959. During its turbulent history the festival moved to Buenos Aires and was cancelled in 1970 during the military dictatorship. There were several attempts to revive it, but it was not until 1996 that the Mar del Plata International Film Festival was re-born as it is today. In 2007 the festival added a new competitive section dedicated specifically to Latin American cinema.
The 2012 edition screened almost 400 films, including features, short films and documentaries. The festival has four competition categories: the international selection as its central program, Latin American features, Argentine features and work in progress. In addition to its four official international juries, the festival hosted 13 non-official juries, the FIPRESCI jury among them. The other sections alongside the official competition programs were Panorama (including a wide array of different selections dedicated to directors, Argentinian films, horror movies and comedies), Focus (on Argentinian documentary films, Latin American movies, Spanish production and new Korean cinema) and a Revisions program that offered a rich selection of topics including homages and retrospectives.
The International Competition comprised 14 feature films. The award for best film went to Beyond the Hills (Dupa dealuri) by Romanian director Cristian Mungiu and the award for best director went to Turkish director Reis Çelik for Night of Silence (Lal gece). The main prize in the Latin American selection was awarded to the Chilean film Things the Way They Are (Las cosas como son) by Fernando Lavanderos. The FIPRESCI prize, as one of the non-official prizes in the same category, went to The Towrope (La Sirga) by Columbian director William Vega.
This year the festival set another record in ticket sales, as people came to Mar del Plata to enjoy the long weekend sunbathing and watching films. Among the festival's special events, the most important was the Audiovisual Communication National Meeting, dedicated to the future of the audiovisual industry and public audiovisual policy in Argentina. The festival is run by the INCAA (National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts). (Ziva Emersic)
Mar del Plata International Film Festival: www.mardelplatafilmfest.com