Toulouse's Cinélatino festival is probably the most interesting and committed showcase of Latin American films in Europe. Its experienced director and selection board have strong connections with a number of key players: the major Latin American festivals (such as Guadalajara, Cartagena, Rio de Janeiro, BAFICI, Valdivia), non-profit French associations dedicated to Latin American cultural heritage, and organisations of native minorities active in several Latin American countries. Despite its low budget, the festival is efficiently organized and friendly. It is spread out over Toulouse, and there are around fifteen screening venues – always crowded.
Since 2002, in collaboration with the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Cinélatino has organized, with the support of a pool of European film companies and entities, a parallel initiative called Film in Progress: a pitching competition for six or seven Latin American feature films, selected during the year. This initiative assists the completion, promotion and distribution of films which need support to finish their post-production. Over the years, many of these films have been selected and awarded at major festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and Locarno. In the past year, Cinélatino has also organized another platform, Cinema in Development, which presents a selection of twenty features, with an award given to one of them.
This year's festival program included a wide range of films: over 100 features and around 40 shorts. The feature competition presented twelve works from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Paraguay. Some of these had already premiered at other festivals, such as Berlin and Rotterdam. The majority focused on young people: the difficult search for identity experienced by teenagers and preadolescents in a storm of complex and dramatic situations. Siembra, the debut feature by Colombian directors Santiago Lozano Álvares and Ángela Osorio Rojas, won the main jury's award for best film. The award from the general public went to the Cuban film El Acompañante by Pavel Giroud. The documentary competition showed seven films from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia; in this section, the winner was Chile's El Legado, by Roberto Anjari Rossi. Other sections of the program showed a panorama of Latin American art films, as well as films screened at the major international festivals in 2014 and 2015. (Giovanni Ottone, edited by Lesley Chow)
Cinelatino - Toulouse Dating: www.cinelatino.com.fr