By Isabel Cocker / The Santiago Times Staff
SANTIAGO – The 13th Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC 13) opened last night with screening of the Argentine film, La Cordillera, speeches by the organizers and the Chilean Minister for Culture, and a well-attended soiree which gathered together actors, directors, producers and investors from across the world.
The event, which took place in the CorpArtes building in Las Condes, was an occasion to celebrate the festival as a cultural, artistic and educational platform. Since the initial festival in 2005, the annual event has continued to provide access to some of the world’s greatest films to Chilean citizens, and opened doors for up-and-coming Chilean artists to display their own work.
In a speech before the screening, Francisca Florenzano, the Executive Director of CorpArtes, thanked Storyboard Media and CorpArtes for their backing of the project. She highlighted the festival’s importance, saying that SANFIC offers support and friendship to the country, by sharing the culture of Chile with Chileans.
“Through this platform, we can attract new audiences to Chilean cinema, whoever they may be, and wherever they may come from across the country.”
SANFIC 13 is an eight-day film festival which features over 100 films from 25 different countries. The program has been curated to cater for all audiences and ages, with a range of genres from light comedy to dark political thriller. The festival also aims to highlight different cinematographic styles, and features several shorts produced by young Chileans.
The Artistic Director of SANFIC, Carlos Nuñez, underlined the importance of including younger, less established artists in the program: “In Chile, we have many talented directors who are only now making their first films. Through SANFIC, we can celebrate and promote this new talent so that it can continue to develop.”
This opening screening, however, was a feature-length political thriller by Santiago Mitre, the well-established Argentine director. La Cordillera, which has yet to open officially in Chile, was premiered in Cannes in Mayas The Summit and opened to mixed reviews due to its ambiguity and lack of a concrete genre.
Nevertheless, here in Santiago de Chile it was received well by the audience, who enjoyed the sleek camerawork, the atmospheric score and, of course, the talented performances by actors including Ricardo Darín and Dolores Fonzi.
Mitre, Fonzi and co-star Érica Rives attended the opening, saying a few words of thanks before the screening. After the end of the film, they mingled with crowd of Chilean and international cinematographers who had gathered to toast the opening of the festival.
The festival is supported by the Chilean Ministry of Culture and the Arts, which has been instrumental in raising the international profile of the event. Ernesto Ottone, the Minister for Culture, spoke before the screening about his view of the aims of the festival.
He underlined that the aim was not only to improve international circulation of Chilean films, but also to bring a new national audience to the country’s cinematographic industry.
Ottone wants to let Chile, and Chilean cinema, be known in the world. Speaking to him later in the evening, he said: “Historically, Chile has always had a strong presence in the films of other countries, for example in Europe and Mexico. Now, however, we are working to retain our talent here in Chile.”
The festival that kicked off on Monday will continue till August 27.