Movies from across Latin America will be screened in a stunning colonial setting, alongside iconic photographs, orchestral music and a homage to Isabella Rossellini, during next week’s 52nd International Film Festival of Cartagena.
Latin America’s oldest cinema event, on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, will also showcase homegrown talent in a new section, “100% Colombia.”
Festival artistic director Monika Wagenburg said the key word of this year’s festival was “infrastructure,” concerning not just the physical parts of the festival, but the formation of the film competition. The city’s historic quarter would be the physical heart of the festival, she said, and the city’s convention center had been completely renovated with a new screen and 35mm projectors and a new sound system. The Festival’s documentary competition will be the best one yet, screened mainly in a state-of-the-art digital room in the Palace of the Inquisition.
Finally, to “maximise the glorious and incomparable scenery of the city,” four films would be shown as massive projections big enough for an audience of 8,000 people in the Movies Under the Stars section.
Festival organizers also plan to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of the San Sebastian Film Festival, one of the cinema world’s most important events, by showing every film that has won the Golden Shell, the festival’s top prize, over the last decade.
The festival will open with Colombian film Choco, which appeared at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this month, directed by Jhonny Hendrix Hinestroza, who Colombia Reports interviewed earlier this week. It forms part of the official fiction competition alongside the year’s best Latin American movies — from Chile, Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Brazil. Some Spanish movies also feature in the line-up. Most will have English subtitles.
The documentary section is particularly strong this year, featuring, among others, the story of a beauty pageant at a women’s prison in Medellin, narrated by the inmates themselves; the story of a mother’s roadtrip across Chile with her daughter to find long-lost relatives, which won best Chilean film at the Santiago Documentary Film Festival, and Rivers of Men, a Mexican film documenting the 2001 water privatization wars in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
But this year is not just about film. To this end organizers are creating a space entitled “The seventh art and three others,” which they plan to use to create a dialogue between the arts.
On top of that festival-goers will be treated to four events and exhibits that celebrate the connection between cinema and other arts.
Cartagena Film with the National Symphony of Colombia, will feature iconic images from famous movies, backed by the National Symphony’s interpretation of famous movie tunes.
Brazilian/Argentinian director Hector Babenco, will host a night to talk about literature and cinema as a journey, while Colombian photographer Max Steven Grossman will display a photo exhibit on waves – an integral part of coastal Cartagena.
Wagenberg said, “Our vision is to create FICCI as a celebration of cinema that can be enjoyed by all. This year’s festival is unmissable: combining a first-rate program, the best possible theater conditions, the opportunity to meet and talk with the directors of most of the films, and several high-profile film personalities.
“In celebration of our vision, this year we open the doors of our theaters in the old city so that everyone, without charge, can take advantage of this unprecedented cinematic event. This year, most of FICCI will be free.”
The festival runs from February 23 to 29 this year. For more information, tickets and a full schedule, visit the official festival site.