Chilean Docs Dazzle in Cannes Works in Progress Showcase (EXCLUSIVE)

·3-min read

Buoyed by the Oscar nomination for Maite Alberdi’s “The Mole Agent” last year, which was also shortlisted in the International Feature category, Chilean documentaries are attracting ever more attention worldwide. One of its leading lights, Patricio Guzman, will have the world premiere of his latest opus, “Mi País Imaginario” as a Cannes Festival special screening.

For the third time in a row, Chiledoc will be presenting a Chilean Docs in Progress showcase, scheduled for May 23 within the framework of Cannes Doc, which runs May 17 to 25.

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Spearheaded by Chiledoc director Paula Ossandón, the showcase comprises four films at editing stage. “They stand out for their surprising characters as well as sensitive and imaginative stories, some greatly infused with a good dose of humor,” she says.

Leading the pack is “Notes for a Film,” a Chilean-French co-production directed by Ignacio Agüero and produced by Tehani Staiger, Viviana Erpel, Amalric de Pontcharra and Elisa Sepúlveda.

In “Notes…,” Agüero traces the sweeping transformation of the newly acquired territory of Araucanía at the end of the 19th century, through the viewpoint of a young Belgian engineer, Gustave Verniory. Based on Verniory’s memoir “10 years in Araucania 1889-1899,” the docu “draws a parallel between the present and the past, slipping between the human landscape and the geographical landscape, to reveal the deep essence of the Araucanian territory,” the synopsis goes. It won an Asterisk Marketing Award at 2020’s Visions du Réel.

The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine - Credit: Courtesy of Chiledoc
The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine - Credit: Courtesy of Chiledoc

Courtesy of Chiledoc

“The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine,” directed by Alfredo Pourailly who produced it along with Juntos Films’ Francisco Hervé, portrays Toto, the last gold miner of his kind in remote Tierra del Fuego who is 62 and whose body is ailing. It doesn’t help that he likes heaping eight teaspoons of sugar into his demitasse cup of coffee as he jokes about the onset of diabetes. His son Jorge designs a machine that should ease the back-breaking work.

This contrasts with a more somber “Malqueridas” (meaning unloved) by Tana Gilbert and produced by Paola Castillo, which narrates the experience of motherhood lived by women in prison, shot clandestinely with forbidden cell phones. The project was selected to participate in the Visions du Réel Pitch last year, winning the opportunity to participate in the German DOK Leipzig festival and its market, DOK Co-Pro Market 2021.

Amanda Rutllant|’s “Asteroid 2518,” which she produced with Constanza Luzoro, turns our gaze skywards to the asteroid that bears her family name. Her journey of discovery leads her to delve into the life and career of her great grandfather, a controversial astrophysicist who tried to build the largest telescope in Chile’s southern hemisphere during the Cold War. As she unearths his dark side, she will challenge his legacy and also lose all sense of self as an autoimmune disease begins to invade her body.

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