More than 300 films from 93 countries, from full-length features to short films, are included in this year’s line-up of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, which is running November 17 through 26 in the popular coastal city.
The festival’s line-up was announced this week at a conference led by the Minister of Culture Pablo Avelluto, Argentine Film Board (INCAA) President Ralph Haiek, the festival’s president, veteran filmmaker José Martínez Suárez, and Artistic Director Peter Scarlet, who took their turns to highlight this edition’s main treats. The only A-class festival in Latin America, Mar del Plata has six official categories: the international competition, the Latin American competition (features and short films), the Argentine competition (features and short films) and Work-in-Progress.
For this year’s edition, the festival’s programmers focused on “hot topics in the world today, such as the refugee crisis, global warming, work-related issues, homeless people, and traditions fading away,” Scarlet said.
The festival kicks off with Madame Hyde, by French filmmaker, critic and actor Serge Bozon, who will attend the film’s screening in Mar del Plata. The closing ceremony features a tribute to Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla by the Piazzolla Quintet and a preview of a documentary about the Mar del Plata-born musician, a work-in-progress by Daniel Rosenfeld.
Director and writer Kenneth Lonergan, of Manchester by the Sea and Gangs of New York fame, will chair the International Competition Jury and will also present his 2011 film Margaret in the special screenings sidebar.
Also sitting on the International Jury are film producer Amedeo Pagani, actress Érica Rivas, film critic Boyd van Hoeij, and Edouard Waintrop, the artistic director of Cannes’ Directors Fortnight sidebar.
Mar del Plata won’t lack a touch of guest glamour this year, as award-winning English actress Vanessa Redgrave will grace the festival’s red carpet and meet movie buffs during the screening of her film début Sea Sorrow and a restored print of Michelangelo Antonioni’s masterpiece Blow-Up, in addition to conducting one of the festival’s traditional talks, entitled “Charlas con Maestros.” Cannes’ delegate general Thierry Frémaux, a long-time friend of Argentine film and filmmakers, is also included in this year’s line-up, with a special screening of his film Lumière.
Frémaux, who heads the Lyonbased Institut Lumière, has worked extensively in recent years restoring the works by the Lumière brothers, inventors of the cinématographe and the fathers of cinema.
South Korea will be the guest country, with many films and visitors. The festival will also feature a focus on the 100th year anniversary of the Russian Revolution, including a reconstructed restoration of October (1928), by Sergei Eisenstein and Grigori Aleksandrov.