Next On The Remezcla Film Festival World Tour: Buenos Aires

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You might have noticed that we’ve expanded our film content. We have some exciting changes coming in the next few weeks including a brand new dedicated film section. We’ll be posting interviews with Latino filmmakers, reviews, movie news, and coverage from all the big film festivals. Here we present to you, Nick MacWilliam, Remezcla’s eyes and ears at the forthcoming Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente.

As if its setting in one of the world’s liveliest and most alluring cities wasn’t enough, the sheer scale of the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI) sets it apart from many of its competitors. Now in its sixteenth year, the festival features over 400 films from around the world, including works from many leading auteurs of arthouse and world cinema, as well as some of its brightest emerging talent. With over a quarter of a million tickets on general sale, there are few festivals anywhere which can compete on this level.

The extensive program at BAFICI 2014, which runs from April 2 – 13, offers something for film fans of all persuasions. There are competitions for the best international film, the best Argentinean film, the best short film and the best avant-garde film. Located at different points of the cinematic spectrum, there is a kids section and a late-night horror section, while traditionalists will be pleased with the restored classics section. Meanwhile, with the small matter of a World Cup in neighboring Brazil just around the corner, a sporting section will showcase several recent sports films and documentaries. Renowned filmmakers from Argentina (Carlos Schlieper), Brazil (Cao Guimarães), Israel (Uri Zohar), Switzerland (Jean-Stéphane Bron), Portugal (Rita Azevedo Gomes) and the USA (Robert Fenz and Frank Henenlotter), whose work crosses genres as diverse as romance, surrealism and gore, will be the subject of retrospective looks at world cinema.

Films of particular interest in the international competition include La Salada, directed by Juan Martín Hsu, an examination of Argentinean multiculturalism as several immigrant groups build a community around the resort of the title; Ecuadorean documentary Carlitos, from José Antonio Guayasamín, about a young sausage factory worker whose life struggles drive the narrative of this sympathetic character study; and the curiously-titled Naomi Campbel (sic): No Es Facil Convertirse en Otra Persona (Naomi Campbel: It’s Not Easy to Become a Different Person), Chilean director Nicolás Videla’s tale of transsexual Yermén and her encounter with a young woman who seeks surgery in order to appear identical to Naomi Campbell.

A wide range of talent and themes will be on show in the national competition. Among these, David Rubio’s 13 Puertas (13 Doors) addresses philosophical musings amid the tension of a maximum-security prison in Buenos Aires, while Atlántida, directed by Inés María Barrionuevo, is the story of two sisters and the tribulations, fears and uncontrollable urges of small-town adolescence. The avant-garde section also offers up some intriguing films, such as Argentinean docu-dance experience Living Stars, which features normal people dancing to famous pop songs in everyday environments, and Brazilian film São Silvestre, named after the annual December 31st race in Sao Paolo that director Lina Chamie uses to paint an abstract portrait of the metropolis.

In the finest Argentinean spirit, festival organizers are keen to promote BAFICI as an extended party, a carnival for film disciples and casual watchers alike, and an opportunity to absorb the cultural charms of the capital. It is not only onscreen that BAFICI unfurls: the festival’s inclusive nature sees numerous workshops, seminars, free events and gigs taking place around the city, all open to public participation and designed to further enhance the sense that BAFICI is an event to be enjoyed by one and all.

I shall be reporting for Remezcla from the midst of this cinematic orgy, while at the same time trying not to overeat at the city’s famous parillada restaurants or humiliate myself on the tango floor. Stay tuned for regular updates throughout the festival, as I bring you the highlights, details on the best and worst films, interviews with key players, and tell you whether Buenos Aires doormen prefer to use their hands or their feet to eject you from parties. This is going to be fun.