Awards season is always an exciting time for film fans, entertainment publications, gossip writers, celebrity watchers, and any number of professional and lifestyle niches. But for your average José, it might just seem like list after list of the same names and titles with minimal variation from one statuette to the next. But beyond all the red carpets, press conferences, and awards forecasts, most of these ceremonies are at there core an effort to recognize great achievements in cinematic art and, perhaps more importantly, celebrate the art form itself.
New York’s Cinema Tropical Awards came about six years ago with this very idea: that Latin American cinema also deserved an event that celebrated its vitality and diversity by recognizing each year’s most outstanding achievements. By now, the unpretentious undertaking is the longest-running awards ceremony for Latin American cinema in the world, and finds itself accompanied by other upstart projects doing similarly important work, like Mexico’s Premios Fénix.
This time around, as the jury sat down to make their selections, it was clear 2015 was a special year for Latin American film. With big showings for the region at Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Rotterdam, it was only logical that features like Colombia’s El abrazo de la serpiente or Chile’s El Club would show up on the lists at name brand awards shows like The Golden Globes and The Academy Awards. But these honors still only show a small slice of the incredible work that came out of Nuestra Ámerica over this last year. Notably, countries like Guatemala and Paraguay made powerful cinematic statements despite their young and largely inactive film industries, while ‘up-and-comers’ like Colombia and Venezuela officially up-and-came with not one, but several productions picking up top prizes at the world’s most elite festivals.
Here’s the rundown of the big winners announced at last night’s Cinema Tropical Awards ceremony, held at the New York Times headquarters in Manhattan.