San Sebastian reveals Horizontes Latinos line-up

Sebastián Lelio, Michel Franco and Adrián Biniez in competition

by Amber Wilkinson

A Fantastic Woman
A Fantastic Woman
San Sebastian has announced the 12 films that will compete for the Horizontes Latinos prize at this year's festival, including the latest from Sebastián Lelio, Michel Franco and Adrián Biniez.

The films in this section have been produced partially or totally in Latin America and directed by filmmakers of Latin American origin or which have Latino communities as their subject matter.

Among the familiar names in competition is Lelio, Sebastián Lelio, whose first film, La Sagrada Familia, competed in Horizontes Latinos in 2005 and whose fourth, Gloria, won the Films in Progress Award in San Sebastian in 2012. His latest film, A Fantastic Woman (Una mujer fantástica), Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlinale, will open the section.

Biniez - who took home the Horizontes award in 2009 for his debut Gigante - also returns to the festival with The Waves (Las Olas), his third feature. Michel Franco, who received a special mention for his Un Certain Regard-winning After Lucia, brings April's Daughter (Las Hijas de Abril), which won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize in Cannes this year.

Half of the films in the selection are from first or second-time filmmakers, including the debut by Santiago Esteves, Rey's Education (La educación del Rey), which follows an unexpected friendship that develops between a young criminal and a retired security guard.

Rey's Education
Rey's Education
All 12 features compete for the Horizontes Award and a £31,000 prize. The six first and second films in the selection (La educación de Rey, La familia, Medea, Arábia, La novia del desierto and Temporada de caza) are also contenders for the EROSKI Youth Award.

The full list of films is below (descriptions provided by the festival):

A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica) Sebastián Lelio (Chile- Germany - Spain - USA)
Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Paulina García, Néstor Cantillana, Alonso Torres, Cristián Chaparro, Senén Arancibia
OPENING FILM (IN COMPETITION) Marina is a young waitress and wannabe singer; Orlando owns a printing company. Together they plan their future. When Orlando dies suddenly, Marina has to stand up to his family and society to show them what she truly is: a complex, strong, forthright and... fantastic woman.

To The Desert (Al Desierto) Ulises Rosell (Argentina - Chile)
Cast: Valentina Bassi, Jorge Sesán, José María Marcos, Germán De Silva, Gastón Salgado Driven by the insecurity of her working situation, Julia, an employee at the Comodoro Rivadavia (Argentina) casino, gives in to the temptations of Gwynfor, a laconic man of Welsh descent, who promises her an administrative job with the oil company he works for. By the time she realises her mistake they are already well into the desert as they set out on an arduous hike across the Patagonia plain. Hunting, sheltering in caves and abandoned buildings, with no way out in the middle of infinite distances, the difficult coexistence will change as the days pass. In a pickup truck, on horseback, guided by trackers, superintendent Hermes Prieto is hot on their heels, convinced of finding some kind of trace in the midst of the desert.

Arábia/Araby Affonso Uchôa, João Dumans (Brazil)
Cast: Aristides de Sousa, Murilo Caliari, Glaucia Vandeveld, Renato Novaes, Adriano Araújo, Renan Rovida, Wederson Neguinho, Renata Cabral
Young André lives in an industrial neighbourhood in Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, near an old aluminium factory. Once a week, his aunt Márcia, a voluntary nurse at the community hospital, visits himself and his younger brother to help them with the household chores while their mother is away. One day, one of the factory workers, Cristiano, a foreigner with a stormy background in the neighbourhood, suffers an accident at the factory. Márcia gives him first aid right in front of the factory, and asks André to go to Cristiano's house to get his documents and some clothes. Entering the house, André comes across a mysterious notebook...

Cocote Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias (Dominican Republic - Argentina - Germany - Qatar)
Cast: Vicente Santos, Judith Rodríguez, Yuberbi de la Rosa, Pedro Sierra, Isabel Spencer, José Miguel Fernander
Alberto, an evangelical gardener, returns to his hometown for the funeral of his father, murdered by an influential man. To mourn the dead man, he is forced to participate in religious celebrations that go against both his will and his beliefs.

Rey's Education (La Educación Del Rey) Santiago Esteves (Argentina - Spain)
Cast: Germán De Silva, Matías Encinas, Jorge Prado, Mario Jara, Martín Arrojo, Elena Schnell, Marcelo Lacerna, Esteban Lamothe
Bolting from his first ever heist, Reynaldo Galíndez, alias 'Rey', ends up at a house inhabited by Carlos Vargas, a retired security guard. Vargas offers a deal: the young boy will repair the damage to his home in return for not being handed over to the police. The lessons given to the teenager by the former guard develop into a relationship not unlike the old legends of educating a king (for the “Rey” of his name, meaning “king”). But the agreement starts to fall apart.

La Familia Gustavo Rondón Córdova (Venezuela - Chile - Norway) Cast: Giovanny Garcia, Reggie Reyes
Twelve-year-old Pedro roams the streets with his friends in the violent urban atmosphere of a working-class district of Caracas. When Pedro seriously injures another boy in a fight, his single father, Andrés, decides that they must make a run for it and hide. Although Andrés will realise that as a father he is incapable of controlling his son, the situation will bring them closer than they have ever been.

The Desert Bride (La Novia Del Desierto) Cecilia Atán, Valeria Pivato (Argentina - Chile)
Cast: Paulina García, Claudio Rissi
Teresa, 54, has worked for decades as a live-in maid in Buenos Aires. When the family sells the house, she is forced to take a job in a distant town. Though not particularly comfortable with the idea, she embarks on a journey through the desert. During her first stop in the land of the miracle-producing 'Difunta Correa' saint, she loses her bag with all her belongings. This incident leads her to cross paths with a travelling salesman, the only person who can help her. What seemed like the end of her world may prove to be her salvation.

April's Daughter
April's Daughter
April's Daughter (Las Hijas De Abril) Michel Franco (Mexico)
Cast: Emma Suárez, Ana Valeria Becerril, Hernán Mendoza, Joanna Larequi, Enrique Arrizon, Iván Cortés, Giovanna Zacarías, José Ángel García, Tony Dalton
Valeria is 17 and pregnant. She lives in Puerto Vallarta with her step-sister Clara. Valeria doesn’t want April - the mother they haven’t seen for some time - to find out about her pregnancy. However Clara, compelled by financial difficulties and the responsibilities of having a baby in the house, decides to call her. April arrives with the intention of helping her daughters, but we soon understand why Valeria would have preferred her to stay away.

The Waves (Las Olas) Adrián Biniez (Uruguay - Argentina)
Cast: Alfonso Tort, Julieta Zylberberg, Fabiana Charlo, Victoria Jorge, Ilana Hojman
Alfonso leaves work and heads for the beach. He dives into the sea and starts swimming. He surfaces on a beach where he and his family had been on holiday five years earlier. This is the start of a fantastic voyage through the different holidays and resorts he has visited during his lifetime: as a boy with his parents, on a mysterious island with his ex-wife, as a teenager with his friends, with Malaysian pirates and when camping in the same place with two different girlfriends in two consecutive years.

The Dogs (Los Perros) Marcela Said (Chile - France)
Cast: Antonia Zegers, Alfredo Castro, Rafael Spregelburd, Alejandro Sieveking
Mariana, 42, belongs to the Chilean upper class; she spends her days managing an art gallery and learning how to ride a horse. Her riding instructor, Juan, 20 years her senior, is an ex-cavalry officer known as El Coronel, under investigation for human rights abuses committed during the Chilean dictatorship. When Mariana embarks on a romance with her mysterious teacher, she finds herself caught up in a complex situation from which she is loathe to escape on discovering her father’s close relationship with the man being investigated.

Medea Alexandra Latishev (Costa Rica - Argentina - Chile)
Cast: Liliana Biamonte, Javier Montenegro, Eric Calderón
María José's life swings back and forth between the monotony of classes at the university, her eternally distant parents, rugby training and dares with her gay friend. Emotionally disconnected from her environment, when she meets Javier she tries to start a relationship with him. But none of her efforts to live a 'normal' life succeed. She harbours a secret that nobody notices: she's pregnant.

Hunting Season (Temporada De Caza) Natalia Garagiola (Argentina)
Cast: Lautaro Bettoni, Germán Palacios, Boy Olmi, Rita Pauls
Nahuel is a violent teenager. After his mother dies, he travels to Patagonia in southern Argentina, where he encounters his biological father, who he hasn't seen for more than a decade. Ernesto is a respected hunting guide who lives in the mountains with his second wife and daughters. The reunion is not an easy one, pride and resentment prevail in both father and son. They stubbornly resist any possible contact with one another. However, as the weeks go by things begin to change.

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