By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The eleventh edition of the Latin American Film Festival of São Paulo highlights the growing presence of women in regional film production and honors the São Paulo filmmaker Anna Muylaert. The festival opened yesterday (July 20th) and runs until July 27th, showing 118 films from thirteen countries the Memorial da América Latina in São Paulo.
Unprecedented in Brazil, the festival opened with a feature film by female director Muylaert, the 2016 drama “Mãe Só Há Uma” (Only One Mom). There will be 23 titles by the writer and director screened during the festival, including works from the beginning of her career, which are rarely shown in public.
Rio-based filmmaker Christina Daniels of Viva Filmes, who spent fifteen years in London before returning to Brazil, shared her thoughts on women in filmmaking. “Its still a male dominated industry, more so in Latin America than in other continents. […] we sorely need initiatives and events that provide initiative and support to female filmmakers across Latam,” Daniels said.
Besides the emphasis on women in filmmaking, the curator and creator of the festival, João Batista de Andrade, said that the purpose of the event is to open the door to new developments in the industry. “The festival has a number of new features: a very large presence of Mexican cinema – comedies and dramas from Mexico; has a very big show of Latin American contemporary cinema and has a special focus on women who are going behind the camera,” Mr. de Andrade told a government news agency.
The filmmaker believes that the festival, which began in 2006, paves the way for new talent. “It was very important that the festival did this, since 2006. I think it showed the young people that they have space. The [traditional] filmmakers are still important, but there must be new ideas, new generations [must] have a chance to expose a new vision,” de Andrade added.
The exhibition of classic films and directors are not out of the festival programming however. Curator de Andrade explained they are “always counter-balancing, always have a tribute and display of classic films, important films, but the festival is open to innovations and new ideas in film.”
The special programming “Golden Age Divas” of Mexican cinema shows actresses in productions of the 1940s. Films will be exhibited which include divas María Félix, Ninón Sevilla, Marga Lopez, Stella Inda and Dolores Del Rio.
The exhibition also includes a selection of noir films like the “Na Palma de Tua Mão” (Palm of Your Hand), “Irmãs Malditas” (Malditas Sisters), “Outro Amanhecer” (Another Dawn) and “A Riqueza do DiaboAnother” (The Wealth of the Devil).