56th Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias (FICCI)
Colombia, March 2 - March 7 2016
The oldest film festival in Latin America, the FICCI (Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia), celebrated during its 56th incarnation the nomination of Embrace of the Serpent (El Abrazo de la Serpiente) for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards.
Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, attended the FICCI 2016 opening ceremony and, in a welcoming speech, praised this recognition from the Academy. He also noted the increasing film production in his country driven by the new Cinema Law, which he has supported.
FICCI 2016, which focused on Iberoamerican and Colombian cinema, showcased 154 films from 39 countries in six competitive sections: the Official Dramatic Competition (10 films), the Official Documentary Competition (10 films), the Official Colombian Cinema Competition (10 films), the Official Short Film Competition (20 films), the New Talents Section (14 films produced by college students), and the Gemas Section (11 films premiering in Colombia which had won awards at international film festivals).
Additionally, FICCI 2016 showed short films from the California Institute of the Arts in the USA, various Midnight screenings, Gaspar Noé and Sharunas Bartas retrospectives, and tributes to the Philippine filmmaker Brillante Mendoza, and to veteran Caleño film director Luis Ospinone, a founder of the Colombian film movement known as “Caliwood.” Also, there was a gala tribute to the American actress and Oscar winner, Susan Sarandon, who spoke at a screening of her cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The official jury, comprised of the Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco, the British producer Mike Downey, and the Argentinian actress Ailín Salas, named the Brazilian movie Neon Bull (Boi Neon) as Best Picture. The Best Director Award went to Spain’s José Luis Guerín, for the intellectual comedy feature, The Academy of the Muses (La Academia de las Musas).
Other awards went to The Wind Knows I’m Coming Back Home (El Viento Sabe que Vuelvo a Casa) for Best Documentary, Wounded Night (Noche Herida) for Best Colombian Picture, Impression of a War (La Impresión de una Guerra)for Best Short Film and, finally, the Gema Award was given to Chronic.
The FIPRESCI jury, composed of the American film critic Gerald Peary, the French critic, Barbara Lorey de la Charrière, and the Mexican critic, Ernesto DiezMartínez, awarded its prize to the Chilean film Much Ado About Nothing (Aquí No Ha Pasado Nada). This movie, directed by Alejandro Fernández Almendras, is loosely based on a notorious recent criminal case in Chile. The film implies that Chile’s justice system and, in fact, its whole society, have not changed much for the better, several decades after the death of Pinochet and the rise of democracy. (Ernesto Diezmartínez, edited by Gerald Peary)
Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias (FICCI):