Jorge Ali Triana's Bolivar That's Me (Bolivar Soy Yo) won the Golden Ombu award for best film and the best Iberoamerican film prize at the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, Latin America's leading film event, on Saturday 16 March.
The 59-year-old Colombian director's use of magical realism flew in the face of a trend towards social realism exhibited in many of the festival's other Latin American films, especially those made by younger film-makers. Magic realist novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez served as scriptwriter on two of Triana's previous films, including Oedipus Mayor, which screened in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes in 1996 and in the World Cinema section at Sundance in 1997.
Other winners at Mar del Plata, the only competitive, non-specialised international film festival in Latin America to be accredited by producers' association FIAPF, included screenwriter Caryl Phillips for The Mystic Masseur and director Istvan Szabo for Taking Sides.
The Cat's Meow's Kirsten Dunst was named best actress while the best acting prize was shared by Stellan Skarsgaard for Taking Sides and Libero de Rienzo for Santa Maradona. A special jury prize was awarded to Luis Ortega's Black Box (Caja Negra). Special mentions went to Jeanine Meerapfel's Anna's Summer and Tim McCann's Revolution #9 and the Fipresci prize went to Marco Ponti's Santa Maradona.
Despite a cut in its budget from $2m to less than $500,000, the festival managed to maintain its full screening programme, although some films had to be rescheduled due to the late arrival of prints.
International guests included directors Bertrand Tavernier (Laissez Passer), Claude Lanzmann (Sobibor) and Mathieu Amalric (Le Stade Du Wimbledon). Producers in town included Kim Aubry (Apocalypse Now Redux) and Yves Pasquier (Taking Sides). Roger Corman, Kenneth Anger and Claire Bloom received life-time achievement awards.