Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza’s film has been selected for the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes.

When the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival (Bafici) closed its doors on Sunday night, breaking the attendance record of its 12-year history once again, one feature was on the tip of everyone’s tongue from the previous 12 days - Iván Fund and Santiago Loza’s The Lips (Los labios).

The neo-realistic film, which finished post-production two days before Bafici opened, has been championed by visiting programmers and it was selected last Thursday for the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes.

It therefore came as little surprise when The Lips picked up the most Bafici awards on Saturday. Fund and Loza not only took home Best Director in the Official Argentina Selection but were also given the FEISAL prize, awarded to the director of a narrative feature film aged under 35, as well as the film journalists’ association prize.

However, Gonzalo Castro’s Winter Garden (Invernadero) took home Best Film in that category, while the same prize in the International Official Selection went to Mexico’s Pedro González-Rubio for To The Sea (Alamar) with Corneliu Poromboiu (Rumania) picking up Best Director for Police, Adjective.

Sergio Wolf, artistic director of Bafici, said of the Cannes selection of The Lips: “It’s good news. It’s very important for the festival because there is a common idea among producers that if they show their films at Bafici that they can’t be part of Cannes.”

Although it is too early for Rotterdam, Miami and Sundance to be programming for 2011, their representatives were busy. Gerwin Tamsma, programmer for the International Film Festival Rotterdam, said: “I’ve mostly met people who had projects in Buenos Aires Lab (BAL) such as Gaston Solnicki and Daniel Rosenfeld who have works in progress in the Argentina Selection [La noche transfigurada and Mieczyslaw respectively]. I’ve seen quite a few films and some of them are definite possibilities for next year’s festival. Still, it’s a bit early to make decisions, and certainly too early to disclose them.”

Sandro Fiorin, vice-president of FiGa Films which distributes Latin American films to the rest of the world, sealed a deal with Hermes Paralluelo, director of the Yatasto, also in the same BAL category, which was awarded the Lahaye prize comprising 20 days of editing.

And Alesia Weston, associate director of the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, said of her overall experience: “It’s about the filmmakers and the work and the fact it is very real is what I love about Bafici.”

More than 280,000 people watched 422 films from 48 countries at 1,115 functions, and including outdoor screenings, concerts, round tables and book presentations numbers are up 10% on last year’s total festival attendance. By contrast the 24th Mar del Plata festival screened almost half that number of films, 200, in November 2009 over eight days.

Looking ahead to the 13th Bafici, Wolf said: “It’s too early to confirm next year’s date yet,” adding jokingly, “this is Argentina, you know.”


International Official Selection

- Best film: Alamar by Pedro González-Rubio (Mexico)

- Best Director: Corneliu Porumboiu for Police, Adjective (Romania)

- Jury’s Special Award: La bocca del lupo by Pietro Marcello (Italy)

- Best Argentine Film Distinction: Lo que más quiero by Delfina Castagnino

- Best Actor: Dragos Bucur for Police, Adjective (Romania)

- Best Actress: shared by Pilar Gamboa and María Villar for Lo que más quiero (Argentina)

Argentine Official Selection

- Best Film: Invernadero by Gonzalo Castro

- Best Director: Iván Fund and Santiago Loza for Los labios

- Jury’s Special Award: Somos nosotros by Mariano Blanco

- Best Photography Distinction: Las pistas – Lanhoyij- Nmitaxanaxac, by Sebastián Lingiardi