Filmmakers from Chile, Dominican Republic/Mexico and Guatemala were the recipients of the awards presented on Wednesday at the end of the Open Doors Factory organised by the Locarno International Film Festival with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
Two grants for development and production worth $46,000 (CHF 50,000) each, which were provided by SDC and allocated jointly by the festival and the Visions Sud Est fund went to:
- By The Fire (Sentados Frente Al Fuego) (Chile) by Alejandro Fernandez Almendras, produced by El Remanso Cine/La Reina
- Jean Gentil (Dominican Republic/Mexico) by Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas Ramirez, produced by Canana Films/Mexico and Aurora Films/Santo Domingo
In addition, a development grant worth $10,400 (Euros 7,000) was awarded by France's CNC, as part of its partnership with Locarno, to
- Faith (Fe) (Guatemala) by Alejo Crisostomo, produced by Ceibita Films/Jocotenango and Casa Comal/Guatemala City.
Devoted to Latin American cinema, this year's edition of Open Doors had seen 12 projects being selected from 332 submissions and presented to 85 potential co-producers including Germany's ZDF/Arte, Pandora Filmproduktion, Mogador film, and NiKo Film, the UK's Capers-MatCine, the Netherlands' Revolver, and France's Cine/Sud Promotion.
Approximately 550 meetings were organised during the four days of the Open Doors Factory with some projects having more than 50 individual one-to-one meetings with potential partners.
Speaking to ScreenDaily.com, award-winner Alejo Crisostomo said that being invited to Open Doors had been 'a huge step' for his feature debut Faith, budgeted at around $470,000, which is scheduled to shoot in the middle of next year in Guatemala City and in Rio Dulce on the country's east coast.
'We have learned a lot in these meetings,' says Crisostomo who had 58 one-to-one meetings arranged in Locarno for him and co-producer Elias Jimenez. 'The people seemed to like the pitch we did on the first day and there was a lot of interest in the project.'
Sales agent Ida Martins of Media Luna Entertainment, who had in the Open Doors Screenings, pointed out that she had been 'very impressed by the high level of the projects' quality. I have been to Open Doors before and I think this is the most successful one so far. There was such a diversity in the projects and they came from all over Latin America.'
Berlin-based world sales agent Wigbert Moschall of mdc international agreed that, for him, 'Open Doors 08 was very productive and I really have the impression that this year's edition will also be very effective. I think there will be a good vintage from this year.'
In addition, the Open Doors Screenings of 30 important films made in Latin America in recent years were very well attended by festival-goers.
Meanwhile, the organisers confirmed to ScreenDaily.com that the 2009 edition of Open Doors will dedicated to projects by filmmakers from China.