The Open Doors Projects Hub showcases eight projects from Latin America and Caribbean territories, each of which are looking for international partners.
Dir. Yashira Jordan
Prod cos: Empatia Cinema, Arbol Cine Organico
A powerful metaphor about the creation of diamonds, as told through the story of a Quechua teenager whose attempts to find her long-lost father lead her into a new community. “After stages of darkness, pain and deep pressure, we can transform, heal and shine into something lighter and free,” says Bolivian filmmaker Jordan, who directed the 2014 documentary Durazno. “Living in a patriarchal society makes you feel weak and useless if you don’t belong to their violent rules. I am making this film because I feel it necessary to talk about this — not only for me, but for silenced female voices in my country and Latin America.” Diamond is a co-production between two Bolivian companies, Jordan’s own, all-female Arbol Cine Organico and Empatia Cinema. “Because we lack public funds in our country, we are financing it locally with private agreements,” says Jordan.
Contact: Alvaro Olmos, producer
The Invisibles (Guat)
Dir. Andres Rodriguez
Prod co: La Danta Films
After his father’s death, 17-year-old Alejandro returns to his home in the Guatemalan highlands only to discover his mother has Aids, the same disease that took his father’s life. Shunned and without recourse in their community, Alejandro must either take his mother elsewhere or stay to defend her. “The underlying intention of the film is to talk about the distances that are created in families due to silence,” says Rodriguez, whose 2022 feature Roza will have its European premiere in Open Doors Screenings. The Invisibles won three awards at the 36th Guadalajara International Film Festival’s co-production forum, for filming equipment valued at $20,000 from FD Rental; $50,000 worth of post-production services from Mexico’s Churubusco Studios; and development advice from media production company Cinema 226.
Contact: Mauricio Escobar, producer
Kids Swimming In The Lake (Ven-Chile-Fr)
Dir. Michael Labarca
Prod co: Todos Los Rios
“I wish to capture how children cope with the idea that not everyone has the privilege of choosing,” says Labarca of his debut feature Kids Swimming In The Lake, an intimate and sensorial drama about the ravages of migration that will shoot in Venezuela and use non-professional actors. The project has received funding from René Osi of Ticket Shoot Films (France) and Florencia Rodriguez and Dominga Ortuzar of Oro Films (Chile), and recently secured project development funding from Venezuela’s Film Institute. A graduate of Venezuela’s University of Los Andes film school, Labarca won third prize at Cannes’ Cinéfondation for his 2016 short La Culpa, Probablemente and is looking for a second European co-producer at Open Doors.
Contact: Patricia Ramirez Arevalo, producer
Dir: Miguel Aguero
Prod cos Asociacion Cultural Arraigo, Cyan Productions
In remote Paraguay, a young boy tries to convince his grandmother to sell her home and emigrate to Argentina, but she is unwilling to leave her farm, her culture and the grave of her husband. “I was raised with my grandmother in a rural town, and it was very painful to leave, to separate from my grandmother when I migrated to the city,” says debut feature director Aguero, whose prize-winning shorts Kiriri, Kurusu Rebelde and Antolina were all made in Guarani, a Paraguayan dialect he was taught by his grandmother. Kokue’s producer is Cynthia Garcia Calvo (Medea), and the film is a co-production between Paraguay’s Asociacion Cultural Arraigo and Chile’s Cyan Prods. The project has obtained development money from Programa Ibermedia, an Ibero-American fund, and Paraguayan cultural fund Fondec.
Contact: Cynthia Garcia Calvo, producer
Men Die Sooner (Costa Rica-Uru)
Dir. Federico Montero
Prod co: La Linterna Films
Montero’s feature debut tells the story of an estranged son who returns to his horse-breeding family home in Costa Rica to “search for tenderness and care in a place where these things don’t exist, and to explore those places in which he’s been told he did not belong”, says the filmmaker. “My intention is to question how we’ve been taught to be men in the Central American culture.” A graduate of Veritas film school in Costa Rica, Montero has directed several shorts and works with Lintera Films in San José. Men Die Sooner has been awarded development funds from the National Film Center in Costa Rica, as well as from Programa Ibermedia.
Contact: Alexandra Latishev Salazar, producer
Dir. Marcel Beltran
Prod co: Mediocielo Films
Set against the backdrop of a nickel‑mining community, MOA sees a couple’s relationship tested when they find themselves on opposing sides of an environmental issue. “MOA is a film that reacts to the ecological disaster caused by man’s idea of progress, addressing the visible effects of this climatic and spiritual crisis,” says Beltran. A Cuban filmmaker now based in Brazil, Beltran’s second documentary feature Option Zero (La Opción Cero) had its world premiere in IDFA 2020’s Luminous selection, and played more than 20 festivals including this year’s Open Doors Screenings. It was awarded the best feature prize at MiradasDoc, best Ibero American documentary at Buenos Aires’ FIDBA, best documentary at Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival and best documentary feature at the 16th Cinémartinique Festival in France. For MOA, his first fiction feature, Beltran and Brazilian producer Paula Gastaud have raised initial capital from prizes won by Option Zero as well as a grant from Brazil’s Projeto Paradiso audiovisual initiative.
Contact: Paula Gastaud producer
Sopor And Bird (Ecuador-Arg-Sp)
Dir. Ana Cristina Barragan
Prod co: Boton Films
Barragan’s third feature centres on a group of adolescent victims of sex trafficking in Ecuador. “Sopor y Ave [Sopor And Bird] is the limbo space inhabited by a teenage victim as she returns home to her life, which has been paused,” says the Ecuadorian filmmaker. “We do not see the violence but we do see the wounds, the co‑existence in the foster home, the bodies of the other girls, the babies, the broken relationship with family and the delay in understanding.” Barragan and her producer Joe Houlberg have known each other since studying film at university in Quito, Ecuador, and have already managed to shoot around a third of Sopor And Bird with money raised from private investors, filming in a “guerrilla style” according to Barragan, whose debut feature Alba (2016) premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and received a special mention from the jury at San Sebastian. Beltran’s second short Violet Sunday played at Locarno in 2011 and she is in post on her sophomore feature La Piel Pulpo. Sopor And Bird’s co-producers are Bomba Cine in Argentina and Zine Eskola in Spain.
Contact: Joe Houlberg, producer
When Rain Falls (Dom Rep)
Dir. Yanillys Perez
Prod co: YPR Films
Perez’s debut narrative feature is a social drama about a young girl who parents her sisters while her single mother works, and is inspired by her own youth. “When Rain Falls explores what it means to have a stolen childhood, what it means to be a woman, and above all, what it means to be a single mother in a Latin American society where few possibilities exist for a single mother,” says Perez, whose documentary Jeffrey won the Discovery filmmaker award at Toronto International Film Festival in 2016. “I come from a family dominated by single, strong and independent women. I am the eldest of three females — as a child, I felt compelled to play a mother’s role for my sisters while my single mother worked in a mine to earn money and support us.” The project has received 30% of its funding via Dominican cinema incentive legislation that allows private companies to invest in films with a tax rebate.
Contact: Yanillys Perez, writer/director/producer