Benjamin Avila’s debut feature scooped the top prize in the Iberoamerican competition at the 28th Guadalajara Film Festival (FICG).

Clandestine Childhood (Infancia Clandestina), a coming of age drama set during the Argentinian dictatorship of the 1970s, beat competition from 18 other titles.

The award came with a cash prize of $20,000 (€15,600) and the film also received the best actor award for Ernesto Alterio.

The film, which was Argentina’s entry for the foreign language Oscar, is sold by Pyramide International.

Jose Luis Valle’s Workers, an absurdist/critical take on Mexican immigrant workers in the US, won the Mezcal Prize for best Mexican film and a cash reward of $34,000 (€25,800).

The film, which premiered in Berlin’s Panorama section last month, is sold by MPM Film.

The Special Jury prize went to Brazilian environmental film Xingu, directed by Cao Hamburger, complete with an award of $10,000 (€7,800).

The best first film prize – $12,000 (€9,300) – went to Uruguayan-Mexican-Dutch co-pro Tanta Agua (So Much Water) by Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, which also premiered in Berlin’s Panorama section.

Best director – $12,000 (€9,300) – went to Argentinian Dario Nardi for his debut Las mariposas de Sadourni (The Sadourni Butterflies).

Best screenplay went to Spain’s Valenti Figueresfor the film El efecto K, El montador de Stalin (The K Effect, Stalin’s Editor), which he also directed

In total, more than $400,000 (€340,000) was handed out across the five competition sections and two industry strands - the 9th Iberomerican Coproduction Meeting and the 7th Guadalajara Construye-Films in Progress

In addition, the Fipresci prize went to Brazilian Marcelo Gomes’ Era uma vez eu, Veronica (Once Upon a Time was I, Veronica) with a special mention for late Chilean author Raul Ruiz’s last film, La noche de enfrente (Night Across the Street).

Iberoamerican Co-production Meeting

A total of 30 projects currently in development were pitched to international film executives.

The winning projects were:

El Sueno de Marakame (Marakame’s Dream) by Federico Ceccheti (Mexico-Italy), producer A. Fernandez, (Letra Cinema, Mexico). The award consists of services up to $122,000 (€93,750) offered by the Mexican Churubusco Studios.

Buenaventura Mon amour by Jose Luis Rugeles (Colombia-Mexico), producer Steven Grisales, Rhayuela Cine S.A. Colombia).  The award offers services in kind up to $28,000 (€21,850) by the Mexican LCI Insurance House.

Guadalajara Construye

The winning film in the post-production oriented strand was Chile’s El Cordero (The Lamb), the directorial debut of Juan Francisco Olea, produced by Cristobal Zapata of La Sante Films. The film garnered six awards worth $86,000 (€66,200).

Coming second with three awards and $40,000 (€31,200) was Mexican production Los banistas (Open Cage) from first-time director Max Zunino and producer Gloria Carasco of Cornamusa Peliculas Avestruz.

Third with three awards and $35,000 (€27,400) was Ecuadorian-Spanish co-pro Asier ETA Biok (Asier and Me) by debutants Amaia and Aitor Merino, produced by Gabriela Galvache of Cineatica Films.

The six films earmarked for Guadalajara Construye were selected from 70 submissions.

Troell tribute

The festival paid tribute to 81-year-old Swedish director Jan Troell who received the International Golden Mayahuel for a career that has included films such as The Emigrants and The New Land.

Troell headed a vast Scandinavian delegation that accompanied the homage paid this year to the Nordic film industries.

Film executives from Sweden, Denmark , Finland, Norway and Iceland attended the event, accompanied by directors such as Mika Kaurismaki and Baltasar Kormakur who gave masterclasses at the Guadalajara Talent Campus, now in its sixth year in collaboration with the Berlinale Talent Campus.

Nearly 50 Scandinavian productions formed the core of the homage including Joachim Ronning’s and Espen Sandberg’s Oscar nominated Kon-Tiki, which opened the festival.   

More tributes

Two further  tributes were handed out to Spanish star Angela Molina, who received the Iberoamerican Golden Mayahuel, and local venerated actor Ernesto Gomez Cruz, who was honoured with the Mexican Golden Mayahuel.

Molina stars in Blancanieves, which swept the Goyas and competed in the Iberoamerican section, winning best cinematography for Kiko de la Rica.

Director Pablo Berger was on hand to introduce the film accompanied by Fernando Trueba who presented his latest,  El artista y la modelo (The Artist and the Model) starring Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch and Claudia Cardinale.

Molina, Gomez Cruz, Berger and Trueba also gave masterclasses at the Talent Campus.      

The closing film at the awards gala on Saturday (March 9) was Quebec production Esimesac directed by Luc Picard.

The 2014 festival will run from March 21-29.