Three Bullets

Source: Locarno Film Festival / Ti-Press

From left: ‘Three Bullets’ director Génesis Valenzuela, visions sud est’s Madeline Robert, and ‘Three Bullets’ producer Wendy B. Espinal

The Dominican Republic director Génesis Valenzuela was the big winner at today’s (August 8) awards ceremony for Locarno’s talent development programme Open Doors.

The artist-filmmaker received three awards for her debut feature project Three Bullets (Tres Balas) described as “a visually enthralling journey intertwining colonial history, displacement and criminal investigation.”

The hybrid project employing narrative strategies from fiction, documentary and essay cinema investigates the murder of Dominican immigrant Lucrecia Pérez in Spain by four neo-Nazis in 1992. It is produced by Wendy B. Espinal.

Three Bullets won the CHF 20,000 Open Doors grant sponsored by the City of Bellinzona as well as the €6,000 Prix Arte Kino International for development, and the World Cinema Fund’s Audience Strategy Award.

The biggest single Open Doors Grant, with a cash prize of CHF 25,000 and sponsored by visions sud est, went to Nicaraguan filmmaker Gloria Carrión’s Pantasma, a hybrid documentary with animation about a 17-year-old boy who in 1986 is eager to join the war effort against the Contras in revolutionary Nicaragua.

A third Open Doors Grant worth CHF 5,000 was awarded to Bolivian director Leandro Grillo’s experimental drama Desidia to be produced by the young La Paz-based company Trisomia Cine.

France’s CNC Development Grant, worth €8,000, went to Venezuelan director-producer Carlos Zerpa for his animated project LOA. Kill Your Masters, while Salvadoran writer-director Leslie Ortiz’s debut feature Libertines received the Sørfond Award giving the project an opportunity to take part in the Norwegian pitching event this November including travel and accommodation.

Open Doors’ partner awards

In addition, several of Open Doors’ partners sponsored awards for participants across the programme’s three strands of the Projects’ Hub, Producers’ Lab and Directors’ Club.

Paraguayan producer Ivana Urizar of Asunción-based Cine Mío, who presented Juanjo Pereira’s documentary Bajo Las Banderas, El Sol at the Producers’ Lab, received the Rotterdam Lab Award enabling her to attend the next edition of the Rotterdam Lab.

Brazil’s BR Lab gave an award offering travel, accommodation and participation at this year’s BrLab project development programme in Sao Paulo in November to the Peruvian project Last of Kings by director Victor Checa and his producer Jimena Hospina of Pierrot Film, which already has Germany’s Black Forest Films and Mexico’s Calouma Films attached as co-producers.

The Organisation Internationale Francophonie (OIF) and Initiative Film’s Open Doors–OIF–ACP–EU Award providing a script consultancy lasting up to 18 months went to Jamaican director Gibrey Allen’s suspense drama Raised By Goats which will be produced by producer-director Nadean Rawlins’ Raw Management Agency.

The writing residency offered by the Open Doors - Moulin d’Andé-CECI Award - went to the Peruvian LGBTQI+ director-producer Carlos Ormeno Palma of La Fiebre Films for his debut feature El Olor De Las Paredes described as the self-identity journey of a 30-year-old photojournalist looking for his father who had abandoned him as a child.

The Open Doors – LEXIA Insights Award was presented to Costa Rica’s Paz Fábrega for her family drama Milky Way (Via Láctea) providing her and the film’s Uruguayan producer Federico Moreira with research tools and the methodologies to fine-tune the project’s pitch, script, dossier, mood board and teaser.

Speaking at the beginning of the awards ceremony, Rudi de Planta, head of culture and development at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that “Open Doors has evolved into an important and indispensable section of the Locarno festival and we are very proud to be partnering with Open Doors for such a long time and hopefully for many more years.”

“We are very pleased to see that Open Doors has invited so many young filmmakers, producers and film talents here to Locarno”, de Planta said. “It’s always a joy and pleasure to see and have discussions about the projects and see the films being screened. I’m always impressed by the emotions and feelings all of you express in your projects and films. Muchas gracias!”

This was the second year of Open Doors’ three-year cycle focused on the region of Latin America and the Caribbean, with eight projects in development selected for the Projects’ Hub, along with eight creative producers participating in the programme’s talent incubator, the Producers’ Lab, and the directors of films showing in the Open Doors Screenings as the Directors’ Club.