Chilean Cinema Makes Its Mark At Sundance

By international standards, the film industry in Chile is miniscule, releasing fewer than six theatrical feature films annually. However, this tiny industry was buoyed by news that the prestigious Sundance Film Festival had honored two of its newest entries. VIOLETA WENT TO HEAVEN, a biopic of local music sensation Violeta Parra, was chosen as the Grand Jury Prize winner in the highly competitive World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Saturday night’s closing awards ceremony. The film, directed by Andres Wood, shifts between time frames in the tumultuous life of the folksinger and pop cultural icon who has been described as a cross between a Chilean Bob Dylan and Edith Piaf. Another prize winner was YOUNG AND WILD, the wildly imaginative and transgressive dramedy by debut director Marialys Rivas. Rivas, and her co-writers Camila Gutierrez, Pedro Peirano and Sebastian Sepulveda, won the Best Screenplay Prize in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, for their story of a religious teenage girl restricted by the dogmas of her Evangelical family who indulges in her sexual fantasies via her internet blog. “I grew up under a dictatorship (of General August Pinochet) where we had very limited means of expression”, Rivas expressed at her awards acceptance speech, “so it is just so amazing to see how free we are now as filmmakers to take on all kinds of subjects. I share this with our small but very supportive Chilean filmmaker community.”

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