Sunday, January 28, 2007

CINE LATINO—Sundance Film Festival Winners

Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks report at indieWIRE: "A pair of Latin American stories won the top prizes at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival …. Christopher Zalla's Padre Nuestro [Our Father], a Spanish-language immigrant drama set in New York City was awarded the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, and Jason Kohn's Manda Bala, a profile of lives in Brazil, won the Documentary Grand Jury Prize (along with the cinematography prize), capping the 2007 Sundance Film Festival." (Via Dave Hudson at The Greencine Daily.)

Hernandez synopsizes: "Zalla's first feature, Padre Nuestro, centers on immigrants Juan and Pedro who meet en route to New York where Pedro hopes to meet his successful father. Juan, fleeing a criminal past, steals Pedro's belongings and later introduces himself to Pedro's father as his son, hoping to cash in on the father's supposed wealth. As Zalla explained in a recent interview with indieWIRE, he 'wanted the audience to feel like the movie could really go in any direction at any moment.'

" 'This is a movie (with) a ticking clock storyline,' said Padre Nuestro director Christopher Zalla, accepting his dramatic grand jury prize, 'But at the heart, it's about finding family and seeking connections.' And he added, 'This movie wouldn't have happened without an incredible family that came together to make it.' Continuing, he dedicated the award to the City of New York, which he called, 'A city of outsiders, where the vast majority of people are immigrants,' even if they are simply from other parts of the U.S.

"Manda Bala focuses on Brazil's infamous corruption, profiling the unfortunate fruits of fraud, including a politician who uses a frog farm to steal billions of dollars as well as a wealthy businessman who spends huge amounts of money bullet proofing his cars, and a plastic surgeon who reconstructs the ears of mutilated kidnapping victims. As Kohn told indieWIRE in a recent interview, 'I really thought of Manda Bala as a non-fiction RoboCop depicting a very real broken and violent society.'

" 'I am really, really happy and I am very, very honored,' gushed Manda Bala director Jason Kohn after receiving the Grand Jury documentary prize. 'I can't thank everyone, but thank you all,' he smiled, after reading a list of names he'd listed on his BlackBerry."

Dave Hudson has gathered together critical response to both Padre Nuestro and Manda Bala for The Greencine Daily.

Photos courtesy of indieWIRE. Cross-published at Twitch.

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