‘Rimana Wasi,’ ‘Angelo,’ ‘The Distance of Time’ Spark Buzz at Locarno at Latin American, Caribbean New Talent Platform

A star, or several, are born, perhaps. Playing early as part of Locarno’s Open Doors Screenings, framing new features and shorts from Latin America and the Caribbean, “Rimana Wasi: Home of Stories” received a rapturous reception, establishing directors Ximena Málaga Sabogal, Piotr Turlej as talents to track.

“Angelo,” and “La Distancia Del Tiempo” have good word of mouth; there’s a large expectation to see the milestone queer doc “Eating Papaw on the Seashore.” 

Briefly, a drill down on the shorts screening at Open Doors, a new and welcome addition to Locarno’s premier industry forum: 

“Angelo” Alex Plumb, Bolivia

Solitary shoe shiner Angelo spends his days fending off monotony and the despair of life on the streets by cruising through realities. The film paints a delicate portrait of life outside all bounds, capturing the bold colors of the city in contrast to the grit of its avenues and mountain ranges. Produced by Bonadona Studios, “Angelo is about the power of our imagination in helping us survive in this world,” relays Plumb. The film, a Tribeca competition title, snapped up the Director’s Spotlight honor at Dublin’s Gaze LGBT Film Fest.

“La Distancia del Tiempo” (“The Distance of Time”) Carlos Ormeño Palma, Peru

An androgynous young man embraces the reality of life without his ailing partner. Black and white scenes shrouded in contemplative silence and city rhythms fuse mourning with grace and gentle acceptance. Produced by Ormeño Palma’s La Fiebre Films, the project collected best short film nods from The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival and Peru’s Trujillo Film Festival. In development, and featured at Open Doors’ Producers’ Lab, ”The Scent of Walls,” which Ormeño Palma describes as “the first Peruvian film that portrays a non-patriarchal and non-heteronormative father-son connection.”

“Eating Papaw on the Seashore” Rae Wiltshire, Nickose Layne, Guyana 

The first Guyanese film to cover same sex intimacy between men tells the coming-of-age story of two queer boys forced to navigate a harshly homophobic society. Adolescent emotions unfold in full in a region where the sentiments are officially criminal. A co-production between Rae Wiltshire Films and Third Horizon, it precludes Wiltshires upcoming projects “Into The Room,” a silent horror film tackling domestic violence and child abuse in Guyana and “Old Toy Train,” a drama that muses on the effect aging parents have on their loved ones.

“La Espiral Roja” Lorena Colmenares, Venezuela, Germany

Santiago is entrusted with performing the highly-important and daunting task of giving a welcome speech for the first visit of the Great Lord Commandant. He’ll practice dutifully within his school that resides in a fascist country, where the walls have ears. Produced by the Universidad de Los Andes and co-produced by Lacau Color Grading, Tonlabor Haw Hamburg, the film remarks on the rigid nature of allegiance. Colmenares is currently developing her first feature “El Llanto De Los Grillos” which tells a tense within the framework of the brutal Venezuelan blackout of 2019.

“Plástico” Veronica Kompalic, Venezuela

A film crew follows a group of naive actors as a ruthless commander prods them into increasingly brutal situations in the name of blind patriotism, providing a satirical look at the propaganda machine. Produced by women-led production house Discordia, the film will be distributed nationally via Whatsapp, as Kompalic remarks that the platform “has become a great aid for people to stay connected with their families through the diaspora and receive important information about their situation that wouldn’t be printed in the state-owned press.” 

“Rimana Wasi: Hogar de Historias” (“Rimana Wasi: Home of Stories”), Ximena Málaga Sabogal, Piotr Turlej, Peru

Quechua stories reach the far flung highlands from the city center of Puno as Chaska attempts to balance her career in radio with familial obligations in some of the nearest highlands. Portraying a rich heritage through quotidian scenes blended together with the modernity of present day, the film paints a tender portrait of community and a woman embracing modernity to promote her cultural roots. Produced by Watay Misita, born from a female film collective and highlighting the stories of Andean women, the project won the Peruvian Bicentennial Shorts award and has screened in numerous festivals.

“Veo, Veo” Tania Cattebeke Laconich, Paraguay 

During the Paraguayan Civil War of 1947, a girl from the Red Party forms a deep bond with a boy who belongs to the opposing party. Produced by Picante and Brief with co-production credits to Sabaté Films, the project won the best international short film prize at the Festival de Cine de Huelva in Spain. Cattebeke, a Berlinale Talents alum, is currently wrapping production on a social justice documentary “Yren,” which follows a trans activist in conservative Paraguay, as she attempts to preserve the country’s only LGBTQ+ home shelter.

“Volivia” Leandro Grillo, Bolivia, Chile 

An experimental collage of found television footage that grapples with reality as it’s spliced together to form a pixelated beast. Produced by Trisomia Cine, founded by Grillo and Alejandra Antequera, a “Puan” production manager, the project offers a surreal kaleidoscope of culture that spins out alongside distorted dialogue. Up next for the team is “Desidia,” at Open Doors’ Projects Hub, regarding which Grillo proclaims, “I’ve always been motivated to make films under my own rules, and ‘Desidia’ is not an exception.” 

“Willkawiwa (El Sagrado Fuego de los Muertos)” (“Willkawiwa The Sacred Fire of the Dead”), Pável Quevedo Ullauri, Ecuador, Costa Rica

Jaime works diligently in the fields of the Ecuadorian Andes. Abruptly struck by a fatal illness that’s claimed many in the community, he succumbs and an otherworldly force takes over his body. The film goes on to explore all that is seen and unseen, a mystical and foreboding look at death and the rich possibilities of the afterlife. Produced by Aguacero Cine, the project screened in competition on the festival circuit, including 2022 stops at Mexico’s Mórbido Fest and  the Moscow International Film Festival. 

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