Chile’s Vibrant Doc Scene Lights Up Cannes With 3rd Showcase

As Chile hosts its third Docs in Progress Showcase at Cannes’ Marché du Film, it brings to the fore one of the richest and most prolific documentary traditions in Latin America, led by such figures as Patricio Guzmán, whose 2019 “The Cordillera of Dreams” won the Cannes Golden Eye, and Maite Alberdi, whose 2020 “The Mole Agent” snagged an Oscar nomination.

Spurred by a major jump in co-productions and a modest increase in state funding, more Chilean documentaries are being made — 24 are co-productions to date this year, many driven by women producers, says Paula Ossandon, head of Chiledoc, a public-private alliance between  the Chilean Documentary Corp. (CCDoc) and ProChile.

The latest crop shows a greater diversity of genres and themes, with a growing number of docs about marginalized groups, from Chile’s Indigenous tribes to its LGBTQ+ community and the current socio-political climate in the country.

To foster more films by Indigenous filmmakers, Chiledoc held two “Connect With One’s Roots” workshops for them. “They were carried out jointly between CCDoc and the Sundance Documentary Film Program within the framework of our international industry meeting at Santiago de Chile’s Conecta, with the first held in January 2021 and the second in December that same year,” she says, adding: “Each workshop had five participating projects.” A third workshop is pending confirmation, she says.

The four projects Chiledoc is showcasing at Cannes, selected out of 21 submissions, have two with Indigenous themes. Ten-minute clips will be screened at the showcase, followed by pitches.

In the Shadow of Light (“A La Sombra De La Luz”)

DIRECTORS: Isabel Reyes, Ignacia Merino.

PRODUCERS: María José Díaz, Francisca Barraza.

A child plans a rabbit hunt among power stations in the village of Charrúa, Chile’s energy hub, throwing into relief the con- vergence of rural life and the electricity needs of the rest of the country. The documentary mixes “the sensorial, light anddarkness,” say its directors, with develop- ment consultancy from Alberdi.

El Menor

WRITER-DIRECTOR: Mijael Bustos Gutiérrez.

PRODUCER: Diego Saldivia, Felipe Egaña Kaulen, Los Reyes del Parque Prods.

Followed by the filmmakers for six years from the time he was 14 years old, the freestyle rapper El Menor becomes a worldwide phenomenon,buthastocopewith his rapid rise to fame along with excesses and bullying.

Relentless Memory (“Memoria Implacable”)

WRITER-DIRECTOR: Paola Rodríguez Sickert.

PRODUCERS: Paola Castillo (Errante Prods.), Gema Juárez (Gema Films, Argentina).

While going through an archive in the city of Berlin, ayoung Mapuche academic unearths the testimonies of Mapuche prisoners who were expelled from their territories during the military invasions of Argentina and Chile. She sets out to retrace her ancestors’ deportation routes. Chile’s Errante (“Malqueridas”), which has been plowing into international co-production, produces with Argentina’s Gema, a top Argentine fiction (“Oscuro Animal”) and doc (“Pornomelancolía”) producer.

Life (“Monguen”)

DIRECTOR: Antonio Caro

PRODUCERS: Lemuntu Prods. and Tótem Prods.

“Monguen,” (“life” in the Mapu- dungun language) follows Fresia, an 18-year-old Pewenche who has lived all her life next to the Araucaria forests and the mountains of Alto Bío Bío. But her life is upended when she gets pregnant.

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