«Chile is now living a transformation»

ChileDoc / With a strong showing of work at both DOK Leipzig and IDFA, Chile's documentary output continues to thrive. To find out more Modern Times Review spoke with the Director of Chiledoc, Diego Pino Anguita.

Gathering the documentary sector of Chile, Chiledoc operates under the dual principles of: associative nature of community and diversity of production, yielding an overall motto of «The outlier way». In 2020, the Chilean documentary sector was well-received across the world with several films participating at the likes of DOK Leipzig and IDFA, as well as having released the internationally renowned film, The Mole Agent (dir. Maite Alberdi). That film, which happens to represent Chile at the Goya Awards will be screened as part of IDFA’s «Best of Fests» programme, after having debuted at Sundance. Also at IDFA, various Chilean projects will participate in its Pitch Forum and IDFA Academy.

To get more information on ChileDoc, its activities, as well as the overall creative climate in this somewhat tumultuous current era for the country, Modern Times Review spoke with its Director, Diego Pino Anguita.

How can you best describe the heritage of Chilean documentary cinema?
Chile has a documentary tradition from the beginning of its cinema history, and the documentary in Chile has been always near to the reality of the country and his social and political process. Today we take this tradition, and we work also near to the subjects of the current, but also closer to the people and characters that are part of this history. And we accept now that the diversity of point of view and cinematic approach in our country is one of our most important strength

Chile is undergoing a long and important grassroots social movement. Can you explain a bit about the roots of this movement and how it has affected the current output of non-fiction filmmaking in the country?
For many years Chile has been living under a constitution push by the dictatorship; a constitution with no representation who has created unsustainable inequalities until now. So Chile is now living a transformation, thinking that we can do a new constitution together, looking for the rights for the people who live in our country. In that road, important movements have been key, in 2011 the students, in 2019 the Feminists, and today the majority of the workers who are tired and understand that we have to do this together and change the rules. In that sense, the cinema in Chile also woke up and we start to understand that we are also workers, and we have to contribute also to the discussion, being part of assemblies and unions, and fighting with all. But also we knew that we can support the movement with images to help also to create a reflection about who we are, about our identity. For that reason, a lot of filmmakers came to the street to fight and film as workers of a new Chile.

documentary in Chile has been always near to the reality of the country and his social and political process.

What have been some of the best examples of Chilean documentaries in recent times? For example, The Mole Agent is up for the Goya Awards and has made an impressive festival circuit run as of late.
In the last years have been many films with full notice in different parts of the world. In recent times the examples are, from Lemebel, a documentary presented in Berlinale and winner of the Teddy award, directed by Joanna Repossi, that until these days has an impressions festival circuit. Another important film has been La cordillera de Los sueños, by Patricio Guzmán, premiered in Cannes, and winner of the golden eye for the best documentary in 2019. This year The Mole Agent, directed by Maite Alberdi was premiered in Sundance, with a beautiful point of view, and an incredible circuit of festivals. Today this film will be the representative film from Chile for the Goya, and we hope that it can be also a possible representative of Chile in the Oscars, or it can run for the best documentary category because it is also a US Co-production. Finally, there are important films that have been incredible premieres and awards, as The Other One, by Francisco Bermejo (Visions du Réel), Water Silhouettes by Violeta Paus (Dok Leipzig), and the coming premiere of The Sky is Red, directed by Francia Carbonell, one of the most important emerging filmmaker from Chile, who has a premiere in the first appearance section in IDFA 2020. As you see the most of the films are directed by women, and that is something that in Chile, has been relevant because the power of the images close to the reality is being filmed from women’s point of view, give us the opportunity to understand what is happing with an important sensibility, also creating a stronger and united sector.

How will Chile be represented at IDFA 2020 this year?
We have a great representation this year, first of all, three incredible films will be presented at the festival. The first one is the World premiere of Sky is Red by Francia Carbonell, in the First Appearance section, an incredible film that looks from the materials and feelings a dramatic event in Chile. In second place The Mole Agent by Maite Alberdi will be presented in the Best of Fest section, a place where you find the best films of the year. Finally, a film Co-produce with Chile titled ARICA will be at the Fronlight section, which is a co-production with regional producers in Chile. Also, Chile will have a representation in the IDFA Forum, with the project Ancestral Secret VR, directed by two emerging woman filmmakers Maria Jose Díaz and Francisca Silva. And last but not least, Nicolas Tabilo y Felipe Garrido will be participating in the IDFA Academy with their marvelous project Drifting Images. In the meantime, thanks to the virtuality we will have a special presentation of 5 projects in development to the decision-makers. The projects are: The Fabulous Gold Harvesting Machine by Alfredo Pourailly, Ancacoy by Maria Paz González & Nicole Bock, Pirópolis by Nicolas Molina, Bastard by Pepe Rovano, and Malqueridas by Tana Gilbert.

Can you speak ab little about what ChileDoc does and where it fits into the wider regional/continental documentary ecosystem? You are also involved with the region’s Conecta event? Where does this event fall within the same context?
Chiledoc is the brand that represents the Chilean documentary all over the world promoting our films and series and connecting with the industry. Our mission is also to create a platform that works to help new and experienced filmmakers and producers to promote their works, creating networking to commercialise our films. We work as a collective brand, where the majority of the documentary sector is behind, and we work for all the documentary workers. In Latin America, we are a reference as a collective organization that works for an entire sector, and for that reason, we work very closely with another important reference in the continent as DocMontevideo, DOCO, DocSp, and DocsMx, among other to support also the Latin American documentary.

Conecta is an event created with the same spirit, to contribute to do networking between Latin Americans with the most important decision-makers in the world, but also to encourage the Latin American community to get together, transforming this event into a place of encounter. This year the event will be online and even that way it received more than 250 applications from many countries.

Our mission is also to create a platform that works to help new and experienced filmmakers and producers to promote their works, creating networking to commercialise our films.

With COVID-19 greatly affecting the cultural sectors of countries everywhere, how would you gauge the governmental support for the arts in Chile?
In Chile, sadly, culture is still not a profound priority to our authorities, so we have been facing several cuts of budget and sometimes an abandonment to the workers of culture. The road has been very hard but has been defended by the cultural unions and the organizations, pushing to incorporate the culture as an important necessity of our society. In this sense, documentary is also a place where we reflect on who we are and what we can do in these difficult moments of universal catastrophe and social transformation. As we said before, we are working in a collective way, and we hope because we believe in that, that this always will give us results, and in the case of the cultural sector, working together, always will bring benefits for all the Chilean community.

Steve Rickinson
Steve Rickinson
Steve lives in Bucharest, Romania. He writes for some platforms and does some other things as well.

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