LatinoBuzz: Cartagena Film Festival also known as Ficci 54

The 54th International Film Festival of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia has invited me to attend March 13 - 19, 2014.

One of Ficci's main goals is supporting the development of Colombian cinema. With that in mind, the festival will open with the world premiere of Ciudad Delirio, inviting the audience to get to know Cali, the only city in Latin America that loves all Latin American music, a center of creative development for Colombia's cinema, splendidly and authentically presented through the passion and flavor of salsa. Ficci is once again betting on the kind of cinema that speaks locally and globally, cinema that invites, seduces and embraces all kinds of audiences.

Starring Carolina Ramírez , Cauca Valley dancer and actress renown for her performance in soap operas such as La hija del mariachiand La Pola and Spaniard Julián Villagrán, winner of a Goya for his performance in Grupo 7, Ciudad Delirio also features Colombian actors of such caliber as Vicky Hernández Jorge Herrera , Margarita Ortega and John Alex Castillo. Thanks to a world-class team lead by Spanish dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Blanca Li, who has worked for The Berlin State Ballet, Kylie Minogue, Beyoncé and Daft Punk, and by multiple time Salsa World Champion Viviana Vargas, Cartagena will get to experience the madness of one of the most sensual dances on earth.

Ciudad Delirio was produced by Diego F. Ramírez, head of 64-a Films in Colombia, which has produced such films as Perro come perro,Todos tus muertos, Dr. Alemán, En coma, and180 segundos and Spaniard Elena Manrique, founder of Film Fatal and renown for her production of movies such asEl laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth), El orfanato and Transsiberiano, to name just a few.

For seven weeks during the making of Ciudad delirio, 45 locations in Cali, Colombia and Madrid, Spain were overrun by salsa. More than 3,200 extras from Cauca Valley helped to tell this love story that revolves around the show Delirio, a long-standing cultural tradition in Sultana del Valle.

In Ciudad Delirio, Javier, a shy, reserved Spanish doctor, attends a medical conference in Cali, Colombia. There, through a chance meeting, he shares a magical night with Angie, a dancer and choreographer who dreams of being part of the world's most famous salsa show, Delirio, if only she can pass the audition. Javier and Angie begin an impossible romance full of obstacles, surrounded by salsa, and accompanied by a cast of characters that are as authentic as they are hilarious.

The festival's guest of honor will be the prolific British actor Clive Owen, who is known for his diverse roles in films like Closer Children of Men, and The International . The Latin American premier of his latest film, Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties (2013), will be a highlight of the Friday, March 14th event, taking place at 6:00 pm in the Adolfo Mejía Theater, where, after being presented with the India Catalina prize, the actor will be interviewed by Ficci's director, Monika Wagenberg.

Another special honoree will be Mexican director Alejando Gonazlez Iñárritu, who has garnered international acclaim throughout the years with films such as Amores Perros , 21 Grams , Babel, and Biutiful . Established within the film industry as one of Latin America's most important directors of the new century, Iñárritu is currently in-production for Birdman (2014), a film he wrote and directed starring Emma Stone and Edward Norton . Participants of the 54th Ficci will have the opportunity to attend the Tribute honoring this Academy Award-nominated filmmaker on Sunday, March 16th, as well as his Master class the following day during Salón Ficci – the festival's academic program.

In regards to the festival's line-up, it is interesting to note that several of the filmmakers that will take part in the Dramatic Competition are directors who have participated at Ficci with their previous films and have established themselves in the international festival circuit winning prestigious awards. Others will arrive to Cartagena for the first time with their operas primas.

"2014 promises to be a good year for Iberoamerican cinema and we are proud to feature several of the most recent films of the region in our Official Dramatic Competition, in which half of the chosen movies are Latin American Premieres (movies that come directly to Cartagena after their world premieres at Sundance and Berlin Festivals). Eight of the twelve films in the Colombian Official Competition (known before as Colombia al 100%) are World Premieres. This way, we have managed to achieve the goal we set four years ago: becoming the main national and international launching platform of local films", stated Ficci's Director Monika Wagenberg.

Wagenberg also addressed some chances in the festival's rules that will allow for more experience filmmakers to partake in the event.

"One of the big news of Ficci 54 is that this time we have not limited the Official Dramatic Competition to first, second and third time Ibero-American films. Ending this restriction will make possible for those directors from this region who are producing feature films at a fast pace not, to be excluded from the competition" Wagenberg added.

The Official Dramatic Competition will feature the Latin American premieres The Lock Charmer (El Cerrajero) by Natalia Smirnoff (Argentina), Natural Sciences (Ciencias Naturales) by Matías Lucchesi(Argentina), The Way He Looks (Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho) by Daniel Ribeiro(Brazil), Celina Murga's Berlin Official Competition, The Three Sides of the River (La tercera orilla) (Argentina), recent Sundance and Rotterdam winner, To Kill a Man (Matar a un hombre) by Alejandro Fernández Almendras (Chile), Mateo, first film by Maria Gamboa (Colombia), and the world premiere of Dust on the Tongue (Tierra en la lengua) by Ruben Mendoza (Colombia).

This section also includes other outstanding films such as Bad Hair (Pelo malo), written and directed by Mariana Rondón (Venezuela) which comes to Ficci after its triumph at the San Sebastián Film Festival; The Mute (El Mudo), directed by brothers Daniel and Diego Vega (Perú), which had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival and are coming back to Ficci after competing winning Best Director award in 2010; premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival and awarded the Concha de Plata for Best Director in San Sebastián, comes Club Sándwich by Fernando Eimbcke(México), and the 12th film in this section is Root (Raíz) by Matías Rojas Valencia (Chile), the winner of Best Chilean Film winner at the Valdivia Film Festival.

The Official Documentary Competition will showcase the world premieres of El color que cayó del cielo by Sergio Wolf (Argentina) and Heaven or Hell (Infierno o paraíso) de German Piffano(Colombia); as well as the Latin American premiere of The Silence of the Flies (El silencio de las moscas) by Eliezer Arias (Venezuela), Marmato by Mark Grieco (Colombia, USA), and Apples, Chickens and Chimeras (Manzanas, pollos y quimeras) de Inés París (España). The rest of the program includes Argentine Street Years (Años de calle) by Alejandra Grinschpun, I Feel Much Better Now (E-agora? Lembra me) by Joaquim Pinto(Portugal), Naomi Campbel by icolas Videla and Camila José Donoso (Chile), Cesar's Grill (El Grill de Cesar) by Dario Aguirre, I Will Be Murdered (Seré asesinado) by Justin Webster (Spain), Mexican documentary, Elevator (Elevador) by Adrián Ortizl and the most recent work by talented Brazilian documentary film director Maria Ramos , Hills of Pleasures (Morro dos Prazeres).

Lastly, in the Colombian Official Competition we will present the world premieres of Banished (Desterrada) by Diego Guerra, Manos sucias by Joseph Wladyka, Memorias del calavero and Tierra en la lengua by Rubén Mendoza, Monte adentro by Nicolás Macario Alonso, Parador Húngaro by Aseneth Suarez and Patrick Alexander, Infierno o paraíso by Germán Piffano; as well as the Latin American premieres of Inés, memorias de una vida by Luisa Sossa; Gente de papel, con el alma en la selva by Andrés Felipe Vásquez, Mateo by Maria Gamboa, Marmato by Mark Grieco and the Colombian premiere of Mambo Cool by Chris Gude.
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