The only Latin American Film Festival which was granted a ‘Category A’ by the FIAPF, the Mar del Plata International Film Festival was created in 1954 out of the need to reflect the universe of Argentine and international cinema. As years went by, the Festival established itself as a prominent sample of development and exchange of the cinematographic industry and audiovisual arts. Today, the Festival is a must for filmmakers, actors, producers, distributors and film lovers.
The 31° edition is coming. From October November 18th to 27th, the Festival offers a must-see overview of worldwide cinematography.
Permanence and growth throughout the years. That is precisely what makes the 31° edition of the Festival even more special. Sixty-two years ago, thanks to an initiative by President Juan Domingo Perón, Argentina backed cinematographic culture, and a space for supporting and promoting national cinema was created. Today, despite the historical difficulties that interrupted this paramount cultural event, the Festival reaches its 31 editions. From November 18th to 27th, 2016, the Festival’s screens will be switched on, an event that steadily continues supporting the audiovisual industry and also becomes, with its 62 years of history, an indisputable cultural symbol.
The Mar del Plata International Film Festival, organized by the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (INCAA), promotes cinematographic activity in all of its forms, as an exhibition of films of different origins, thematic diversity and styles. Every year, over 130,000 people follow its program –more than 300 films– and special activities –with renowned national and international artists–. With an unquestionably popular spirit, the Festival screens films to suit all tastes. Based on cinematographic tradition, classic cinema coexists with new tendencies, new voices and new technologies.
The Festival can be broadly divided into big four sections: Competitive Section; International Competition; Latin American Feature Film and Short Film Competition; Argentine Feature Film and Short Film Competition and Work In Progress. In the Panorama section, we find last year’s best international production, with films by acclaimed authors as well as new talents.
The films are also presented in parallel sections and new focusses of diverse subject matters. A third section, Revision –divided in Retrospectives, Tributes and Rescues- revisits the work of prestigious and forgotten directors and introduces new trends. It is the ideal place to appreciate works according to their cultural legacy for present and future cinema. It is also a space intended to pay tribute to personalities who had or still have a prominent role in the creation of the national and international cinematographic cultural heritage. Last but not least, the Special Activities: Master Classes, round tables, book presentations, special screenings, seminars, all of which enable the interaction between the audience and the works’ protagonists.
The Festival is a guide, educating –in its purest sense- and serving as promoter and agent of change. It also represents a platform of reference and relevance to exhibit Argentine production. The Festival legitimizes the films it screens, collaborating with its national and international promotion, not only awarding and showing local cinema but also accompanying the projects from their birth –WIP-. The Festival is beneficial for the film, the directors, actors, screenwriters and for every person, institution or area directly or indirectly involved in the making of a film.
True to its outrider style, the Festival allows people to make an incursion on new technologies, both in theory and in practice. The space generated is breeding ground for the encounter between professionals, the circulation of works and the creation of new audiences. The Mar del Plata International Film Festival was the first Argentine festival to screen a 3D film, to incorporate the new DCP digital format and the digital platform which allows to watch films from the program online, for audiences around the world.
The Festival also has its own itinerant version, thus stressing the importance of bringing cinema to people, of reducing distances and encouraging promotion in places where cinema has been pushed into the background. A public event everybody should enjoy.
Sixty-two years ago, Argentina welcomed the First Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
From that first huge step to our present time, the country and the world have witnessed the cinematographic universe’s growth and change. New trends, new narratives, new authors have been part of the Festival, leaving their mark and making history.
The Festival, the only ‘Category A’ in Latin America, was created in 1954, under Juan Domingo Perón’s office, as the first Non-Competitive Cinematographic Exhibition, stressing the entertaining nature of cinema. The Festival sought to support the national cinematographic industry and to bring cinema from all over the world to Argentine audiences. Mar del Plata was chosen as venue for this film festival since it was a well-known touristic destination. There, 18 countries were represented by the 52 feature films and 49 short films that were screened.
The most renowned cinematography of the time was present, through the films screened and their protagonists’ visit: Pane, amore e fantasia, by Vittorio De Sica (Italy, 1953); La ilusión viaja en tranvía, by Luís Buñuel (Mexico, 1954); The Glenn Miller Story, by Anthony Mann (USA, 1954); Sommarlek, by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1951) and Fröken Julie, by Alf Sjöberg (Sweden, 1951). Argentine cinema was represented by The Sacred Cry, by Luis César Amadori (1954) and The Street of Sin, by Ernesto Arancibia (1954).
Legendary celebrities of the time were present in Mar del Plata. From Hollywood came: Errol Flynn, Mary Pickford, Joan Fontaine, Claire Trevor, Edward G. Robinson, Fred MacMurray, Ann Miller, Walter Pidgeon and Jeannette McDonald. From France: Viviane Romance and Jeanne Moreau; from Italy: Isa Miranda, Lucía Bosé and Alberto Sordi; from Great Britain: Trevor Howard; from Spain: Fernando Fernán Gómez, Aurora Bautista and Ana Mariscal. The Festival also received the special visit of Lil Dagover from Germany and Norman McLaren from Canada.
This non-competitive exhibition caught the attention of the intellectual and cinematographic world, which enabled the creation of the Mar del Plata International Film Festival.
In 1959, the Festival was held thanks to the impulse given to local cinema in 1954 and to the impression international cinema left on Mar del Plata. The 1959 edition has something that makes it different from its predecessor: it is no longer an Exhibition but a competitive Festival.
Organized by the Argentine Film Critics Association, this edition introduces Juries and Awards. International delegations and local celebrities not only get together in the city of Mar del Plata to share their works but also to compete. Year after year, the awards will get renown and the Festival will grow to become the most important in Latin America. In 1959, the official statuette was named El Gaucho, a creation by sculptor Pascual Buigues.
From 1959 to 1970, ten editions were held. The 1964 edition was held in the City of Buenos Aires and, between 1967 and 1969, the Festival alternated with the Rio de Janeiro Festival.
These festivals were the most important cinematographic and cultural events of the time. European cinematographies were represented, among others, by the French Nouvelle Vague, the most prominent cinema from Socialist countries, the best Italian neo-realism and the emergence of Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish cinematography, apart from the excellence of English cinema. The United States brought films which, thanks to their high thematic, technical and performance levels, received several awards.
The Festival was consolidated as a space to reflect upon new cinematographic tendencies, and it welcomed theorists, journalists and filmmakers from all over the world. Among the countless international celebrities who attended the Festival, we can mention Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anthony Perkins, Ugo Tognazzi, Maria Callas, Maria Schell, Marie Laforet, Harriet Andersson, George Hamilton, Tom Courtenay, Mario Moreno (Cantinflas), François Truffaut, Tony Richardson, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Gilo Pontecorvo, Andrzej Wajda, Edouard Molinaro, Pierre Kast, Karel Reisz, Jacques Tati, Toshiro Mifune, Curt Jürgens, Cesare Zavattini, Josef von Sternberg, Alfred Bauer, Abel Gance, Vincent Minelli, Lee Strassberg, Andrzej Munk, James Mason, Maximilian Schell, Catherine Spaak, Tomas Milian, Ettore Scola, John Gavin and Jerzy Passendorfer.
In 1996, the second stage of the Festival began. After 26 years of absence, the Mar del Plata International Film Festival got a foothold as the essential artistic and cultural event for filmmakers, actors, producers, investors, scriptwriters, journalists and film-lovers.
The Festival became the mirror image of the world’s cinematographic tendencies and the annual meeting for audiences, films and filmmakers.Since 1996, many celebrities have attended the Festival, such as: Jacqueline Bisset, Elsa Martinelli, Raquel Welch, Renée Zellweger, Francisco Rabal, Amparo Soler Leal, Lina Wertmüller, Percy Adlon, Arturo Ripstein, Pilar Miró, Dino Risi, Antonio Ferrandis, Abbas Kiarostami, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Catherine Deneuve, Geraldine Chaplin, Dominique Sanda, Sonia Braga, Emily Watson, Julie Delpy, Nikita Mijalkov, Sally Potter, Alex de la Iglesia, Liv Ullman, Jeremy Irons, Alan Rickman, Philip Noyce, Istvan Szabó, Gerard Depardieu, Volker Schlöndorff, María de Medeiros, Helen Mirren, Paolo y Vittorio Taviani, Mario Monicelli, Hanna Schygula, Kathleen Turner, Héctor Babenco, Ken Russell, Bob Rafelson, Norman Jewison, Susan Seidelman, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Krzystof Zanussi, Michael Winterbotton, Abel Ferrara, Juliette Binoche, Sarah Polley, Kathryn Bigelow, Tommy Lee Jones, José Wilker, Javier Fesser, Bruno Ganz, Jerzy Skolimowsky, Willem Dafoe, Victor Kossakovsky, Alex Cox, Joe Dante, Sandrine Bonnaire, Bertrand Bonello, Lamberto Bava, Rich Moore, Peter Medak, Thomas Mauch, Pierre Étaix, Bong Joon-ho, John Landis, Viggo Mortensen, Claire Denis, Paul Schrader, Francisco Lombardi, Carlos Vermut, Nacho Vigalondo, Arnaud Desplechin, Peter Sohn, Steve Oram, Kidlat Tahimik, Trent Harris, Gustav Deutsch, Hanna Schimek, Atom Egoyan, Marco Mûller and Johnnie To,
With the beautiful city of Mar del Plata as the setting, combining a traditional architectonical style from the early 20th Century with modern buildings and long kilometers of beautiful beaches, the Festival offers visitors a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the cinematographic universe, through various competitions, parallel sections, retrospectives and tributes.