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FIDOCS: Chile premiere and one more jury job

I flew straight from Spain to Chile, leaving behind the cold winter of Madrid to enjoy spring and summer of the southern hemisphere in Santiago de Chile. It was my very first visit to Chile, and such a beautiful one!

With jury and Festival staff at the closing night

The festival, FIDOCS (Festival Internacional de Documental de Santiago), now run by journalist Gonzalo Maza, was launched 12 years ago by Patricio Guzmán, one of my doc heroes and the director of films like The Battle of Chile and Chile: Obstinate Memory. Both films made me cry and inspired me to follow his example... And so it's especially touching to be invited to serve on the jury of FIDOCS' national competition, and also to premiere Made in L.A. here at the National Cinemateque in FIDOCS' international program (out-of-competition).

The National Cinemateque is, paradoxically, underneath the Government Palace, the building which was bombed by Pinochet and his US allies during the 1973 coup-d'etat, a scene that has been ingrained in my mind from the black and white footage that I have seen so many times... Our screening was very moving, and I was impacted (and relieved!) to hear the same responses and the same passion - "we have to use this to organize!" - that I have heard in other parts of the world.

The jury work was more relaxed than in Spain (only 12 films to watch), and we saw great films, really. We ended up awarding the first prize to a film that really impacted me: "The Revolution of the Penguins" (La revolución de los Pingüinos) by Jaime Díaz Lavanchy. It tells the story of Chilean high school kids who, fighting for their right to education, managed to mobilize the entire country for a national strike. After seeing the film, I sought out the director to tell him "amazing editing!" Later I learned that the editor, Pedro Chaskel, was the editor for "La Batalla de Chile"!

At Neruda's home in Isla Negra

Our Chilean hosts were wonderful and really worked to help us savor our time there: they fed us, they took us to see my beloved Pablo Neruda's home in Isla Negra, and they just took care of us with such attention and respect, that I leave Chile with nostalgia and the desire to return very, very soon!

Check out La Tercera's article about my visit and watch a video at Cinefilo about the festival with interviews to many of us (all in Spanish).



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