During the month of April Filmatique will host the first edition of its Talents initiative, a spotlight on first and second features from emerging filmmakers across the globe. Curated from hundreds of submissions, Filmatique Talents 2019 is an online film festival wherein selected projects join Filmatique's current releases in a month-long showcase, while some will receive one year of digital distribution in the US and Canada often for the first time.
Andrea de Fusco examines life below the surface of Venetian waters in In Aquis Fundata, a documentary capturing vanishing traditions in the Italian city. Agustín Adba offers an unconventional portrayal of female desire in his Buenos Aires-set debut Penélope, while Kiarash Anvari's The Pot and the Oak deconstructs a crisis of masculinity in modern-day Iran. Daniel Martinico's Excursions probes the limits of self-proclaimed enlightenment as two married couples unravel in a California woodland cabin, far from civilization. In La Soledad, Jorge Thielen Armand examines the possibility a family's hope amidst the Venezuelan crisis.
Comprised of five features and ten shorts— and including films from diverse regions such as Iran, Venezuela, Brazil, Greece, Italy and Argentina— Filmatique Talents 2019 brings visibility to underseen works from some of contemporary world cinema's most compelling new voices.
In Aquis Fundata, Andrea de Fusco / Italy, 2017
Present-day Venice. Far from the swarms of tourists and cruise ships an alternate topography is made plain— one lived at the edges of the ancient city's lagoons, beneath the surface of its canals. A shipwright, a Venetian rowing champion, a diver, a fish merchant and a fisherman chronicle their daily lives as proximate and dependent on water, the founding element of the Venetian Republic a thousand years prior. These contemporary Venetians uphold the vanishing traditions of a people, a place, and an amphibious way of life.
Immersed in the aqueous landscape of one of the world's most cinematic cities, In Aquis Fundata documents local Venetians and their precarious futures. Andrea de Fusco's second full-length film premiered at the Rome Independent Film Festival, Bellaria and DocUnder30.
La Soledad, Jorge Thielen Armand / Venezuela-Canada-Italy, 2016
José lives with his grandmother and young family in La Soledad, a dilapidated Caracas mansion. His quotidian life consists of construction work, promising his daughter a trip to the beach and standing in long lines to buy food and basic medicine. José then discovers that La Soledad's owners intend to demolish the crumbling structure, putting his and his family's existence suddenly at risk. Desperate to save his loved ones from homelessness, José becomes singularly fixated on finding a cursed treasure rumored to be buried in the house since colonial times.
Filmed with nonprofessional actors in real locations, La Soledad offers a rare glimpse into lived, human experience amidst the economic crisis in contemporary Venezuela. Having participated in the Venice Biennale College Cinema, Jorge Thielen Armand's feature film debut premiered at Venice, Atlanta, where it won the Special Jury Award; Biarritz, where it won the Prix du Syndicat Français de la Critique de Cinéma - Best Film; Durban, where it won Best Script and Best Editing; Festival del Cine Venezolano, where it won Best First Film and Best Sound; Miami where it won the Audience Award; Nashville, where it won a Honorable Mention; and Rhode Island, where it won Best Feature. La Soledad also won Best First Feature at the Museum of the Moving Image - Cinema Tropical Awards.
Excursions, Daniel Martinico / USA, 2016
A remote cabin in the woods, somewhere in California. A husband and wife retreat to their isolated abode with the aim of revitalizing their marriage. Another couple soon arrives with an endless supply of red wine and similar ambitions for enlightenment. Entwined with nature, this curious foursome progresses from innocuous games and partner-swapping to breathing exercises, cleansing rituals and competitive spiritual gambits that approximate the threshold of physical and mental sanity.
Marked by formalistic flourishes and the claustrophobic atmosphere of approaching madness, Excursions probes the limits of intimacy, meaning and transcendence with equal parts lucidity and farce. Daniel Martinico's second feature premiered at Slamdance, Chicago Underground, East Oregon and New Orleans, and was named one of The Film Stage’s Best Undistributed Films of 2016.
The Pot and the Oak, Kiarash Anvari / Iran, 2017
Borzoo lives in Iran. He has a semi-successful career as a playwright and a rapidly deteriorating relationship with his wife, who is a theater actress. Unbeknownst to her Borzoo has recently taken a medical test and discovered that he is incapable of having children. His pride injured, Borzoo careens into self-destructive behavior and irrational outbursts which further estrange his wife. When she is offered a new acting role by a director and ex-flame, Borzoo manipulates the story's conclusion to his own liking.
A stylized portrait of wounded masculinity and the tenuous nature of the artistic process, The Pot and the Oak intertwines philosophy, fiction and life in the real world to tragicomic effect. Kiarash Anvari's feature film debut premiered at Rotterdam, Jerusalem and Febiofest Prague.
Penélope, Agustín Adba / Argentina, 2018
Penélope is a young woman living in Buenos Aires. When not studying architecture or hanging with her friends from school, she spends increasing amounts of time orbiting the city's bohemian circles— theatrical productions, endless parties, fleeting encounters with both men and women. Faced with an abyss of meaningless relationships and moral vacuity, Penélope embraces the vanities and pretensions of this world with an eye toward subverting its logic.
Steeped in a modern landscape of romantic detachment and sexual discovery, Penélope finely draws the nuances of female desire without judgment. Agustín Abda's feature debut premiered at the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema.