Exclusive interview with the Argentine Film Festival’s director, Sofia Serbin de Skalon and programmers Maria Delgado and Demetrios Matheou
Latin America Film is proud collaborator of the upcoming 1st Argentine Film Festival in London and in an exclusive interview we have met with the festival’s director Sofia Serbin de Skalon and programmers Maria Delgado and Demetrios Matheou.
How did you decide and why to launch the Argentine Film Festival in London?
SDS: I had the idea of launching an Argentine Film Festival in London for a long time as I’d worked with a lot of first time directors in Argentina, and thought a festival would be a great way to showcase new talent. I was at Ventana Sur in Buenos Aires and I saw Clare Binns (Director of Programming and Acquisitions at City Screen – Picturehouse Cinemas) there and pitched the idea to her. Shortly afterwards I came back to London and met Maria Delgado. Maria has been programming Spanish and Latin American films at London Film Festival since 1997 and had also curated a Latin American film season at the BFI with Demetrios Matheou (a film critic and author of the Faber Book of New South American cinema) so we were naturally drawn to collaborating on the festival together, especially as we all felt that aside from the LFF and the occasional theatrical release there weren’t enough opportunities in London to see quality Argentine films.
MD, DM: Sofia also brings extensive experience of Film PR – having promoted both UK and European films in Argentina as well as a number of domestic features from the New Argentine Cinema. So Sofia brought valuable marketing and promotion skills to the project as well as an Argentine perspective and understanding of the film industry there.
-Can you explain your criteria in selecting the films and who has been helping you with the programming?
SDS/MD/DM: From day one we were all in agreement that all the films had to be of a very high standard and we’re very proud of our inaugural programme, which represents the cream of current Argentine film production. All of the films have received international recognition and awards, but they also tell universal stories that any Londoner can relate to, be they English or Spanish-speakers.
We also decided on a broad criteria so that the films could be from and about Argentina. Hence our reasons for deciding to include Caprichosos de San Telmo, which was actually made by Alison Murray, a British/Canadian director but which tells a very Argentina story about the murga community preparing for carnival in San Telmo.
- What makes this festival different?
SDS: I think, aside from the quality of the programme, the main thing that makes the festival different is the unique insight it offers into Argentina. Not only have we chosen a very diverse selection of contemporary films – there’s a witty rom com, two very different coming of age dramas, a black comedy, and a chance to catch the award-winning Las Acacias again – and but we’re also delighted to be able to include four short films from Argentina’s largely unknown silent film era, which offer a fascinating glimpse into Argentina at the beginning of the 20th century.
We will also be hosting 2 special events which focus on Argentina’s musical history. So on Friday 20th after the screening of Caprichosos we have a Latin Beats night in the bar Upstairs at the Ritzy which will feature some of the coolest contemporary sounds in Argentina, and then on Sunday 22nd there’ll be a live musical accompaniment to one of the silent films, followed by a tango music and dance performance, again in the bar Upstairs at the Ritzy.
- What you would like to achieve and what’s next?
SDS: Well, of course we’d love all of the screenings to be full! But really, the main thing I hope we achieve is that people come away with a greater appreciation of Argentina and its people, as well as the tremendous filmmaking talent that exists there. Obviously we assume that there’ll be some interest amongst the Spanish-speaking community in London, but we also hope that other people, who might not know much about Argentine cinema, will be curious enough to come along and enjoy a great night out at the cinema!
To purchase tickets and attend all the festival events:
Tickets can be bought online via the festival’s page on the Ritzy website or by calling the Ritzy box office on: 0871 902 5739.
Source: Latam Film