Antes que cante el gallo [Before the Rooster Crows] by Puerto Rican director Arí Maniel Cruz won the 2016 Yellow Robin Award at the 5th Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam (CIFFR). Antes que cante el gallo will next be screened at the International Film Festival of Panama, taking place April 7-13, 2016 in Panama City.
[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for this post. Also see previous post, Caribbean films at the Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam 2016.]
The CIFFR Jury statement on Antes que cante el gallo reads: “All of the nominees tell stories of characters with rich and unique cultural histories and speak to the great creative promise of these filmmakers. The Yellow Robin goes to a film that artfully combines the threads of sound, sight, and emotion. It is a unique take on the coming of age story incorporating elements which challenge our ideas about sexuality and intimacy within a family. The strong cast and especially our protagonist work with a well-written script which uses silence as effectively as dialogue; providing a window into the soul of our main character. Cinematography, music, and the hills of Puerto Rico are components in this rich tapestry.”
The Award comes with USD 10,000 prize money, screening of the film in the Bright Future program section at the next International Film Festival Rotterdam (Netherlands), and participation in Cinemart.
The CIFFR Yellow Robin Award aims to encourage, support, and contribute to the careers of talented beginning filmmakers, especially from the Caribbean region. Eligible films should, by their country of origin, theme, and chosen form be relevant to the Curaçaoan contemporary society and its historical and cultural connections to other regions of the world.
Synopsis of Antes que cante el gallo: Puerto Rican teenager Carmín dreams of living with her mom in America, but when her hopes are suddenly dashed she ends up emotionally torn. Immediately afterwards she is confronted for the first time with her natural father. He’s spent years in jail and then moves in with Carmín and her strict grandmother. Initially, Carmín doesn’t like the charming newcomer, but father and daughter slowly become close. In the meantime, the hormonal maelstrom of puberty does its job: Carmín becomes a woman and that causes great confusion, mostly for her. In this empathetic coming-of-age drama, a sensitive girl (wonderfully played by Miranda Purcell) with so many complex growing pains that the coming together of things like savage disappointment, separation anxiety and developing sexuality lead to a dangerous mix: a complex, ambiguous, deeply hurt teen wants to be loved. http://www.curacaoiffr.com/Films/Antes_que_cante_el_gallo
Review: This risky film, without sentimentalism yet full of empathy, follows the vicissitudes of a teenager growing up in a Puerto Rican village, amid tensions and a violent case of confusion concerning family, trust and sex. Anchored in deft performances and a vividly rendered environmental setting, Antes que cante el gallo is a sensitive and hopeful portrait about the torments of youth. http://iffpanama.org/es/peliculas/antes-que-cante-el-gallo
About the director: Arí Maniel Cruz studied communication and scriptwriting and then worked as a sitcom writer in Puerto Rico. Later he was active as a producer/director in the national TV and film industry. His feature film debut, the erotic thriller Under My Nails (2012), won the award for best US film at the 2012 New York International Latino Film Festival. Antes que cante el gallo (2015) is his second feature film. On both films Arí Maniel Cruz has collaborated with screenwriter Kisha Tikina Burgos.
For more information, see http://www.curacaoiffr.com/News/winner-yellow-robin-award-2016.
For information on the International Film Festival of Panama, see http://iffpanama.org