“Las hijas” and “El matadero” win top prizes at Malaga Film Festival

In “’20,000 Species of Bees,’ ‘Sister & Sister’ win top Malaga prizes,” Ed Meza (Variety) writes about recent wins of European, Latin American, and Caribbean films at the Malaga Film Festival. Kattia G. Zúñiga’s Panamanian drama “Las hijas” [Sister & Sister] took one of the top prizes at the festival, winning a Golden Biznaga for Latin American film. Cuban filmmaker Fernando Fraguela Fosado won the Silver Biznaga for Best Documentary for “El matadero.” As Peter Jordens, points out (thank you, Peter!) other Latin American/Caribbean films at the 2023 Malaga Film Festival included “La pecera” by Glorimar Marrero Sánchez (Puerto Rico) and “El año que nací” by Daniel González-Muniz and Alberto Amieva (Costa Rica).

Estíbaliz Urresola Solaguren’s celebrated Spanish feature “20,000 Species of Bees” and Kattia G. Zúñiga’s Panamanian drama “Sister & Sister” took the top prizes at the Malaga Film Festival, garnering the Golden Biznagas for Spanish and Latin American pictures respectively.  

“20,000 Species of Bees” also won best supporting actress for Patricia López Arnaiz and picked up the Spanish Cinematographic Informers Association’s Feroz Puerta Oscura award. The film’s success follows two awards in Berlin, including a Silver Bear for Sofía Otero for her portrayal of a young girl going through a gender crisis.

For Zúñiga, the Golden Biznaga is sure to help further propel “Sister & Sister,” an autobiographical story about two teenage sisters who travel from Costa Rica to Panama in search of their absent father. Pic drew upbeat reviews in Malaga following on its SXSW world premiere.

Also making waves at the Malaga Festival, which runs March 10-19, was Gerardo Herrero’s Spanish drama “Under Therapy,” an adaptation of Matías Del Federico’s stage play that follows three disparate couples as they attend an unconventional group therapy session. The film’s ensemble cast won the Silver Biznaga Special Jury Prize.

Matías Bize, meanwhile, won best director for his Chilean-Argentine drama-thriller “The Punishment,” about a lost child and the frantic search his parent’s undertake to find him.  

María Vázquez scooped the best actress prize for Álvaro Gago’s “Matria,” in which she plays a hard-working woman and mother in a Galician fishing village who begins to question her life.

Winning best actor was Alberto Ammann for another SXSW entry “Upon Entry” (“La llegada”), Alejandro Rojas and Juan Sebastián Vásquez’s story about the challenges immigrants face in the U.S. The film follows a Venezuelan-Spanish couple who, having acquired the necessary visas, move to the U.S. to start a new life only to be subjected to a psychologically grueling screening and interrogation process by two border agents at the Newark Airport.

Jorge Marrale nabbed best supporting actor for Marina Seresesky’s Argentine-Spanish drama “Empieza el Baile,” about a once world famous tango couple who recapture their lost passion while on an eventful road trip.

Cuban filmmaker Fernando Fraguela Fosado won the Silver Biznaga for Best Documentary for “El Matadero.” The work examines life in a community in the heavily sanctioned socialist country where people are forced to raise pigs to survive, transforming their neighborhood into a slaughterhouse.  

The best director award for documentary went to Sofía Paoli Thorne for “Guapo’y,” about an aging woman in Paraguay who remains haunted by the torture she suffered under the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner and who uses natural remedies to alleviate the pain that continues to afflict her.

Taking the top prizes in the ZonaZine sidebar were Omar Al Abdul Razzak’s Spanish title “Matar Cangrejos” and Leonardo Barbuy La Torre’s Peruvian drama “Diógenes” as the Latin American entry.

Barbuy also won best direction for “Diógenes,” a film which follows two siblings who are raised by their father in isolation in the Peruvian Andes and whose lives are transformed by unexpected events.

“Matar Cangrejos” likewise won best actress for Paula Campos, who stars as a 14-year-old girl living in 1990s Tenerife. As she and her little brother anxiously await the arrival of Michael Jackson on the island, she is also coming to terms with the fact that life might soon change as her mother has become pregnant by a foreigner.

Saturnino García took the best actor prize in ZonaZine for his role in Liz Lobato’s Spanish drama “Tierra de Nuestras Madres,” about an old woman living with her disabled son in a poor town in La Mancha. When the decision is made to sell the dilapidated town, however, the woman and her home in the center of town become obstacles to the plan. The film also nabbed the audience award.

For article and complete list of winners, see https://variety.com/2023/film/news/20000-species-of-bees-malaga-festival-1235558494

More information about Kattia G. Zúñiga’s “Las hijas” [Sister & Sister]:
Website https://www.plutofilm.de/films/sister-sister/0077
Trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IY5hsDYp6M

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