Two South American films were awarded at the 31st annual edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival: The Peruvian film Song Without a Name / Canción sin nombre by Melina León received the New Voices/New Visions Award and the Colombian film Monos by Alejandro Landes was the winner of the Ibero-American Award. Additionally, the Mexican film Workforce / Mano de obra, the debut feature by David Zonana, received a Special Mention in the Ibero-American competition.
We interviewed Melina León after receiving her award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival:
Set in 1988, in a Peru wracked by political violence and turmoil and based on harrowing true events, León’s heart-wrenching first feature tells the story of Georgina, an indigenous Andean woman whose newborn baby is whisked away moments after its birth in a downtown Lima clinic—and never returned. Stonewalled by a byzantine and indifferent legal system, Georgina approaches journalist Pedro Campas, who uncovers a web of fake clinics and abductions – suggesting a rotting corruption deep within Peruvian society.
Monos, Landes’ awe-inspiring third feature, is a breathtaking survivalist saga set on a remote mountain in Latin America. The film tracks a young group of soldiers and rebels—bearing names like Rambo, Smurf, Bigfoot, Wolf and Boom-Boom—who keep watch over an American hostage, Doctora (Julianne Nicholson). The teenage commandos perform military training exercises by day and indulge in youthful hedonism by night, an unconventional family bound together under a shadowy force known only as The Organization. After an ambush drives the squadron into the jungle, both the mission and the intricate bonds between the group begin to disintegrate. Order descends into chaos and within Monos the strong begin to prey on the weak in this vivid, cautionary fever-dream.
The 31st edition of the Palm Springs International Film Festival took place January 2-13 in California.