Gustavo Fontán

- [Juror’s Statement]

I have never been to Japan. Expanding borders—this phrase comes to mind when I think about the upcoming trip. The city of Yamagata, a renowned documentary film festival, an invitation to serve on the jury of the competition, the doorway to a country and culture that I have always been interested in. I am very grateful for this opportunity, and also for the chance for my films The Face and The Tree to be shown within the program.

Being on the jury of the film festival will be a pleasure for several reasons. The most important is that the documentaries in Yamagata will be those which break away from the mainstream formats of today and reflect the filmmaker’s quest for real views of the world and of people. And if so, I know the film festival programming will guide me to question the conventions of what documentary is, because this has been a central concern throughout my work as a filmmaker.

Expanding borders—this is the phrase that comes to mind also when I think of the concept of documentary proposed at film festivals like Yamagata.

It will therefore be bliss for me on all fronts when it occurs.

Gustavo Fontán

Born in Buenos Aires in 1960. He received his BA from the School of Philosophy and Literature at the University of Buenos Aires, and studied Film Direction at the Experimental Center for Filmmaking. Gustavo teaches at the School of Social Sciences, Lomas de Zamora National University and at the La Plata National University. Aside from filmmaking, Gustavo had directed theater pieces and published two books of short stories. His poems and short stories have also appeared in various newspapers and literary magazines. In 2008 Gustavo was awarded the Macedonio Fernández Award, allowing him to publish his latest book, Pasto del Fuego. Gustavo has also directed several episodes for the historical documentary series Huellas de un siglo (Fingerprints of a Century) produced by TV Pública, Argentina’s public television channel: La semana trágica, El 17 de octubre, El Cordobazo y otros azos, and Madres la primera ronda, among others. His films include The Tree (2006), The (River) Bank that Becomes Abysmal (2008), April Elegy (2010), and The House (2012). The Face won the Best Director prize at the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema.

The Face

El rostro

- ARGENTINA / 2013 / No Dialogue / B&W / DCP / 64 min

Director, Script: Gustavo Fontán
Photography (16mm): Luis Cámara
Photography (Super 8mm): Gustavo Schiaffino
Editing: Mario Bocchicchio
Sound: Abel Tortorelli
Cast: Gustavo Hennekens, Mariá del Huerto Ghiggi, Héctor Maldonado, Pedro Gabas
Executive Producer: Guillermo Pineles
Production Companies: Insomnia Films, Tercera Orilla
Source: Insomnia Films www.insomniafilms.com.ar

The Paraná River flows along the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. One man rows a small boat, reaching a little island. This place once had a tiny village, with houses. Now there is nothing. The man lights a fire on the shore and prepares a meal. Before long his wife, his father, his friends, and his children; all the people he loves, arrive and gather with him on the island. All words are abandoned in a mixture of 8mm and 16mm footage. Images and poetry conjure a black-and-white world that transcends time and space. The sound of the river draws out that which is hidden, bringing a premonition of release toward that which lies beyond.