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Alliance Française Rewards Emerging Puerto Rican Filmmakers

Every spring, the Alliance Française of Puerto Rico presents the European Film Festival in San Juan, El Festival del Cine Europeo. This annual rendez-vous has become the place to be for cinema lovers who want to discover movies from all over Europe. Although the festival’s primary purpose is to bring European cinema to Puerto Rico, it also strives to promote and support the local filmmaking industry.

One of the key moments of this year's 9th edition was the présentation of the feature film « El Silencio del Viento » by Álvaro Aponte-Centeno, a Franco-Puerto Rican co-production and a result of the support from the Alliance française to the local film industry through the festival's short film competition open to film students and local emerging filmmakers. The film was since presented in several film festivals in the world, among them the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Iberoamericano de la Habana, Cuba 2017, and the festival Mar del Plata Film Festival 2017 in Argentina where it received the best film award in the category  ACCA Jury Special Mention, but also the prize of best actress attributed to Kairiana Nuñez Santaliz. More recently,  it was presented at  Festival Cinélatino 2018 in Toulouse where it was rewarded with the prize GRAND PRIX COUP DE COEUR / mention spécial as well as the Prix spécial 15 ans (du Rail d'Oc).  

Synopsis of « El Silencio del Viento » by Álvaro Aponte-Centeno:
A man tries to cope with the death of his sister, but cannot because he must continue working with the illegal business of bringing undocumented immigrants from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.

The festival culminated with a closing evening that presented the short films in competion. Entries had to be documentary films under 20 minutes that are character driven.The three films in competition were:

- "Anthony Legrand"  by Gisela Rosario

- "Corazón Loiza" by Llama Sanfiorenzo and Marget Mair

- "El Hombre que nadie conoció"  by Oswaldo Colón

The audience rewarded "El Hombre que nadie conoció"  by Oswaldo Colón for best film. Oswaldo Colón Ortiz (born Aibonito, PR, 1990), graduated from the film school at Syracuse University in New York, and obtained a Master’s degree in Film Direction from the Escuela Superior de Cine y Audiovisuales de Cataluña (ESCAC) in Barcelona, Spain. He has since worked and directed various films and documentaries, as well as comercial advertisements.

Synopsis of "El Hombre que nadie conoció"  by Oswaldo Colón
Don Enrique has always felt like an artist. At 75, he still has the lifestyle which, for the good and the bad, has made him who he is. Although he has always lived alone, many know him and respect him. He spends most of his time around his house where he runs a pulguero (flea market) with which he earns his living. Then, at times, he puts on the most bizarre and colorful outfit possible, climbs into his brand spanking new Nissan pick-up (which he changes every year for a new model), and drives through the streets of San Juan with Disco music blaring full blast.

More about the Puerto Rican film competition

Image: still from "El Hombre que nadie conoció"  by Oswaldo Colón