The Cine B festival celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and in this time it has punched its way into public consciousness as Santiago’s most diverse and alternative cinematic event. With over 700 films showing in venues haphazardly scattered all over the city, the festival engulfs the film circuit like a hungry octopus dredging up the seabed, and its enormous array of independent productions ranges from the family to the freakish. Encompassing feature films, short films, documentaries, music videos and even porn, there are few cultural events which can claim to match Cine B’s heady eclecticism.
All are invited to submit an entry, which gives the festival a distinct leaning towards highly alternative filmmaking as it provides a platform for anyone from first-year film students to internationally renowned art-house directors such as Gaspar Noe or Michel Gondry to bring their work to the Chilean public. Many of these films lack sufficient audience appeal to generate interest from established cinemas, meaning that Cine B plays a key role in their promotion and realization. There is a lot of low-budget but high-concept cinema, independent DIY filmmaking that bristles with ideas and originality, and the sheer depth of the festival makes it of immense interest to fans of alternative film.
Cine B began life in 2008 as an outlet for experimental filmmaking that is shunned by mainstream distributors due to its tendency to stray off the path of standard convention. Set up by a group of young cineastas, its mission has been to boost the profile of those low down the industry hierarchy, or those who still have to climb just to reach the bottom. The democratization of filmmaking has led to a new wave of avant-garde directors, writers, producers and actors, and advances in the internet and technology have created greater opportunities of self-production, with lower costs involved. There is now a thriving, twisting and multiplying global underground film movement that rarely reaches the bright light of the mainstream, lurking instead in the shadows yet sating a growing thirst among film fans for innovative visual concepts that are sorely lacking in the mainstream.
It is a festival that eliminates the discriminatory practices of loftier film festivals, which tend to reject productions that aren’t printed on 35mm reel or which can’t offer strong assurances of large audiences. The low-key profile of much Cine B material and its even lower admission prices (which range from free to $1000 Chilean pesos) allows the festival to take chances and screen films with little commercial appeal, with the result being a wide range of intriguing and inventive filmmaking on show. Of course, it’s always possible that something you see may send you scrambling frantically for the exit door but surely that’s the whole point of alternative cinema: it doesn’t appeal to everyone.
For filmmakers, the application process to Cine B is straightforward: send them your film. All films received are viewed before a decision is taken about their inclusion in the festival and there are no rules regarding any of the typical guidelines regarding content, length, language or whatever. For further details, check the website. Closing date for applications is Friday 14th September 2012.
This year’s event will run from 23rd – 30th November and will be held in numerous venues around Santiago.