Venezuelan-based broadcaster Telesur has created a new prize for documentaries screened at the International Film Festival of New Latin American Cinema in Havana. The US$5,000 prize (a $1,000 prize, plus $4,000 for licensing) for the best documentary ‘about the south’ is the first Telesur has awarded at any film festival. According to Telesur president Andrés Izarra (pictured above), it reflects the new network’s interest in promoting the production and broadcasting of films focused on Latin American and Caribbean realities.
‘The prize is to help stimulate the production of cultural and informative content for a large audience, with the idea of presenting a counter-weight to media that are presently largely in the hands of the most conservative sectors throughout Latin America,’ Izarra said at the Dec. 13 ceremony.
For the moment, Telesur largely broadcasts news, debates, and interviews. The channel was launched in 2005 with support from a handful of Latin American governments with the goal of providing an antidote to us broadcasters such as cnn in Spanish, Miami-based Univision, as well as national media conglomerates in the region.
Two films tied for the prize: the Argentine film Colegiales, by Gustavo Laskier, and San Ernesto Nace en La Higuera, (Saint Ernesto was born in La Higuera), by Cubans Isabel Santos and Rafael Solís. They beat out 36 other documentaries.
Izarra said details on qualifying for the prize, including what qualifies as a ‘documentary about the south’ will be on Telesur’s website in early 2007.