It used to be that Peruvian film buffs had to solely make do with whatever was on offer at the local multiplex for their moviegoing needs. In recent years, a number of events have aimed to change all that, by introducing audiences to different types of filmmaking from Latin America and the rest of the world. Lima Independiente is one of these.
This emerging festival was founded in 2011 by the Peruvian Association of Independent Cinema, a collective of directors, actors, writers and other industry professionals that embrace risk-taking in films. Their goal is to build an entire distribution system for smaller, more artistic films and make them readily available to local audiences.
The festival is the perfect vehicle for this. In its third edition, which lasts from 13 to 23 June, it has gone global, boasting Thailand's Apichatpong Weerasethakul as a guest of honor. In addition to screening 2010 Palme D'Or Winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives and his latest film, Mekong Hotel, the director will lead a three-day seminar on independent filmmaking with two fellow guests, French director Sylvain George (Les Eclats) and Argentinian José Celestino Campusano.
The International Competition has expanded from exclusively showcasing Latin American and Spanish films to include films from other countries. There are some interesting standouts this year, such as Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's Leviathan, a doco about the commercial fishing industry; Libbie Cohn and J.D. Sniadecki's People's Park, a 75-minute single-take journey through a public park in Chengdu, China; and Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing, where former Indonesian death squad leaders recreate mass killings in the style of Hollywood genre films.
The National Competition, meanwhile, continues to be a showcase for emerging local directors. With one full-length film, 10 short films (which range from 2 to 20 minutes in length) and five medium-lengths, it is a varied roster of Peruvian talent, some of whom are returning faces to the fest, such as short film directors Tilsa Otta and Karina Cáceres.
French director/photographer/writer Chris Marker (aka the guy who came up with 12 Monkeys before Terry Gilliam) is also the just recipient of a tribute made up of his best short films. This is only one of many parallel activities, which include a selection of films from the latest editions of Chile's Cine//B Festival, Spain's Márgenes, and Brazil's Mostra do Filme Livre, which amusingly includes Rodrigo Aragao's Mud Zombies, which has been called Brazil's answer to Dead Alive.
With such a healthy selection of films, 2013's Lima Independiente is shaping up to be a moviegoer's welcome break from the multiplex, which this week is all about Superman saving Metropolis.
Have a look at the festival's hypnotic promo below.