EXCLUSIVE: Announced just now as the opener of the 2020 International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA), Paraguayan director Arami Ullón’s latest feature Apenas El Sol has landed sales representation with London-based Film Republic.
The film will open the highly regarded Dutch documentary fest on November 18, screening in competition. The event is taking place in a hybrid form this year with on-site screenings and online programming.
Apenas El Sol follows Mateo Sobode Chiqueno. Since the 1970s, he has been recording stories, songs, and testimonies of his Ayoreo people on an old tape recorder. Facing the consequences of a violent uprooting and in an attempt to preserve fragments of a disappearing culture, Mateo walks across communities in the arid and desolate Paraguayan Chaco region.
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The film is produced by Pascal Trächslin for Cineworx Filmproduktion in Switzerland and Arami Ullón for Arami Ullón Cine in Paraguay.
Director Arami Ullón’s previous work includes the award-winning documentary Cloudy Times (El Tiempo Nublado), which was Paraguay’s first ever submission for the Academy Awards.
“When I left Paraguay almost 13 years ago, I was not aware of the existence of people still living in isolation in the Paraguayan Chaco region,” said Ullón. “Eight years ago I read about them in an article and learned that most of them have been systematically exiled since the 1960s, but there are still groups that live free and nomadic, without contact with the white world. This revelation confronted me with my own ignorance of the diverse realities that constitute the Paraguay that I left behind.”
Xavier Henry-Rashid, Founder and Managing Director of Film Republic, added, “Arami Ullón has accomplished an incredible feat, both in her documentation of the plight of the Ayoreo as well as opening the most important documentary festival in the world. Having previously worked on Arami’s debut feature Cloudy Times, we’re humbled to take Apenas El Sol into the market, and I’m glad to see her cemented as one of the truly remarkable filmmakers of today.”