International Film Festival
Mar del Plata was the first venue in Argentina to host an International Film Festival in 1954. The first festival, greatly supported by the audience, was characterized by its magnificence, the importance of the international personalities invited and the peculiarity that it was not a competitive festival.
Hollywood was represented by Errol Flynn, Mary Pickford, Joan Fontaine, Claire Trevor and Anne Miller; France by Viviane Romance and Jeanne Moreau; Italy by Gina Lollobrigida, Alberto Sordi and Isa Miranda; Spain by Fernando Fernán Gómez, Aurora Batista and Ana Mariscal. Lil Dagover from Germany and Norman McLaren from Canada were two special guests.
Five years later, in 1959, the first International Film Festival, classified by the FIAPF as Category A (like Berlin, Cannes, Venice and San Sebastian) was organized by the Argentinian Association of Film Journalists.
The II, III, IV and V festivals in 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 respectively; confirmed the importance of Mar del Plata within the film industry. In those events, prizes were awarded to directors such as Cluzot, Truffaut and Risi and stars such as Albert Finney, Paul Newman, Tom Courtney and Susan Strasberg.
In 1964, the Festival was moved to Buenos Aires but due to the identification of the event with Mar del Plata, it returned to its original host in 1965, when Claude Lelouch was elected best director and actors like Toshiro Mifune and Maximilian Schell were invited. In 1966, during the VIII Festival, Mireille Darc was awarded best actress.
The last editions of the festival before 1996 took place in 1968 and 1970. Alberto Sordi, Jacques Tati, Claudine Augier, Senta Berger, Ugo Tognazzi, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Lee Strasberg and Maria Callas were among the stars invited.
It took 26 years to recover the Festival, after the closing ceremony on March 15th, 1970.
In 1996 Mar del Plata renewed the event at the XI International Film Festival.
The Festival represents a perfect mix of art, theory, critique, marketing, industry and popular appeal.
"THE OLD FESTIVAL"
In 1959, the Film Critic Association had the idea to launch the Mar del Plata International Film Festival, promoting the newest world cinema. It became one of the most prestigious Festivals in the world, and the biggest in Latin America. "CUANDO HUYE EL DÍA", by Ingmar Bergman, was the first feature film awarded at the Festival. Then, awards for "LOS COMPAÑEROS", in 1964, "BONNIE & CLYDE", in 1968, and the Brazilian "MACUNAIMA" in 1970 came along. In those first years, the Festival invited prominent cultural personalities such as Francois Truffaut, one of the most charming Nouvelle Vague directors, Cesare Zavattini, leader of the New Realist Italian Cinema, Vincent Minelli, a magician of North America’s musicals and Emilio “Indio” Fernández, from Mexico, just to mention some of the prestigious directors attending the Mar del Plata International Film Festival. Glamour was also present in Mar del Plata those years: María Callas showed "Medea", her unique film, together with Pier Paolo Pasolini. Jean Paul Belmondo, Catherine Deneuve, Vittorio Gassman, Toshiro Mifune, James Mason and Anthony Perkins. Humour was not absent, with Cantinflas or Jacques Tati walking between Bristol’s sea lions, famous monument at the seaside resort. All these celebrities, and many others, were part of the Festival’ s 1st decade of existence till 1970.
"THE NEW FESTIVAL"
In 1996 -and after 26 years’ absence- the National Film Institute recovered the Festival: an "A" Class film festival, unique in Latin America. Among the guests, several cinema legends were present at the Hermitage Hotel where Press conferences took place: Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, Libertad Lamarque, Carlos Hugo Christensen, Jacqueline Bisset and Sonia Braga. The Jury has been always formed by artists and recognised film critics: Latin American directors Nelson Pereira dos Santos and Arturo Ripstein, writer Alain Robbe-Grillet and Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami.
The Mar del Plata International Film Festival is still the most relevant competitive festival in the continent. Its audience average is 150,000 spectators. Producers, exhibitors, distributors and journalists from all over the world meet there, contributing to the global promotion of the event and the films