A quick primer on the history of Chilean cinema and a few must-see tips.
The last ten years have been a period of sustained growth for Chilean cinema, and the local industry has been garlanded with such major prizes as the Oscar for Best Foreign Film for 2018's "A Fantastic Woman".
In far off South America, the first Chilean first feature-length film was “Manuel Rodríguez”, made by director Adolfo Urzúa in 1910, making Chile home to one of the oldest film industries on the continent.
A variety of stories have been brought to life on the Chilean big screen. From documentaries dealing with historical episodes, such as "Salvador Allende", "The Pinochet Case", "The Battle of Chile", "Portales, The Last Letter", to the acclaimed feature "No", starring Gael García Bernal and directed by Pablo Larraín, which gained Chile its first Oscar nomination in 2013.
"No" tells the story of the 1988 referendum through a narrative centred around a young publicist who has returned to Chile from exile in Mexico at the height of General Pinochet's military dictatorship to take a leading role in the "No" campaign, the eventual success of which led to the re-democratisation of the country.
Chile's abundant and variegated cultural heritage has also been a source of inspiration. The 2011 film "Neruda", also directed by Pablo Larraín, told the story of celebrated Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. "Violeta Went to Heaven" (2011), directed by Andrés Wood, which tells the story of Chilean folk-singer Violeta Parra, won the World Cinema Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival.
As for the comedy genre, Chile has managed to dethrone some international blockbusters with box-office hits in national theatres such as "The Sentimental Teaser" (three life stories taken from a famous radio show) and "Stefan vs. Kramer" (2012), the most viewed film in the history of Chilean cinema (it’s a parody of political and entertainment characters, by the talented comedian Stefan Kramer).
Other films that have left their marks at the box office were the comedies "F*ck My Life" (2010), the first of a trilogy by Nicolás López and one of the first Chilean films on Netflix; and more recently, "No Filter" (2016) a comedy of errors starring Paz Bascuñán which as remade in a Spanish version entitled "Empowered" with Maribel Verdú in the lead role.
In recent years Chilean cinema has managed to position itself as a rising industry, with innovative scripts, high quality directors and successful actors.
In 2016 a short film directed by Gabriel Osorio and Patricio Escala caused a sensation by winning the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for "Bear Story".
Without a doubt, Chile's greatest cinematic achievement was winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2018, with "A Fantastic Woman", directed by Sebastián Lelio and starring Daniela Vega.
The film recounts the misadventures of a transsexual woman, who, after the death of her partner, is faced with the criticism and contempt of a society that does not accept gender differences, a hot-button issue that opened a heated debate in Chile.
As the Chilean film industry has developed, opportunities have opened up for all kinds of film professionals, from directors, writers and actors, to directors of photography, costumes, advertising, dubbing, sound artists, costume designers and composers.
If you want to know a little more about the cinema of Chile cinema, here are a few titles that can be found on Netflix: “El bosque de Karadima” (2015), “F*ck My Life” (2010), “Special Forces” (2016), “No Filter” (2016), “Stefan vs Kramer” (2012). “La Once” (2014), “Redeemer” (2014), “Portales, The Last Letter” (2010), “The Summer of Flying Fish” (2013), “Miguel San Miguel” (2012).