Dominican Republic filmmaker Leticia Tonos’ sci-fi drama “Aire” has won the inaugural Fantastic Latido Award at the Cannes Film Market’s new Fantastic Pavilion genre hub.
Presented by Madrid-based Latido Films, the Fantastic Latido Award offers international sales representation for the winning film.
“Aire” centers on Tania, a conservation biologist living in a future dystopian world where the human race has been reduced to extinction level by pollution and disease. In an effort to keep her species from disappearing completely, she tries with the help of Vida, an artificial intelligence system, to self-inseminate herself.
Her life with the AI system is disrupted, however, when Azarias, a mysterious traveler, arrives, creating a tense and dangerously toxic three-way relationship.
“Aire” stars Sophie Gaelle Gomez (“Rosario Tijeras”), Dominican actor Jalsen Santana and Spain’s Paz Vega as the voice of Vida.
Produced by Tonos’ Producciones Línea Espiral SRL and Lantica Media along with Spain’s Menos es Más and Contrasentido, “Aire” was largely shot at Pinewood Dominican Republic Studios, where sizable sets for the production were built. Lantica also operates facilities at the studios.
“‘Aire’ is probably one of the most ambitious films coming from the Dominican Republic,” said Latido CEO Antonio Saura. “A beautiful story of faith and survival in an apocalyptic world, using to its maximum expression the opportunity of shooting in the great studios that Lantica has on the island.
“In a very personal style, with a slow pace at the beginning that gradually evolves into a thriller, Leticia shows us her masterful control of the environment she has created, creating some of the most amazing images we have seen coming out of Latam cinema. What she does with the budget she had is a lesson for future creators on how to deliver great sci-fi by just putting to work the imagination,” Saura added.
“Sci-fi has been an almost prohibited genre in Latin America, even more so in the Caribbean,” Tonos pointed out. “I think that’s why precisely the fact of assuming this challenge with all of its consequences is what has given a very particular gaze to ‘Aire’. We want to be part of the conversation about our future as human beings on this Earth, and for a long time we have been left out.”
“We are proud and happy that in its very first edition the Fantastic Latido Award found in ‘Aire’ a very strong winner from the Caribbean, a region that with only a burgeoning effort to shed light on the Ibero-American genre output succeeded in stand-ing out among very strong proposals from all over the region,” added Pablo Guisa Koestinger, Fantastic Pavilion’s executive director and CEO of Mexico City-based Grupo Mórbido.
Latido Films selected the Dominican sci-fi project after “long deliberation and watching several very strong genre films.”
The Fantastic Pavilion received more than 50 submitted projects from several countries, including Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.
Fantastic Pavilion organizers said the “rich sub-genre diversity of the region’s output was palpable in the submissions,” with proposals ranging from slasher, thriller and paranormal horror to dark comedy and animated sci-fi.
Latido Films’ own recent foray into the realm of genre films has met with success, with a growing roster that has included such hits as “The Platform” and “Virus 32.” The company is about to release Pablo Hernando’s sci-fi thriller “A Whale” and Simón Casal’s dystopian drama “Artificial Justice.”