April in Buenos Aires means one thing for film lovers — it’s film festival time. The Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Film is a 11-day movie extravaganza showing some of the world’s best independent cinema in theaters across the city.
Known by its Spanish acronym, BAFICI, the festival is now its 19th year.
In 1999 the Buenos Aires Culture Department began hosting this yearly festival to showcase the planet’s most provocative, bizarre and touching independent films of every genre. Today, BAFICI is one of the world’s largest independent film festivals with hundreds of film screenings seen by nearly 300,000 filmgoers.
The festival always has a heavy representation of local productions and has served as an excellent promotion vehicle for independent Argentine films. Argentina is a leader in South American cinema alongside Mexico, Brazil and Cuba. Since the emergence of the 1990’s ‘new cinema’ movement, the national film industry has been on an upswing.
The 2009’s Academy Award winner, The Secret in their Eyes is the latest national film that proves Argentina is just hitting its stride on the world stage.
Categories and Awards
For those who don’t speak Spanish, the film festival offers an opportunity to see independent Latin American films in the theater with English subtitles. Non-English films are subtitled in Spanish, and in recent years all but the most obscure films in languages other than Spanish also feature English subtitles.
The festival provides the chance to talk with producers, directors and actors about their films, especially in questions and answer sessions that take place after selected screenings.
Awards are handed out in the following categories: Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Script. The Argentine feature film competition and short film competition have separate awards for the first two categories. Filmgoers are invited to vote on films they see for the People Choice Award. Other awards include I.Sat’s ‘Film of The Future’ award, Best Children’s Film and a UNICEF human rights award.
Thematic categories include Panorama, Trajectories, The Land Trembles, Places, People and Personalities, Music, Nocturnal, Modern Classics and Dialogues. Films are for those 18 and over, but kids aren’t excluded — since 2009 the BAFICITI category of the festival offers film for children.
Many of the city’s film students and other cinephiles dedicate their lives to seeing as many films as possible during BAFICI. You’ll see them hanging around Recoleta Village and other theaters all day with short breaks to visit local eateries and cafés, to hobnob with festival participants and other film-goers.
No matter how dedicated, movie-goers can’t see it all, so it pays to plan well. If seeing multiple films in one day, check the length of the films and make sure the theaters are close enough to one another to arrive in time.
In the last five years BAFICI has seen a huge increase in participation. Tickets for the official selections sell out quick. Your best bet is to buy tickets in advance online.
Serious filmgoers can purchase the official catalog for in-depth descriptions of the films and other relevant information. You can check the schedule of films online or pick up a free basic program at Centro Cultural Recoleta.
Other events include free educational workshops by Fujicolor and INCAA (National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts), concerts, book presentations and talks with film directors.
Check the day by day list of films on BAFICI’s official webpage. To buy tickets online, open an account with Tu Entrada and have a major credit card on hand for purchase. They charge a small fee to buy online.
A handful of tickets are reserved for the day of the show, to be purchased at the theater. Your best bet if buying in person is to get to the theater box office bright and early. Tickets can also be purchased at the Casa de la Cultura, Av. De Mayo 575 everyday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Apr 19 – Apr 30 2017
• Cost: AR$$/ AR$ (students and seniors with I.D.) per film
Village Recoleta Mall
Vicente López 2050, 4th Floor
Complejo Village Caballito
Avenida Rivadavia 5071
Av. Cabildo 2829
Anfiteatro del Parque Centenario
Av. Ángel Gallardo y Leopoldo Marecha
Planetario de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires ‘Galileo Galilei’
Av. Sarmiento y Belisario Roldán
El Cultural San Martín
Paraná & Sarmiento
Teatro San Martín
Leopoldo Lugones Salon
Av. Corrientes 1530 Floor 10º
Usina del Arte
A. Caffarena 1 & Don Pedro de Mendoza
Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415
Av. Pedro de Mendoza 1929
Av. Córdoba 946
• Plan well and buy online to get tickets to the films you want to see
• If you buy online, don’t forget your I.D. when you go to pick up your tickets
• Don’t show up late for screenings: despite the fact that this is Argentina where lateness is not too taboo, latecomers are turned away
• Snacks, sodas and beer are sold at most of the theaters. Costs and calories can add up, so consider packing snacks for all-day movie going
→ Read an interview with the director of BAFICI