South Social Film Festival’s Chilean flavour in Elephant Park
South Social Film Festival returns to Elephant Park this month to celebrate vibrant Chile through a free event with cinema, food and music.
We talked to festival director Paola Melli about what the audience was treated to, and why Elephant Park is the perfect open-air venue to enjoy independent cinema.
What is South Social Film Festival?
We launched in 2015 as a not-for-profit organisation with the focus on celebrating independent world cinema. Over the past four years, we have toured south London bringing our festivals to many locations, including The Cinema Museum, Kennington, the Moving Pictures Cinema at Mercato Metropolitano and Elephant Park. Our part of London doesn’t have as many festivals as the rest, and we are trying to change that.
What can audiences expect from one of South Social’s events?
We are focused on exploring different cultures, so every event we hold is themed around a country and divided into three elements – independent cinema, music and food. At our Elephant Park event, we explored Chile and delicious Chilean food, live music from Chilean duo Silvia Balducci and Daniel Jimenez, followed by the screening of Tarde Para Morir Joven (Too Late to Die Young). So far, we have celebrated 30 countries in this way and, I have to say, through the use of images, sounds and flavours, all have been emotional experiences.
Why did you choose Chile as the subject of the festival?
Chile has a strong, independent cinema scene with an incredible sense of style and creativity. I really believe that Chilean cinema is up and coming right now and that Chile itself is a fascinating country that deserves to be explored.
Why did you choose Tarde Para Morir Joven as the film to be screened at the Elephant Park festival?
I met the director of the film – Dominga Sotomayor – two years ago during a seminar at the Venice Film Festival. She’s a brilliant filmmaker. This is only her second film but she’s already like a pro filmmaker. She hits on all the right spots about Latin America and then of course Chile, her own country.
What is the film about?
It’s a coming-of-age story. It’s set in Chile in 1990, just after the fall of the Pinochet dictatorship. Sofia is a young girl who has moved with her family from Santiago to a semi-hippy community just outside of the city. They have moved to live an easier life away from the constrictions imposed by the dictatorship. The film follows her falling in love, having relationships, trying to understand her own identity. It’s a very sweet film but also a hard movie, because growing up is not an easy task.
This is the second year that South Social has held a festival at Elephant Park. What makes it a good venue?
The Elephant and Castle area is full of diversity and is buzzing right now. It has seen many changes in recent years and, unfortunately, to get to where it is now some people have been affected, which is why free, community events like this are so important. Elephant Park is a great community place, which is already being well used. It’s intimate and is the perfect place to put down a blanket and enjoy some fantastic outside cinema, live music and delicious food.