José Ignacio International Film Festival returns from Cannes with news that boosts the Uruguay’s film industry.

On a boat anchored in front of the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, representatives of the José Ignacio International Film Festival (JIIFF) organized various activities to showcase Uruguay's cultural identity to the world and promote the development of the national industry.

During the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, JIIFF was set up aboard the Alhambra, a boat that for one week served as a venue for meetings with prominent figures in the film industry. From May 14 to 20, JIIFF’s team hosted over 200 filmmakers, producers, sales agents, talents, agents, and decision-makers who wanted to learn about the festival and José Ignacio. They also produced more than 10 events aboard the Alhambra and participated in co-production meetings organized by the Uruguayan Film and Audiovisual Agency (ACAU) with film commissions from other countries and their delegations.

The most notable news from the stay included the launch of a new film fund created to stimulate the development of Ibero-American projects. "It is fantastic to present our Pfeffer Del Sur Fund, which will offer vital financing to further boost Latin American cinema on the world stage," said Fiona Pittaluga, director and co-founder of JIIFF, aboard the Alhambra. Accompanied by her partners Martín Cuinat, Mariana Rubio Pittaluga, and Pablo Mazzola, Pittaluga highlighted the collaboration and commitment of the Pfeffer family for unprecedented financial support that will benefit the work of young filmmakers. "This is the largest private fund in Latin America for the
encouragement and development of fiction feature films," she continued.

The week aboard the boat began with a camaraderie cocktail among Uruguayan filmmakers and producers, journalists, and special guests, celebrating the start of an intense week of work. As a welcome to the Alhambra, there was a premiere cocktail for the film "Simón de la montaña," a Uruguayan, Argentine, and Chilean co-production that won the Grand Prix at the Semaine de la Critique.

The Uruguayan delegation also included the ACAU team, led by its president Facundo Ponce de León, who emphasized the importance of having the boat facilities as a mobile office for managing potential strategic alliances.

The meetings organized at the JIIFF headquarters allowed for the exchange of projects and opportunities for international co-production through the presence of institutional representatives and producers from Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Italy. Additionally, the alliance with Locarno Pro was strengthened, resulting in a second edition of U30 Latam, a program aimed at film professionals under 30, organized in Uruguay.

There were also engagements with film commissions from around the world such as the German Federal Film Board (FFA), the General Directorate of Cinema of the Dominican Republic (DGCINE); the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE); Proimagenes Colombia; Roma Lazio of Italy; the Institute of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts of Spain; Cinema do Brasil; and the British Film Institute (BFI). This list includes countries with which the Working JIIFF industry space already has alliances, making the reunion in Cannes a great opportunity to continue building, strengthening, and deepening relationships, as well as creating bridges for mutual growth. Among these relationships, a new meeting with representatives of the British Film Institute stood out, following the signing – during the 14th edition of JIIFF in January – of a memorandum certifying a co-production agreement between Uruguay and the United Kingdom.

During the stay in Cannes, JIIFF’s team also built bridges with other festivals through a lunch attended by programmers and artistic directors. The aim was to work together and showcase the JIIFF experience. Representatives from the Les Arcs festival; New York; Venice; Torino Film Lab; Vision du Reel; Locarno FF; São Paulo International Film Festival; Guadalajara International Film Festival; Viennale; Thessaloniki International Film Festival; Berlinale;
Hamptons Film Festival; Aspen Film Festival; Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF); Mediterranean Film Festival and Kerala Film Festival participated. 

Another networking opportunity took place during the MUBI dinner in Cannes, held exclusively aboard the JIIFF boat for 30 talents, producers, and international filmmakers who were presenting their films at this edition of the Cannes Film Festival. MUBI is one of the most innovative streaming platforms in international cinema and is also a distributor with which JIIFF has maintained a relationship for years: many of the films programmed at the festival have been distributed by MUBI.

The Uruguay Party celebrated the efforts of the entire delegation, closing an intense schedule of activities that brought together over 200 filmmakers, producers, sales agents, and talents aboard to introduce JIIFF and Uruguay to the world. Each event featured JIIFF’s production style with gastronomy from Parador La Huella, Uruguayan drinks, and music from bar Ferona, aiming to bring the essence of José Ignacio to Cannes.