Laura Mora: Who Is the Winner of the Golden Shell in San Sebastian for “The Kings of the World”?

The San Sebastián Film Festival is one of the most important Spanish-speaking film competitions and has the Golden Shell as its main award. We tell you more about Colombian director Laura Mora and her award-winning film.

Laura Mora and frame from the film 'The Kings of the World'

Photo: ProImagenesColombia, YT-Ciudad Lunar Producciones

LatinAmerican Post | Ariennis Michel García Zerpa

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Leer en español: Laura Mora: ¿Quién es la ganadora de la Concha de Oro en San Sebastián por “Los reyes del mundo”?

Colombian cinema has great directors, and one of the most striking names of the last five years is Laura Mora. The Medellin-born filmmaker has just won the Golden Shell at the San Sebastián Film Festival for her second feature film, “The Kings of the World", a story around a journey of five teenagers.

If there is something to highlight in this 2022 edition of the festival, it is the feminine power behind the camera. Laura's victory means the third consecutive Golden Shell for a female director, but even better is the fact that it is the first for Colombia. The positive sensations of this news invite us to think that the feature film could continue to gain international recognition, in order to enter the race for more prestigious awards.

Who Is Laura Mora?

The path of the Colombian director began at the Center for Cinematographic Studies of Catalonia (Spain), to later finish her undergraduate degree in Film Direction and Production at the RMIT University in Melbourne (Australia). In the latter city, she specialized in Screenwriting and Directing, which led her to direct two short films: “West” (2005) and “Brotherhood” (2007).

Laura returned to Colombia in 2008 to give a different vision to national productions. Her contribution as assistant director was noted in projects such as "Operación Jaque", "El Cartel de los Sapos" or "Juego de Niños". In 2011, with the short film “Salomé”, she won the Cinematographic Development Fund award and the Best Short at the Barichara Film Festival.

By 2017, she would finish consecrating herself as one of the most talented directors in the country with her first film, "Matar a Jesús". This film, winner of several national and international awards, was shot in locations in Medellín and with the particularity of having non-professional actors. The plot is based on the biography of Laura herself, who lost her father at the hands of crime. In the end, it all comes down to a reflection of the precarious situation, which many young people live.

"The Kings of the World", another Drama Made of Pain

So far, the reviews for "The Kings of the World" have been nothing but positive: from brilliant and poetic to passionate and painful. Those who had the opportunity to see it say that it is one of the toughest and most beautiful films that have been screened at the San Sebastián Film Festival. In Colombia, we will have to wait until October 13 to know how much truth there is behind those comments.

For this occasion, Laura returns with the great expectations that she managed to generate with her previous project. The only difference is marked by the new narrative paths it takes, but always reflecting the current reality of the country. In fact, it is thanks to his metaphorical writing that she manages to capture the beauty of the story, capable of enveloping the protagonists in a kind of dreamy halo.

You can also read: Venice International Film Festival 2022: Controversy and Praise

"The Kings of the World" shows the journey of a group of homeless and familyless teenagers in search of a change in their lives. Friendship and dignity are the foundations that sustain the fraternity between Rá, Culebro, Sere, Winny and Nano, who leave behind the dangerous streets of Medellín to enter the unknown world of the interior of the country. In the end, it all boils down to trying to have the same opportunities as anyone else, something that the country constantly denies them.

This work, in a certain way, manages to dialogue with "Matar a Jesús" in some aspects. And the thing is that Laura's idea is to once again turn those who have no place or voice in the world into protagonists. Even the five teenagers (Carlos Castañeda, Davison Florez, Brahian Acevedo, Cristian Campaña and Cristian Duque) also have the particularity of not being professional in acting, although that is the least of it when behind the camera lens is the realistic vision of a director with a vocation.

Laura Mora's second film lasts 103 minutes and is a Colombian co-production with Luxembourg, France, Mexico, and Norway. The script is co-written by María Camila Arias, the photography by David Gallego, and the music is shared by Leonardo Heiblum and Alexis Ruiz. This extraordinary work is able to focus the beauty within the atrocities that the world emanates, and that pain that will be worth seeing in the cinema.


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