Sundance Film Festival: ‘Young and Wild’ Chilean Film Explodes at Fest

Marialy Rivas

Marialy Rivas  (2012 Getty Images)

The girl is on fire. The Chilean film, "Young and Wild," has exploded across the independent film world and thrust the young female director, Marialy Rivas, to the national limelight.

The controversial movie details the life of Chilean teen Daniela, played by Alicia Luz Rodríguez, who is raised by a strict Evangelical family, yet finds meaning in her life through her bisexual adventures in Chile, once considered home to one of the most conservative cultures in Latin America.

The film is based on the true sexual escapades of Chilean blogger, Camila Gutierrez. Rivalas said the blogger, whom she worked with in creating the film, inspired her. She said Gutierrez was "brave" and "smart, and darkly funny."
Yet Rivalas, 35, who with this film has been called a talent to watch by film critics, can also be safely described in those terms.

"Using a barrage of images whose boldness, rapidity, explicitness and ultimate ephemerality," wrote Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter earlier this year. "This rambunctious work reeks of life's juices unleashed."

Not only has "Young and Wild," received encouraging reviews but Rivalas, and her team, also were presented with the World Cinema Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

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After a showing in Miami at the Coral Gables Art Cinema, Fox News Latino interviewed the director before her trip to Cuba for another festival.

"I am very, very happy and amazed by the reception. I am so thankful for the audiences and the critics, that they like the movie," Rivalas said during the interview.  

The movie has also bred controversy, especially in Chile because of its sexual overtones.  

"I am very surprised because I think sex is very natural," Rivalas says about the film's storyline, which has been criticized by conservative critics in Latin America. "I don't understand why all the fuss about being sexual. I think we all are, and it is really healthy."

While the "Young and Wild" film reviews have been largely positive, overall the movie has had an impact on Latinas seeking to become directors. While there have been a number of well-known Hispanic male directors, there are very few Latina directors that have made such an impact.

"You start doing the movie because you love the story and then you don't know which places it is going to take you," Rivalas said. " But if it takes me to a place where I can inspire anybody, it would be fantastic."

The Chilean director's childhood during the fascist regime of Augustin Pinochet, who was known to persecute Chilean artists, helped foment her creative path, she says.

"I knew I wanted to make movies since I was 7 years old," said Rivalas, who is outspoken about being gay. "Growing up in a country that had this very bad dictatorship of Pinochet taught me to go for what you want, even if everything is against you."

Rivalas said she was eager to see what kind of feedback her film received in Cuba.

"I am excited to watch the film there because it is such a different culture," Rivalas said about her upcoming visit to Cuba. "I have heard it is such a machista country. It is playing at the movie theatre now. So I'm really hoping to see the reaction."

Serafin Gomez is a White House Producer for FOX News Channel, who also covered the 2016 election as a Special Events & Politics producer and former special campaign correspondent for Fox News Latino. Fin formerly worked as the Miami Bureau Producer for Fox News Channel where he covered Florida Politics & Latin America. Follow him on Twitter: @Finnygo