Fina Torres (born October 7, 1951) is a Venezuelan film director and screenwriter. She became internationally recognized by winning the la Caméra d'Or award at the 1985 Cannes Film Festival with her directorial debut film, Oriana. Torres is perhaps best known for her work in Oriana and her collaboration with actress Patricia Velásquez in the lesbian drama, Liz in September (2014). She is considered to have unusual prominence as a Latin American film director as she moves from place to place to seek financing for her projects. She currently lives in Venezuela.
Fina Torres was born Caracas, Venezuela, as Josefini Torres Beneditti. She studied design, photography, and journalism and at the age of 17 became a photojournalist. She enrolled at the Neumann institute for Design in 1970 as a graphics design student and eventually also took social communication at Andrés Bello Catholic University. In 1974, she moved to Paris where she would earn a bachelor's degree in cinematography from the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques and spend the next 28 years of her life in the film industry. After Paris, she lived in the United States, Mexico, Singapore, and eventually returned to Venezuela, where she currently resides.
During her time in France, Torres worked as a photographer, camera operator, editor, and a film script supervisor. In 1980, Torres served as trainee assistant director to Nadine Trintignant on Premier Voyage (1979) She co-wrote a script with Catherine Philippe-Gérard, for which she secured production funds from both France's Arion Productions and Venezuela's state funding agency, FONCINE (Fondo de Fomento Cinematográfico de Venezuela). The result would be Torres' first film, Oriana, for which she won the la Caméra d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival. It was described by critic Vincent Camby in The New York Times as a "Gothic Romance" This made her one out of only two Venezuelans to receive awards at the festival, the other being film director Margot Benacerraf.
In 1996, Torres' second film Mécaniques célestes/Mecánicas celestes (Celestial Clockwork), was released to moderate critical acclaim as The Washington Post writer Hal Hinson called it, "an enchanting hybrid of film, music, and fantasy".
In 2000, Torres directed Woman on Top, her first film to feature a major star, Penélope Cruz. It was panned by critics including Katy Wilkinson in Sight and Sound. In 2010, Torres won the best feature film prize at the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival with her film Habana Eva. The film also won the Best Venezuelan Film prize at the Margarita Film Festival in Venezuela.
Though Torres is primarily recognized as a director due to her award at Cannes, she is also a prolific screenwriter, having written the scripts for the majority of her own films, as well as a number of scripts for other directors. She has said that she considers screenwriting to be the most challenging aspect of film-making and is a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD) of France.
Due to her success in international film festivals, Torres is one of the most recognizable Venezuelan filmmakers despite living abroad for much of her career. She has kept a focus on Latin America and Latin American themes throughout her career, and since moving back to Venezuela has taken part in a movement to aid in developing the Venezuelan national film industry.
In 1995 Torres was identified as part of a new movement in Latin American cinema focusing less on films with political themes as had been the norm, and more on universal themes like relationships and conflicts between traditional culture and modernity. Torres' films in particular, focus on strong female characters who defy patriarchal norms.
In an interview with GLAAD in 2015 she expressed a desire to help young gay and lesbian people through her film Liz in September. The film was an adaptation of "Last Summer at Bluefish Cove", a play known as part of the first wave of American gay theater and centers on LGBT themes. The film has a focus on Lesbian characters and issues and stars Venezuelan actress and model Patricia Velásquez, who identifies as lesbian.
- la Caméra d'Or for Oriana, (Cannes Film Festival, 1985)
- Best Feature Film for Habana Eva (Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, 2010)
- Best Venezuelan Film for Habana Eva (Margarita Film Festival, 2010)
Filmography (as director)
- Oriana (1985)
- Mécaniques célestes (Celestial Clockwork) (1995)
- Woman on Top (2000)
- Habana Eva ("Havana Eva" (2008)
- Liz en septiembre (2013)
- "Festival de Cannes: Oriana". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- Rist, Peter H. (2014). Historical Dictionary of South American Cinema. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 563. ISBN 978-0-8108-8036-8.
- Nelmes, Jill, and Jule Selbo. Women Screenwriters: An International Guide. Print.
- Canby, Vincent. "'Oriane,' A Gothic Romance." New York Times (New York), September 29, 1985. Accessed January 27, 2016. ProQuest.
- Hinson, Hal. "`Clockwork': Fantasy Time." Washington Post (Washington), August 9, 1996. Accessed January 27, 2016. ProQuest.
- Wilkinson, Katy. "Woman on Top." Sight and Sound 11, no. 2 (02, 2001): 57.
- "Habana Eva -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- Harvey, Dennis. "Film Review: 'Liz in September'" Variety. January 20, 2016. Accessed January 27, 2016. http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/liz-in-september-review-1201679719/.
- Vincent, Isabel. "A 'new Irreverence' Sweeps Latin America." The Globe and Mail (Toronto), September 13, 1995. Accessed January 27, 2016. ProQuest.
- Trasendes, Monica. "Actress Patricia Velásquez and Director Fina Torres on Their New Film 'Liz in September'" GLAAD. November 03, 2015. Accessed January 27, 2016. http://www.glaad.org/blog/actress-patricia-velásquez-and-director-fina-torres-their-new-film-liz-september.