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Desperately Seeking Studio: Agustina San Martín’s To Kill the Beast

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Desperately Seeking Studio: Agustina San Martín’s To Kill the Beast

Hi eric.

Despite the accolades (awards, festival prizes, and critical praise), sometimes a film that we are big on and seemingly has a very bright future ahead will, for a variety of reasons, fail to connect with U.S distributor gatekeepers. A play of words on the 1985 Susan Seidelman film, our Desperately Seeking Studio feature is our way of putting the spotlight on one unique gem that is so deserving of connecting with audiences. It’s our way of saying, “Hey, it’s not too late, what about this?!” This month we put the focus back on: Agustina San Martín‘s To Kill the Beast.

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Agustina San Martín To Kill The Beast

Prior to moving into her feature film debut, Buenos Aires, Argentina born Agustina San Martín put out a trio of shorts with the last being 2019’s Cannes Film Festival Short Film Official Comp Jury Prize winning Monster God. Not much time after, she began production on Matar a la bestia (To Kill the Beast) (a project she had been workshopping since 2016). Selected to world premiere in the Discovery section at the Toronto Intl. FIlm Festival in on 2021, the Argentina-Brazil-Chilean co-production has premiered at the Mar del Plata Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival and Göteborg Film Festival and was theatrically released in Argentina and France this past summer.

Filling her world with jungle mists and sounds, San Martín wraps the viewer in a dreamscape where soul-searching is a sweaty, sensuous exercise.” Hammer To Nail

…we let the atmosphere (both visually and aurally) wash over us to experience the excitement underlying this notion of the unknown onscreen. While the beasts feed the townspeople’s’ fears by declaring themselves the heroes they need to survive, Emilia discovers all she needs is the strength to let herself be happy.” The Film Stage

A kind of progressive cinema, as we say of certain music, one of the kick-offs was the work of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, followed more or less by many others.Liberation


Have you seen To Kill the Beast? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. Also, let us know what arthouse film we should profile – one that is lost at sea and has not landed a U.S distribution deal.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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