The 8th edition of Macondo Awards, hosted by the Colombian Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (ACACC), unfurled the red carpet for the country’s filmmakers, actors and actresses, all framed by a sparkling skyline of the country’s second-largest city – Medellín.

With a ceremonial dinner inside the iconic “Wooden Box” (Caja de Madera) of the Convention Center Plaza Mayor, the event included a rousing performance by homegrown rappers Crews Peligroso, and tribute to the late caleño filmmaker Luis Ospina (1949-2019) by Medellín’s acclaimed director Victor Gaviria (The Roseseller, Rodrigo D: No Future).

With 25 titles participating in Macondo, including an inaugural Best Latin American Film award, the Wayúu epic by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra – Pájaros de Verano – was expected to be among the big winners of the night, competing against two other features for Best Picture: Jhonny Hendrix’s Candelaria and Jorge Navas’ Somos Calentura.

Pájaros de Verano took top prize at Macondo VIII with Best Picture, as well as the awards for Direction (Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego), Art Direction (Angelica Perea), Actress (Carmiña Martínez), Supporting Actress (Natalia Reyes), Supporting Actor (John Narváez), Sound (Marco Salaverría), Costume (Catherine Rodríguez) and Cinematography (David Gallego). The film’s screenwriter Jacques Toulemonde received the award for Best Picture on behalf of co-directors Guerra and Gallego.

Jhonny Hendrix’s Candelaria, in which an elderly Cuban couple reignite their love affair with the help of a video camera, was also a big winner with Alden Knight given the Best Actor statuette, and one for its poignant Screenplay by writers María Camila Arias, Abel Arcos and Carlos Quintela.

The feature Somos Calentura, which tells the story of young men finding in hip-hop a means of escape from the gang violence that engulfs Colombia’s Pacific port of Buenaventura, won a Macondo for Best Original Song composed by Rocca/Junior Jein.

Daniela Abad’s documentary The Smiling Lombana received well-deserved recognition by the 520-member jury of the ACACC taking Macondos in two categories: Best Documentary and Best Original Music. Composer Camilo Sanabria received his second award in the same category after winning a 2018 Macondo for his musical score of the documentary Amazonas.

The theatregoing public also had their say with the jury giving the wartime drama Alma de Héroe by Orlando Pardo its Audience Award. Mexico’s Alfonso Cuarón took Best Latin American Film with his black and white period piece Roma.

With plenty of praise for Medellín by the evening’s presenters, Natalía Durán and Adriana Arango for embracing the country’s cinematic talent and location that will continue to inspire great storytelling, the directors of Premios Macondo announced that in 2020, another Colombian movie capital, Cali, will host the awards.