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      Damián David Szifron

      Damián David Szifron

      Highest Rated: 94% Wild Tales (2014)

      Lowest Rated: 53% To Catch a Killer (2023)

      Birthday: Jul 9, 1975

      Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina

      Some writer-directors spend years helming film projects that receive local acclaim and then make such a huge splash on the festival circuit with a single effort that they instantly land in the global spotlight. Filmmaker Damián Szifron is just such an artist. Szifron already had a respectable seven projects under his belt - three features, two television series and two shorts, all made in Argentina - when his 2014 picture "Wild Tales" was released. This outrageous, provocative black comedy broke box office records in Argentina, earned glowing reviews from critics and festivalgoers and gleaned both an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and a Palme d'or nomination at Cannes. A native of Ramos Mejía in the province of Buenos Aires, Szifron was born in 1975 and grew up in a family of Argentine Jews. A film enthusiast from early childhood, he followed his cineaste father to as many as four or five theatrical screenings per day. During adolescence, he formally studied cinema at ORT high school and began shooting and editing low budget movies with his pals during his extracurricular hours; the friends would later declare him a genius, born to script, direct and edit. As a young adult, Szifron became a protégé of the controversial modernist film theorist Ángel Faretta, whose influences would guide and shape much of the content of his projects as well as his on-set approach to moviemaking. Szifron scripted and directed short subjects "Kan, el Trueno" (1997), "Punto muerto" (1998) and "Los últimos días" (1999), before emerging in 2002 with the hit comedy-mystery series Los simuladores (The Pretenders), a project co-created with Diego Peretti, Alejandro Fiore, and others; it ran for two seasons. Szifron then debuted as a feature director in 2003 with the thriller "El fondo del mar (The Bottom of the Sea)," the saga of a young architect tormented by suspicions of his girlfriend's infidelity; it received ten Silver Condor nominations (the Argentine Oscar), including Best Director for Szifron and Best Film, and won one (Gustavo Garzón for Best Supporting Actor). A sophomore feature, the buddy action comedy "Tiempo de valientes," co-starred Diego Peretti and Luis Luque in the tale of a psychologist and a depressed cop thrown into a homicide investigation together; like its predecessor, it received numerous Silver Condor nods, though it surprisingly won none of them. Szifron's second series, the 2006 "Hermano y detectives," continued its creator's interest in the comedy and crime genres. It starred Rodrigo de la Serna as Franco Montero, an Argentine detective who suddenly gets the assist of his genius-IQ brother on a series of cases. Local audiences flocked to the series, and it received a plethora of awards and award nominations in its native country, further cinching Szifron's reputation. However, "Wild Tales" (2014) brought Szifron his broadest acclaim. Allegedly written by Szifron on the fly, as an outlet for his occasional feelings of anger and frustration in day-to-day life, it presents six individual vignettes - many involving rage, revenge, and violence - that build to horrifying and ironic climaxes. The picture reached U.S. cinemas in late February 2015, just prior to the Academy Awards, and received outstanding notices from American critics.


      WILD TALES, (aka RELATOS SALVAJES), from left: Ricardo Darin, director Damian Szifron, on set, 2014. ©Sony Pictures Classics



      53% 62% To Catch a Killer Director,
      - 2023
      94% 92% Wild Tales Director,
      Film Editing
      $3.1M 2014
      No Score Yet 73% On Probation Director,
      - 2005
      No Score Yet 70% The Bottom of the Sea Director,
      - 2003