Special Jury Award for Artistic Achievement
In the Hivos Tiger Competition at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2017

Audience Award at FICUNAM 2017

French Critic’s Prize at Cinelatino, 29th Rencontre de Toulouse





In 1860, a French lawyer dreamed of becoming the King of Patagonia. And he did just that. Or so it seems.

Cast & Crew

Writer and Director : Niles Atallah
Producer : Lucie Kalmar
Cast : Rodrigo Lisboa (Orllie-Antoine de Tounens), Claudio Riveros (Rosales)
Cinematography : Benjamín Echazarreta
Art direction : Natalia Geisse
Sound Design : Roberto Espinoza
Original music : Sebastián Jatz Rawicz
Editing : Benjamin Mirguet

Shooting format: Digital
Post-production shooting formats : 35mm, 16mm and Super8mm
Release format: DCP

Duration : 90′
Language : Spanish, Mapudungun
Year : 2017




Once upon a time, a man travelled to the end of the world. There, at the tip of recently independent South America, he founded his kingdom. It was 1860 and this French adventurer, Orllie-Antoine de Tounens, was perhaps a little crazy. Armed with a constitution penned by himself and a new flag, he fought his way through the rugged wilderness on horseback. After arriving he managed to unite the natives and was chosen to become their ruler. At least, that’s one version of this true story. Or, he was helped by a native traitor. He was a French spy! He succeeded, but was captured. Banished. Died. But returned? Who remembers the what and where of it? In Rey, the problems of history and memory are emphasised by the degradation of image and sound.

Director’s biography

Niles Atallah is a Chilean-American filmmaker and video artist who lives and works in Santiago, Chile. He was born in California in 1978. His first film “Lucía” premiered at the San Sebastián IFF, Zabaltegi New Directors in 2010. It was awarded the FIPRESCI Award at Cinelatino Toulouse and Best Chilean Director at the Valdivia IFF. In 2008, with artists Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León, he co-directed “Lucía, Luis y el lobo” shown in many festivals, gathering awards and 1 million online views.

2010    Lucía, drama, Chili, 80 min
2008    Lucía, Luis y el lobo, animated short-film, Chili, 4 min

To dive into Nile’s creative universe, you can visit his website.

Director’s statement

I first read about the king of Araucania and Patagonia in Bruce Chatwin’s book In Patagonia; but it wasn’t until years later, when I stumbled across a book written by the man himself, that I really became interested in this fascinating character.

The story I first encountered about this man goes something like this: A French lawyer by the name of Orllie-Antoine de Tounens went to Chile alone in 1858, driven only by the dream of establishing a kingdom in the independent Mapuche region of Araucania. Two years later, he crossed the Chilean border-without soldiers, weapons or international aid- and was elected king by the Mapuche leaders. In November 1860, he signed the declaration of Araucanian independence and proclaimed himself King Orllie-Antoine the First.

But Orllie-Antoine was soon detained and imprisoned by the Chilean government who had colonial interests in this region. And although he endured arrest, captivity in prison, public humiliation, and deportation back to France, he spent the rest of his life attempting to return. He never managed to defend the kingdom he dreamed of creating, nor have it recognized by the rest of the world.

After first encountering this fantastical narrative of Orllie-Antoine’s adventures what became apparent to me were the gaps in the historical record and the contradicting accounts of events. The more I delved into investigating him the more it seemed that almost nothing could really be proved with certainty. I began to realize that Orllie-Antoine was the source of virtually everything we know about him: principally his writings and his defense in Chilean court. Beyond this the historical record becomes extremely fragmented and often contradictory.

This is what really intrigued me: the enigmatic and utterly mystifying nature of this king and the scarce memory that remains of him today. Buried under layers of myths and legends, there is just enough concrete evidence of this man and his kingdom to prevent them both from slipping into total oblivion. However, there are so many holes in the story that only a fragmented vision can be pieced together at best.

“Rey” came into being as I sifted through the many pieces of this king’s story. I imagined a film that evoked an analogous experience in the spectator: a journey through a realm of forgotten dreams, the decaying memories and fantasies of a ghost. And like a fading memory, they remain a chimera to this day, a king and a kingdom that exist only in dreams.

Production credits

Produced by Mômerade (France) and Diluvio (Chili)

in coproduction with Circe Films (the Nertherlands), EYE Filmmuseum (the Netherlands), unafilm (Germany), Kine-Imagenes (Chile), Sonamos (Chile).

with the support of
Aide aux Cinémas du Monde – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée – Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du développement international – Institut français
Netherlands Film Fund + Hubert Bals Fund Co-production Scheme
Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
Torino FilmLab Production Award
Doha Film Institute Postproduction Fund
Torino FilmLab Distribution Fund
Aide au développement du scénario du festival d’Amiens
Hubert Bals Fund Development Fund

Press reviews

You can find the press review here.

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