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International Short Film Festival Berlin Focus on Mexico

The 24th International Short Film Festival Berlin mounts a cinematic expedition to the tradition rich film scenes of Mexico and the autonomous Basque Region.

The programme features award winning cortos by up and coming young filmmakers, world renowned directors and actors as well as a selection of the best Basque short film productions from the past ten years.

No fewer than five programmes are dedicated to Mexico’s outstanding short film output: Directors such as Guillermo Del Toro and Alejandro González Iñárritu have enjoyed distinguished careers in Latin America for some time and have gradually become established in North America and Europe. Fernando Eimbcke was still an unknown director when his film “La suerte de la fea, a la bonita no le importa” was shown at interfilm Short Film Festival a few years ago. In the meantime however, Eimbcke has managed to scoop-up the Berlinale’s FIPRESCI-Award two years running, while earning a wide audience with his films "Lake Tahoe" and "Temporada de Patos".
Even celebrated Mexican actors including Salma Hayek and Gael García Bernal began their careers in shorts as revealed in the “Before Fame and Fortune” programme. In keeping with the "Día de los muertos" festivities held on 2 November, “When the Lights Go Out” is a collection of short films that reflect the multi-facetted but rarely sorrowful relationship that Mexicans have with death.
Not only does Basque short film have a long tradition in Europe, it seems as though two Oscar nominations and numerous awards at international festivals over the past few years have secured it a promising future. One of the main reasons for the international success of Basque short film can be credited to its support and promotion by the KIMUAK project, founded in 1998 by the cultural department of the Basque Government and the Basque Kinemathek. interfilm Short Film Festival presents a selection of Basque short films in two programmes, “Forever Young” and “Amor traumático” – work that is stunning, humorous and ceaselessly engaging.


Focus On Mexico

MEX 01 / When the Lights Go Out
Dancing skeletons with giant sombreros, skulls, alters and the so-called bread of the dead, Mexicans really do have a special relationship with death and often refer to it in the form of a joke, poem or song.
Film however, is a magnificent platform for celebrating this glorious and multi-facetted aspect of Mexican culture. While the films in this programme may have death as a common theme, it is addressed in ways entirely exotic to most Europeans. Let these Mexican directors take you on a journey to their fantastic, surreal, sarcastically humorous, tragic or sometimes completely accidental, visions of death.

MEX 02 / La vida y otras curiosidades
Show me your films and I'll tell you who you are. Even if it is impossible to represent the full diversity of Mexican film in just 90 minutes, this programme does offer an insight into the themes, techniques and stories that most occupy the filmmakers of Mexico. Haughty artists, a desperate roadside family, a robot that can't stand being watched and many other fascinating characters, powerfully transport the viewer to a variety of worlds revealing cultural aspects that leave you wanting more.

MEX 03 / Clips and Commercials
Young Mexican filmmakers are not likely to underestimate the promotional opportunity afforded by music video and commercial commissions. Even many established filmmakers exploit the genre as a creative exercise in sound and image. This collection illustrates their highly original work in this area.

MEX 04 / Before Fame and Fortune
Names such as Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Fernando Eimbcke are known to film lovers the world over. They were able to gain a foothold in North American and European film industries, thus resulting in multi-award winning work that has been consistently celebrated at international festivals. However, aside from their prize-winning feature films, it is important to remember that these filmmakers began their careers in short film. The same can be said of such illustrious, world-class actors like Salma Hayek and Gael García Bernal, whose early work can also be enjoyed in this programme of shorts by renowned Mexican directors.

MEX 05 / Una Década en Corto: The best of 10 years Expresión en Corto
Expresión en Corto is one of Latin America's most popular film festivals. Serving as a platform for the launching of new careers, this national and international competition pits newcomers alongside the industry's most seasoned veterans. In the amazingly beautiful host cities of San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato, a wonderful atmosphere of camaraderie and respect has been created where new and aspiring filmmakers mix with industry professionals in an open, accessible and competitive environment. The 2008 edition received 1,750 competition entries from 82 countries alone. This represents a small selection of the best Mexican short films, taken from eleven years of festival history.

Focus On the Basque Region
BA 01 / 10 years Basque Short Film - Forever Young
Come and be amazed: A programme for anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to be a human cannonball, who would give anything to win the lottery, or perhaps even give up their life to defend a loved one. This is for small kids and big kids with curious collections, for people who become enraged at injustice and for those who are likely to fall in love with someone because they play with words and adore absurdity. For all of you!
BA 02 / 10 years Basque Short Film - Amor traumático

What is it about love that makes us fall for it? Is it because love is so diverse that it offers something for everybody? Well that is definitely the case when it comes to this selection of Basque highlights from the last ten years. These films tell of crazy love, forbidden love, love at first sight, macabre love, motherly love, the “why are we calling this love when we actually mean sex” variety, wilting love and many others. A programme of love stories, without limits.

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