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Red Hot: Mexican Films In Miami

This year, the Miami International Film Festival is putting a special spotlight on new Mexican films. Not only is this industry’s cinema among the most influential in the world right now, but this year’s MIFF ABROAD program, sponsored by American Airlines, will bring a group of US film industry professionals to network with their Mexican colleagues in August of this year. MIFF ABROAD is an industry exchange program linking film professionals from around the world with Latin America, hosting panels, discussions and events designed to facilitate film business and industry connections. This year’s program with Mexico is co-presented with FICCO (Festival Internacional de Cine Contemporáneo de la Ciudad de México) in collaboration with IMCINE.

Mexican cinema has been an active resource since the silent film era. Specializing in everything from rural melodramas to gothic horror films to political diatribes, the cinema from our closest border has always maintained a high profile in the cinema world. However, in the past decade, there has literally been an explosion of new talents, which has been dubbed El Nuevo Cine Mexicano (New Mexican Cinema). With such leading lights as directors Arturo Ripstein, Alfonso Arau, Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro and María Novaro, and such famous films as LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE (1992), CRONOS (1993), AMORES PERROS (2001), Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN (2002) and last year’s PAN’S LABYRINTH, Mexican cinema has become an international powerhouse. A few Mexican actors have even become full-fledged international movie stars, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and Salma Hayek.

The Festival is showcasing twelve individual Mexican projects this year….9 features, 2 short films and one project in development in the MIAMI ENCUENTROS program. In fact, the Festival led off with a Mexican film, LA MISMA LUNA, which is destined to join the list of films that captured the imagination of a worldwide audience.

In the Ibero-American Cinema Competition, four Mexican films are competing for the $25,000 Knight Foundation award. COCHOCHI (Israel Cárdenas, Laura Amelia Guzmán), PÁRPADOS AZULES (Ernesto Contreras), PARTES USADAS (Aarón Fernández) and LA ZONA (Rodrigo Plá) are all examples of the sophisticated and compelling new talents emerging from the “second generation” of Mexican film auteurs.

LOS LADRONES VIEJOS (Everardo González Reyes)a fascinating look at the crime underworld of Mexico City in the 1960s, is competing in the Festival’s Documentary Competition. The film won Best Documentary honors at the Guadalajara Film Festival, Mexico’s most prestigious film event. In the International Panorama section, two films that have been making waves on the international film circuit are being presented. DÉFICIT is the directorial debut of actor Gael García Bernal (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES), which had its international premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. STELLET LICHT (Silent Light), a film about faith and temptation, has won numerous Festival prizes, including awards at the Cannes, Chicago, Havana, Lima and Rio de Janeiro film festivals.

Among the newest talents from the dynamic Mexican film scene are its makers of short films. The Festival is showcasing three films in its Shorts Programs, including LOS AMOROSOS (José Luis Solís), NIÑA QUE ESPERA (Esteban Reyes), and VER LLOVER (Elisa Miller). In the MIAMI ENCUENTROS program, where a select group of Latin filmmakers have a chance to pitch their projects in development to assembled industry professionals, Mexico is represented by CHAPULTEPUNK (Renato Ornelas), an atmospheric drama about the young drifters who hang out in Mexico City’s famed Chaputepec Park.

So, how caliente is the new Mexican cinema…….mucho. Come and sample one of these films, but be prepared to have your mouth (and mind) caught on fire.

Sandy Mandelberger, Daily Wrap Editor


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