7 items from 2016
Over the past decade, Mexican filmmakers, producers and production companies have galvanized the country’s cinema industry with radical, sometimes brutal movies. Now, that wave — Carlos Reygadas, Fernando Eimbcke, Amat Escalante, Gerardo Naranjo, shingles Canana, Mantarraya and Cine Pantera — has become a new talent tsunami with a second generation riding along, broadening Mexico’s industry base and recent trophy trawl.
Mexico’s first wave boasts some of Mexico’s biggest movie achievements: Cannes director awards for Reygadas (2012’s “Post Tenebras Lux”) and then Escalante (2013’s “Heli”). Those helmers still promise some of Mexico’s biggest big fest and market films: the upcoming “Where Life Is Born” from Reygadas and “The Untamed” from Escalante, Canana’s crime/corruption thriller “The Black Minutes,” with Oscar-nominated Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”) and Diego Luna.
“I’ve been telling a lot of independent U.S. directors that it’s easier to shoot in Mexico, »
- John Hopewell
As Cannes approaches, Screen casts its eye back at the winners and losers of 2013 according to our jury of critics.
Each year, Screen International’s Jury Grid collates the verdicts of an international panel of critics to provide an impressively reliable prophecy of the year’s top prizes.
In 2013, the Screen International’s jury grid of critics were in complete agreement with the Cannes jury, and gave their top spot to Abdellatif Kechiche’s coming-of-age romance Blue Is The Warmest Colour.
The film, which the jury grid gave 3.4 out of 4, went on to win both the Palme d’Or and the Fipresci prize. It also made Cannes history by being the first film to be officially awarded the festival’s top prize for the work of its leading actors - Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux – alongside director Kechiche.
Graced by Alfonso Cuaron, Antonio Banderas, Diego Luna, Danny Glover and Maya Rudolph, Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival gave its two biggest prizes to feature debuts – Mexico’s “Pan-American Machinery” (pictured) and Colombia’s “Oscuro Animal” – at Mexico’s Guadalajara Festival.
Relocated, largely successfully, in the city’s stylish colonial Musa Arts Museum, Guadalajara’s 31st edition was marked by two big new Mexican films – “The 4th Company” and “Me Estas Matando, Susana,” a heavyweight Mexican industry presence led by Argos, Canana, Alebrije Film & TV and Alazraki Ent., and the huge excitement generated by Latin America’s build in Svod operators and their production financing, however narrow indie producers’ potential profit margins.
But the immediate glory went to two social-issue titles. Directed by Mexico’s Joaquin del Paso, “Pan-American Machinery” turns on the tale of workers at a heavy machinery factory uniting to stave off its closure. Laced with “touches of Buñuel, »
- John Hopewell
Mexican filmmaker to deliver career interview and take part in post-screening Q&As.
The 22nd Sarajevo Film Festival (Aug 12-20) has invited Mexican director, writer and producer Amat Escalante to be the subject of its Tribute programme.
Escalante, the director of Cannes 2013 award-winner Heli as well as Sangre and The Bastards, will present his films in Sarajevo that often present despairing portraits of violence, in Mexico and the Us.
Escalante, who has previously visited the festival twice, will meet the audience during a career interview and will take part in regular Q&A sessions following the screenings.
Escalante has spent the majority of his life in Guanajuato, Mexico, though he was born in Barcelona, Spain (1979). He returned to Barcelona to study editing and sound at the Centre of Cinematographic Studies in Catalunya. Later on he studied at the International School of Film and Television in Cuba.
His films were produced by Mantarraya Producciones, a Mexican »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Michael Rosser)
“Tempestad” makes its world premiere Saturday in Berlin’s Forum. It is produced by Mexico’s Pimienta Films, which also co-produced Rafi Pitts’ Berlin competition entry, “Soy Nero.” Jim Stark (“Down by Law,” “Mystery Train,” “Night on Earth”) executive produced “Tempestad.”
“Tempestad” traces a woman’s 1,200 mile journey back to her home in southern Mexico after she’s realeased from prison in the north. Her off-camera narration mixes with a second woman’s story, their voices echoing over shots of the landscapes and highways of Mexico.
“ ‘Tempestad’ fits perfectly with our portfolio of socially aware films. In addition, the filmmakers have incredible integrity, an aesthetic vision and a strong authorial voice,” said Cinephil’s Philippa Kowarsky.
“For us, working with Tatiana was also an opportunity to highlight the enormous amount of talent of Mexican woman directors, »
- John Hopewell
Did anything happen in Mexico over the last few days except for the recapture of “El Chapo” and Sean Penn’s interview? If so, it was hardly getting much play late Sunday and early Monday from the Spanish-speaking media.
Mexican newspaper El Universal led with a special – “Kate, Sean, El Chapo Links – Documented” plus six Penn-hostile columns; Spain’s El Pais America edition dedicated all its top eight online stories to El Chapo’s detention and interview.
Meanwhile, however, members of Mexico’s film industry, like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Gael Garcia Bernal at the Golden Globes, preferred to take a step back, get their heads round the Chapo-Penn meeting and set it in a broader context.
“The fact that two actors had the chance to meet with El Chapo — the most wanted man in the world — only shows the incapacity of the Mexican government to do what it is supposed to do, »
- John Hopewell
Director: Amat Escalante
Writer: Amat Escalante and Gibran Portela
Amat Escalante, protégé of Carlos Reygadas, snagged the Best Director award at Cannes 2013 for his unpleasant but striking third feature, Heli (previously, he’d won the Fipresci prize for his debut Sangre in 2005, while his 2008 sophomore film Los Bastardos playing in Un Certain Regard). He’s back with a very ambitious project, The Untamed, described as a “social/sci-fi movie about machismo, homophobia, and the repression of women,” catalyzed by the crash of a meteorite into a mountain. Based on his heavy-hitting past works, we can only image what’s in store for us with this mixture of ‘horror’ and ‘realism.’
U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. Tbd (domestic) Tbd (international).
Release Date: The film’s producers have stated the project will be ready for May, »
- Nicholas Bell
7 items from 2016
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