Variety reports on Morelia Film Festival’s ninth edition October 15 – 23. I won’t repeat the article here except to cite its place today as an exciting venue (hopefully not too exciting!!) to see new Latino, especially Mexican, films. The artistic director and founder Daniela Michel has quickly brought the festival an international reputation for welcoming filmmakers and their films. “The smartly programmed official selection captures very well the energy and diversity of contemporary Mexican independent film,” notes critic and Museum of Moving Image editorial director Dennis Lim.
More than most newer Latin American fests, Morelia has established its international credentials with a combination of factors: frequent repeat visitors such as helmers Barbet Schroeder, Gus Van Sant and Telluride co-director Tom Luddy; deliberate selection of important film artists, such as director Cristian Mungiu, for the competition juries; and cooperative programming ventures with the likes of Cannes’ Critics’ Week, in which both festivals present a selection from the other’s lineup.
Malaventura (Michel Lipkes)
Feature debut is a hotly anticipated new film from Mexico’s emerging generation of filmmakers.
Artificial Paradises (Yulena Olaizola) ♀
With her first narrative feature, Olaizola returns to Morelia where she was acclaimed for her doc debut, Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo.
World Premier (Film Festival Rotterdam 2011); FICUNAM 2011 (International Competition); Toulouse 2011 (International Competition); Tribeca 2011 (International Competition); Ventana Sur 2010 (Primer Corte Award); Valdivia 2009 (Co-production Market)
Contact Interior 13 Cine a distribution and production label based in Mexico City, focused on local distribution of Latin American cinema, international arthouse and the promotion of young Mexican talents. The label also provides curatorial/programming services for international film festivals.
The Prize (Paula Markovitch) ♀
Markovitch’s Argentina-set family drama won two Berlin Silver Bears for artistic achievement.
Berlinale – EFM 2011 – Competition (Outstanding Artistic Achievement), Guadalajara FICG 2011 – Competition (Best Film)
ISA: Urban Media
The Last Christeros (Matias Meyer)
This could be Meyer’s breakout film, after impressing auds and critics in Toronto Visions 2011.
ISA: Figa Films
See You, Dad (Lucia Carreras) ♀
Co-scribe of Camera d’Or winner Leap Year, Carreras’ directorial debut preems in Morelia. Full support of Mexican Film Institute: it was granted the Screenwriting Incentive and it also entered the Project Development Program.
Contact: Machete Producciones
Machete Language (Kyzza Terrazas)
Terrazas, former producer-writer for hot shingle Canana Films, debuted his film at Venice’s Critics Week, Chicago FF, Valdivia FF.
ISA: Figa Films
The Open Sky (Everardo Gonzalez)
Among the most discussed docs in this year’s Guadalajara fest.
The Tiniest Place (Tatiana Huezo) ♀
An audacious directorial debut, inviting comparisons to Reygadas’ Japan.
The Mexican Suitcase (Trisha Ziff) ♀
Widely traveled doc on Spanish Civil War photographers is in the Oscar doc hunt.
LALIFF, Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Toulouse Cinespaña Film Festival, DocuWeeks, AFI Latin America FF
Rivers Of Men aka Rios De Hombres, aka Agua (Tin Dirdamal)
Dirdamal won a Silver Ariel for first doc, No One (Nadie), so expectations are high on this look at Bolivia’s water wars. Fund for Audiovisual Arts Tribeca Latin America winner 2009, who benefited from $ 20,000 was Tin Dirdamal’s documentary Water.
The Night Watchman (Natalia Almada) ♀
Almada looks to be hitting stride with her third doc, a standout at New Directors/New Films and Directors Fortnight.
ISA: Docs & Film Int’l
By James Young for Variety
Morelia’s 2009 doc competition winner Presumed Guilty, — a scathing indictment of the Mexican judicial system and won the fest’s 2009 doc prize. It went on to become Mexico’s top-grossing docu of all time, sparking a nationwide debate about the judicial system that continues to this day. ♀
Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio preemed his film Alamare in 2009, won the fiction feature prize, and after being picked up by sales agent MK2, was sold to about 20 territories.
2008, Morelia’s short winner qualifies for submission for Oscar consideration, and pics with top plaudits go on to screen at Cannes Critics’ Week. Elisa Miller took Morelia’s 2006 short prize with Ver llover, which then went on to win Cannes’ short film Palme d’Or in 2007.♀
In 2010, Miller brought Alicia, Go Yonder to Morelia — it was picked up by sales agent Funny Balloons before going on to play Rotterdam. ♀
Mariana Chenillo took the audience prize with 2009’s Without Nora, followed by a run through second-tier fests, producing 15 territory sales and theater runs in 40 U.S. cities. through Menemsha. ♀
Since 2005, Mexican film institute Imcine has run a producer-centered Lab workshop parallel to the fest. Edher Campos attended in 2009 with project The Room. Three months later, at Ventana Sur he sold international rights to Pyramide Intl. on Michael Rowe’s Leap Year — the Cannes 2010 Camera d’Or winner.
“Morelia’s Lab gave me the necessary tools as a producer to face the challenge of presenting ‘Leap Year’ to distributors and agents at Ventana Sur’s (rough-cut) Primer Corte showcase,” Campos says.