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Morelia in, Mazatlan out

Fest is permanently canceled due to lack of cash

MORELIA, Mexico — The inaugural Morelia Intl. Film Festival closed late Friday, with a bouquet of prizes for nine Mexican shorts and documentaries handed out by thesps Salma Hayek and Julia Ormond.

At same event, organizers of the Mazatlan Intl. Film Festival announced its cancellation.

Eva Aridjis took long doc honors for “Ninos de la calle” (Street Kids), while Rigoberta Perezcano won prize for medium-length doc for “XV en Zaachila.” (15th Birthday in Zaachila).

In the Mexican shorts category, prizes went to Blanca Xochitl Aguerre’s “La historia de todos” (The History of Everyone) for animated short; Alex Rivera’s “La sexta seccion” (The Sixth Section) for short doc; and Diana Cardozo Benia’s “La luna de Antonio” (Antonio’s Moon) for fictional short.

Winners received a silver statue by noted Mexican sculptor Javier Marin.

Fest’s biggest crowds were for directors Werner Herzog and Barbet Schroeder, both of whom have shot extensively in Latin America. Before an audience of 500, Herzog spoke of a “rebirth of Mexican film.”

Meanwhile, Oscar Blancarte Pimental, head of the Mazatlan fest, scheduled for Dec. 4-10, said event was permanently canceled due to lack of cash. Blancarte said that festival, which had 80 films already programmed, was $250,000 short. Fest bowed in 2001; Blancarte says he’ll look for other future sites in Mexico.

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