Musical drama takes top prize at fest

Morelia, Mexico– Julio Hernandez Cordon’s musical drama “Marimbas del Infierno” (Marimbas From Hell) won best pic at the Morelia International Film Festival Saturday – its closing day.

L.A.-based, LatAm distrib and sales agent Figa Films holds the rights to the film – a Guatemala-France-Mexico co-production set in Guatemala.

Pic tells the story of an unemployed and desperate marimba player who teams up with a real-life local death metal star, using a narrative that wanders between documentary and reenactment.

“Marimbas” picked up a special mention and the audience award earlier this week in Valdivia, Chile, at their festival.

A special mention was given to Dylan Verrechia and Aidee Gonzalez’s “Tierra Madre” (Mother Earth), another reenactment that detailed Gonzalez’s travails as a mom and an exotic dancer, trying to get by in a same-sex relationship in Mexicali, Baja California.

In a poll of 13 Mexican film critics and columnists released Saturday morning, only one bet on “Marimbas” with all five critics on the list and two others betting on Sebastian Hiriart’s off-beat migration tale “A Tiro de Piedra” (A Stone’s Throw Away) to win.

Often heard in the cafes lining the city’s main square this week were concerns about all-foreign juries for every major category.

The buzz, however, was right on the money for the audience prize, which went to Alvaro Curiel’s “Acorazado,” depicting the mostly comical misadventures of a Veracruz scammer who tries to arrive to Florida by raft, posing as a Cuban political refugee but instead lands in Havana.

The docs jury struck out on its own, choosing a number of dark horse pics among the wide and increasingly heated field of competition. Best feature went to Marta Ferrer’s migration-related doc “El Varal,” and best short was Dalia Huerta’s experimental project “Carne que recuerda” (Flesh That Remembers).

The best shorts in the fiction and animation sections at Morelia go in the running for nominations in next year’s Oscar race. This year, the best fiction was Jacques Bonnevent’s darkly comic “El mina de oro” (The Gold Mine), which took a special mention earlier this year at Guadalajara. For animation, Mexico will send Beatriz Herrera’s “Ponkina.”

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