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Cannes: Critics’ Week Celebrates Mexican Talent

Four shorts from Mexico's Morelia Fest, including multi-prized ‘Ramona,' make Cannes' showcase cut

An early window onto new talent in Mexico, Four shorts from Mexico’s 12th Morelia Intl. Film Fest, led by Giovanna Zacarias’ best short winner “Ramona,” will screen at the upcoming Cannes Critics’ Week.

Following a tradition that kicked-off in 2005, the Special Screening, unspooling Tuesday May 19, is one fruit of a strategic alliance between Morelia and the Cannes’ parallel section.

Cannes’ yearly presentation offers a platform for showcasing and celebrating the work of young, talented Mexican filmmakers to a much wider audience, per Morelia fest director Daniela Michel.

“In many cases, these filmmakers are able to attend the festival to present their work, giving them valuable access to one of the most important film festivals in the world, and offering a unique opportunity to create a dialogue with a new audience,” she adds.

The opportunity is yielding benefits: At the current Cannes edition, Mexican filmmaker David Pablos, whose “The Song of the Dead Children” won best short film in Morelia in 2008 and screened at the Critics’ Week in 2009, will present his second feature film, “The Chosen Ones,” produced by Pablo Cruz at Canana and sold by Mundial, as part of Un Certain Regard.

An event dedicated to discovering and promoting local helming talent, Morelia’s 12th edition threw a spotlight on Mexican actress Giovanna Zacarias’ “Ramona,” winner of best short film, which portrays a 84-year-old woman that announces she’s ready to die but changes her mind while her family is making the preparations.

Zacarias, known for her acting career on both sides of the border, debuted in the U.S. with 2004’s Harvey Keitel actioner “Puerto Vallarta Squeeze.” In Mexico, she’s played in several local hits, such as “Cantinflas” which, released by Lionsgate/Televisa’s Pantelion, proved the second-highest grossing foreign-language film in the U.S. last year.

Winner of Morelia’s Michoacan Section, Jose Leonardo Diaz’s fiction short “Never Come Back” tells the story of two young friends who accept a job, unaware that they may never return to their old way of life.

Docu-short “The Palace,” from celebrated Mexican auteur Nicolas Pereda whose 2010 “Summer of Goliath” won the 2010 Venice Horizons Award,  follows the everyday life of 17 women who live together in a large house for emotional and financial reasons.

Another docu short from Morelia selected to screen at Cannes, Juan Pablo Gonzalez’s “The Solitude of Memory,” offers a meditation on memory and grief, focusing on a father who repeatedly runs through the final words that his son spoke to him just before committing suicide.

Reflecting an earlier stage of the Morelia-Cannes long-term partnership, from 2003 the Mexican event screens a selection of films from the Critics’ Week, often with the presence of some filmmakers.

Continuing the tradition, the 13th Morelia Intl. Festival, which runs Oct. 23-Nov. 1, will screen a selection of feature films from 2015 Critics’ Week.

Also, every year, Morelia invites a member of the Critics’ Week Programming Committee to form part of Morelia’s Short Film Jury.

“We continue to look for new ways to consolidate and reinforce the relationship with the Cannes Critics’ Week,” added Michel.

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