Daniela Michel
Courtesy of Morelia Intl. Film Festival

Four shorts from Mexico's Morelia Fest make Cannes' sidebar cut

Following an already long tradition aimed at strengthening the promotion of young Mexican filmmakers, the Morelia Intl. Film Festival screens Thursday, May 19 a selection of short films from its 13th edition, invited by the Cannes Critics’ Week.

“This year’s Mexican shortfilms presence at the Cannes Critics’ Week shows the great diversity of film types in current Mexican cinema,” said Morelia Fest director Daniela Michel.

The diversity can be seen in the film type of shorts selected -two are fiction productions, one is a docu, the other an animated short – and also the productions’ backing, combining public and private-sector sources.

Winner of best docu-short at last October’s Morelia edition, Esteban Arrangoiz’s “El Buzo” (The Diver), a production of Mexico’s Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematograficos and Imcine Film Institute, follows a chief diver in the Mexico City sewerage system, whose job is to repair pumps and dislodge garbage.

Produced by Carlos Isaac at Mexican toon house No Budget Animation, Nuria Menchaca’s experimental project “Rebote” (Bounce Back) won best animated short at Morelia. Based on a poem by Helene Matte, “Rebote” tells the story of a homeless drunk man and his loyal dog that live under a bridge until a big storm changes their destiny.

Fictions selected include a Mexico-Germany co-production, “Isabel Im Winter” (Isabel in Winter), a valiant portrait of woman who finds no joy in motherhood, yearns to leave the benighted country house where she brings up her son. It is directed by Laura Baumeister and Teresa Kuhn, and produced by Munich’s public university HFF Muenchen.

Metaphor-laced, Tess Anastasia Fernandez’s “Mil capas” (Layers), produced by Mexico’s Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), portrays a woman allergic to sun, in charge of a water park, a family business. There, she warms to an aquareobics coach, who makes her forget -at least for a moment- her illness.

In a Cannes’ edition with stronger than ever femme presence -“At Cannes, The Year of Women,” Variety’s Brent Lang wrote this week. three of the four Mexican shorts selected by the Cannes Critics’ Weeks are directed by women. A large number of the most talked-up shorts at last year’s edition of Morelia, as of documentaries, shorts and features, were also helmed by women.

Outside the Critics’ Week, but also another instance of young Mexican film talent, Michoacan’s Ernesto Martinez Bucio, a four times competitor at the Morelia Fest, competes at Cannes’ Cinefondation sidebar with “Las razones del mundo” (The Reasons in the World), another CCC production, about a three-months pregnant woman working as a kidnapper.

Also from Mexico, Marta Hernaiz Pidal will compete with short “Dobro” (Fine), a co-production with Bosnia-Herzegovina, backed by Film Factory, Hungarian director Bela Tarr’s film school.

The 14th Morelia Intl. Festival, which runs Oct. 21-30, will also continue its tradition of screening a selection of feature films from the 2016 Critics’ Week.

Looking for more visibility for Mexican film, the Morelia Fest launched last year Impulso Morelia, a works-in-progress showcase to offer an new space to interchange ideas and reflexions among Mexican and international filmmakers.

After its successful debut, Impulso Morelia 2016 has expanded calls and established a program for film projects in development, Fest director Daniela Michel said.

“We continue seeking elements that help both the professional and the training side of Mexican cinema,” she added.

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