Art docu takes top fest prize

Pic on muralist 'Orozco' picks up pesos at Guadalajara

MEXICO CITY — Frosh helmer Juan Carlos Martin took the inaugural 150,000 Pesos ($16,000) prize for best feature director at the 17th Guadalajara Showcase of Mexican Film, which wrapped March 14.

Martin picked up the most valuable honor at Mexico’s top kudofest and its cash award offered for the first time for his 80-minute eponymous documentary of the muralist “Gabriel Orozco.”

Brazilian Luis Fernando Carvalho’s “A La Izquierda del padre” (To the Left of the Father), about two ethnic Lebanese brothers’ search for identity in the shadow of their pious father, picked up the $9,000 prize for best Iberoamerican pic, beating 13 other pics entered in the category.

The remaining cash prize, $8,200 for best short, went to Mexican Issa Garcia Ascot’s “Y Como es el?” (And What’s He Like?), about a botched crime of passion.

This was the first time the Showcase has had a competition for non-Mexican pics, and marks a significant step toward raising the fest’s profile overseas.

Mexican thesp Bruno Bechir won best actor for “Ciudades Oscuras” (Dark Cities), a series of portraits of the underside of urban life, while Gabriela Canudas took best actress for her performance as a vengeful flawed beauty in “Otilia Rauda.”

The weeklong fest also marked a bow for Kenya Marquez, who took over as director just one month previously after a period of organizational mishaps and management turmoil. With those problems overcome, the fest is beginning to draw foreign industryites as well as the usual locals.

Previously, few if any buyers attended the showcase. But this year, fest management made an intense effort to invite distribs and TV stations. Around 20 turned up, including Quality Films, Colombia Tristar Intl. and Brazil’s CNC TV, says a fest spokesperson.

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