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Guadalajara fest’s more festive

Event now open to pics from Latin America, Spain

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s oldest and most prestigious fest, the Guadalajara Mexican and Iberoamerican Film Festival, hopes to stave of competish from upstart events by giving itself a makeover.

Running March 11-18, the redubbed Intl. Film Festival in Guadalajara is opening up its competition to films from Latin America and Spain for the first time in its 20-year history, organizers announced Tuesday.

Event was previously limited to Mexican films.

While there will still be prizes for Mexican film and Mexican director, each worth $10,000, Guadalajara’s overall best film prize, worth $50,000, could go to a foreign production.

Organizers said the changes were being made to take advantage of the declining fortunes of other regional events, including the cash-strapped Havana and Huelva fests.

“Guadalajara should take advantage of its location and experience to convert itself into the reference point for Latin cinema,” said Raul Padilla, president of the fest’s board.

The more obvious reason, however, is the surge in competing fests on home turf.

Last year saw the bow of the Morelia Film Festival as well as the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival and, in February, the Mexico City Festival of Contemporary Cinema.

October’s Morelia fest was sold out, while the Mexico City fest enjoyed more than double the expected attendance.

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