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Mexican acad hands out Ariels

'Mezcal,' 'Vueltas' nab six kudos each

See winners

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s film academy split its highest honors between “Mezcal,” which took the Ariel for picture, and “Las vueltas del Citrillo,” which nabbed the director Ariel for Felipe Cazals. Both films won six nods each.

“Mezcal,” helmed by Ignacio Ortiz and produced by Ortiz, Javier Patron Fox, Carlos Carrera’s Malayerba Producciones and Santo Domingo Films, also won cinematography, editing, sound, music and art design. Inspired by Malcolm Lowry’s novel “Under the Volcano,” “Mezcal” follows a group of lost souls who end up in a cantina, drowning their sorrows in agave moonshine.

“Las vueltas del Citrillo,” Cazals’ 20th feature, marked his return to fiction after a six-year absence. Pic also won for actor Damian Alcazar and supporting actor Jose Maria Yazpik, as well as original screenplay for Cazals, makeup and costume design. Set at the beginning of the 20th century before the Mexican Revolution, pic shows the bitter camaraderie of the poor who gather at a neighborhood “pulqueria,” or bar serving another agave variant.

Mexican cinematographer Ricardo Benet’s first feature, “Noticias lejanas” (News From Afar), co-produced by Mexican film school Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica (CCC), won the first work prize as well as actress and supporting actress.

In a sign of the tough times facing the Mexican film industry, none of the three films, each co-produced with funds from the government’s art film fund Foprocine, has yet had commercial distribution.

While production rose nearly 50% from 2004 to 53 features in 2005, only 23 Mexican pics were released locally last year. That was five more than in 2004, but average B.O. per film dropped nearly 44%.

Indie distrib Decine will put out “Mezcal,” but “Citrillo” and “Noticias,” which bowed last year at the Guadalajara fest, are still looking for a decent deal.

First-time doc maker Tin Dirdamal won the docu Ariel for “De nadie,” his portrait of the misery endured by Central American migrants crossing Mexico to get to the U.S.

Lifetime achievement Ariels were given to film and telenovela producer Ernesto Alonzo, 87 and to the CCC and Mexico’s other main film school, the CUEC.

And the winners are…

PICTURE
“Mezcal”

DIRECTOR
Felipe Cazals
, “Las vueltas del Citrillo”

FIRST WORK
Ricardo Benet
, “Noticias Lejanas”

ACTRESS
Mayahuel del Monte
, “Noticias lejanas”

ACTOR
Damian Alcazar
, “Las vueltas del Citrillo”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Gina Moret
, “Noticias lejanas”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jose Maria Yazpik
, “Las vueltas del Citrillo”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Felipe Cazals
, “Las vueltas del Citrillo”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Juan Carlos Valdivia
, “American Visa”

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Serguei Saldivar Tanaka
, “Mezcal”

EDITING
Sigfrido Barjau, David Torres, Ignacio Ortiz Cruz
, “Mezcal”

SOUND
Samuel Larson, Pablo Fernandez, Antonio Diego, Ernesto Gaytan
, “Mezcal”

MUSIC
Lucia Alvarez
, “Mezcal”

ART DESIGN
Gloria Carrasco, Lizette Ponce
, “Mezcal”

MAKEUP
Elvia Romero
, “Las vueltas del Citrillo”

COSTUME DESIGN
Adriana Olivera Pontelin
, “Las vueltas del Citrillo”

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“De nadie”
, Tin Dirdamal

FICTION SHORT
“El violin”
, Francisco Vargas

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
“Bajo la tierra”
, Lola Ovando and Juan Manuel Sepulveda

IBEROAMERICAN PICTURE
“Sumas y restas,”
Victor Gaviria (Colombia)

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