×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Guadalajara festival basks in buzz

Event evolves from local pix to big showcase

GUADALAJARA — The awards-season run of Mexican helmers this year raised the profile of the Guadalajara Film Festival, as festgoers scoured screenings for signs of the next Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron or Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

But no one seems to have found them yet, and there were no must-buy deals. In its 22nd year, Guadalajara has evolved from a local fest of a dozen films into the biggest showcase in Mexico for local production and films from throughout Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Fest kicked off with an homage to hometown hero del Toro, who received the fest’s new Guadalajara Prize for his body of work, and Alfonso Cuaron was also on hand to support the release of his son’s first feature.

Guadalajara’s market, in its fifth year, is turning into the top venue in the region for buyers looking for the cream of regional output. “Latin American and Mexican filmmakers are met on their own ground and courted. They are the focus,” said Peter Goldwyn, VP of acquisitions for Samuel Goldwyn Films. “It’s not like in Cannes or Toronto, where they can get lost.”

Fest is in its second year under the leadership of former producer and helmer Jorge Sanchez, who has raised the level of the fest’s market, the only one in Mexico. Market bulked up with more interest this year, with nearly 300 buyers and sellers showing up compared with 234 last year. The Ibero-American Film Co-Production Meeting sported a new cash prize worth $150,000-$250,000 as a minimum guarantee from Spanish pubcaster RTVE for Spanish TV rights.

Films in Progress, based on the competition in San Sebastian, introduced two awards worth a total of approximately $175,000 in post services and cash to help complete unfinished works. Sanchez added breakfast roundtables modeled on the Cannes Market’s Producers Network featuring industry figures like Netflix’s head of original content Bahman Naraghi and Funny Balloon’s Peter Danner.

On the programming side, world premieres were concentrated in the Mexican selection, which included eight first works out of 12 features. Fest received more than 40 submissions, a sign of Mexico’s surging local production.

Standout premieres included the first feature of Jonas Cuaron, Alfonso’s son, “Year of the Nail.” Filmed as a series of digital stills, the story follows a sex-obsessed 14-year-old boy’s attempt to romance a 21-year-old American adrift in Mexico.

Mexican shingle Altavista had two buzz pics in the fest. Enrique Begne’s “Two Love Stories” links two sets of characters that fall into unlikely emotional relationships. Second Altavista production was the first feature by Simon Bross, “Bad Habits,” a dark drama that follows a family wracked by an array of eating disorders. Bross is one of Mexico’s most awarded commercial directors, and the pic sparked interest among buyers in various territories.

Another surprise was Aaron Fernandez’ “Used Parts,” a Mexican co-production with France and Spain, about an adolescent boy’s turn to crime in order to pay for passage to the United States. The first feature from Ernesto Contreras, “Blue Eyelids,” puts a lonely girl in a dilemma when she wins an all-expense paid vacation to a beach paradise and decides to invite a complete stranger.

More Film

  • Gary Hustwit Bob Greenberg, Toshiko MoriBob

    Why 'Rams' Director Gary Hustwit Doesn't Want Studios to Buy His Films

    Most filmmakers dream of scoring a big studio deal, but not Gary Hustwit. The “Helvetica” director applies a “do it yourself” model to the release of his movies. “Rams,” his recent documentary about German industrial designer Dieter Rams, is Hustwit’s latest venture into self-distribution. “I don’t want to be paying someone else’s overhead,” said Hustwit. [...]

  • Ventana Sur: Overview of 2018’s PCI

    Ventana Sur: PCI Showcases the Diversity of Argentine Cinema

    BUENOS AIRES — Mario Vargas Llosa, the great Peruvian novelist, once wrote that reality in Latin America is too compelling to ever be ignored in its fiction. Yet, as WWII raged, Jorge Luis Borges, perhaps the greatest of Argentine writers, pointedly published “Ficciones,” fantasy tales, often philosophical speculation given narrative form. If this year’s PCI [...]

  • Moroccan director Meryem Benm'Barekposes during the

    Young French Cinema Program to Showcase 12 New Films in the U.S.

    Clément Cogitore’s “Braguino,” Meryem Benm’Barek’s (pictured) “Sofia” and Marie Losier’s “Cassandro the Exotico!” are among the 12 recent French movies which will play as part of the Young French Cinema Program organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S. and UniFrance. “Braguino” is a documentary feature about two feuding families living [...]

  • Woolsey Fire Malibu

    Many Malibu Areas Still Off-Limits for Filming After Fire

    The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. PCH [...]

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Penny Marshall Dead Obit

    Remembering Penny Marshall, Who Forged Her Own Path and Paved the Way for Others

    She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms. But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content