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Duo win big at Morelia

'Stories,' 'Bridges' breakout films of festival

The Morelia Intl. Film Festival, which closed Sunday, targeted two break-out films in its new tyro feature competition.

Helmer Nicolas Pereda’s “¿Donde estan sus historias?” (Where are their Stories?”) nabbed the jury prize, while Francisco Franco Alba’s “Quemar las naves” (Burn the Bridges) won the audience award at the fest, held in the capital city of Michoacan state.

“Stories,” sends a young farmer to Mexico City to stay with his estranged mother and navigate Mexico’s legal bureaucracy after his uncles return to their village from the U.S. to sell the family land. “Stories” producer is Catalina Pereda. Indie was shot on a shoestring by Toronto-based Pereda, and has no distribution deal.

Legit director-turned-helmer Franco’s “Bridges” chronicles a brother and sister in a decaying colonial era-mansion dealing with the upsetting erotic intrusion of a lower-class tough. “Bridges” was produced by Laura Imperiale and Maria Novaro via Canela Films and also snagged the AMC cinematographer prize for Erika Licea. Film is set for Mexican distribution with co-producer Gussi.

Feature jury looked past favorites “La Zona” and “Cochochi,” both of which culled kudos in Venice and Toronto.

“Mi vida dentro,” Lucia Gaja’s eviscerating examination of injustice against undocumented, female Mexican migrants at the hands of the U.S. justice system, won the docu award. “Mi vida” was produced by Rodrigo Herranz’ Ultra Films.

Juan Manuel Sepulveda Martinez received special mention from the docu jury for his immigration-themed “La frontera infinita” (The Endless Frontier.)

Besides Morelia’s fare of indie features, docus and shorts, two Mexican commercial features and a commercial docu made their world preems: suspense-remake “Hasta el viento tiene miedo,” a likely B.O. hit among distrib Videocine’s repertoire; toon “La leyenda del Nahuala,” considered long on yuks, but short on story; and docu “Diego’s Portrait,” about Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, put together by Gabriel Figueroa and Diego Lopez.

Final days of Morelia were graced by Mexico’s prodigal sons Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who are producing their first film with Universal in Mexico, “Rudo y Cursi,” with Guillermo del Toro’s Cha Cha Cha shingle. Pic is the directorial debut of “Y tu mama tambien” scribe Carlos Cuaron.

Cuaron was on hand to present two films from his son, Jonas Cuaron — “The Year of the Nail” and short “The Shock Doctrine.”

Inarritu presented Paul Fejos’ silent gem “Lonesome” as he stumped for film preservation.