MEXICO CITY — The Morelia Film Festival kicks off Oct. 5 with “El orfanato,” directed by Spanish tyro Juan Antonio Bayona and produced by Guillermo del Toro, and closes Oct. 14 with Christopher Zalla’s Sundance winner “Padre nuestro.”
Mexican auteur Carlos Reygadas will unspool his “Silent Light” during the opening weekend, and Argentine director Hector Babenco will present “El pasado,” starring Gael Garcia Bernal, who will also screen his first work as director, “Deficit.”
Fest added a feature competition this year to docu and shorts selections. Six features from first- or second-time Mexican helmers are competing, in addition to 16 domestic docus, 45 shorts and nine local works from the state of Michoacan.
Selection of features include a pair of Toronto darlings: Rodrigo Pla’s “La zona,” which won the Fipresci critics’ prize there, and “Cochochi,” by Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman, which nabbed the fest’s Discovery Award.
Other Mexican features in competition include “Cumbia Callera,” by Rene Villareal; “Donde estan sus historias?,” by Nicolas Pereda; “Quemar las naves,” by Francisco Franco; and “Todos los dias son tuyos,” by Jose Luis Gutierrez.
Fest also has become an important launch pad for domestic commercial films. Toon “La leyenda de la Nahuala,” by Ricardo Arnaiz, will preem as well as “Hasta el viento tiene miedo,” Gustavo Moheno’s remake of the 1968 Mexican horror film.
Morelia’s special guests this year include British helmer Stephen Frears, American director-producer Arthur Penn and France’s Bertrand Tavernier.
More than 50 other films, including the Cannes Critics’ Week selection, make their local preems at the festival, set in one of Mexico’s most beautiful colonial city centers and hosted by the nation’s biggest exhib, Cinepolis.