You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cinephiles pep up Guadalajara fest

Latin America's premier cinema showcase benefits from new blood

The Guadalajara Film Festival is over one-quarter of a century old, and the long-established platform for the annual launch of Mexico’s new films, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t able to do a face-lift.

From leadership to venues to even the website, there’s a new look to the festival. With the departure of fest topper Jorge Sanchez and program director Lucy Virgen, Guadalajara has turned to a pair of cinephiles with roots in the film archive world: Ivan Trujillo has taken the reins as exec director, while Gerardo Salcedo has assumed programming responsibilities. Trujillo, who completed a stint as Mexico’s cultural attaché in Cuba just before his appointment, has served as president of the Federation of Intl. Film Archives, while Salcedo segues from archival programmer at Mexico City’s Cineteca.

“I think our combined experiences in archival work has had some influence on the program,” Salcedo says.

This is perhaps most apparent in Guadalajara’s first-ever complete career survey of a filmmaker — Werner Herzog, whose new 3-D “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” will rep the festival’s inaugural 3-D projection. Tied in via Herzog’s own version of “Nosferatu” is a 20-film survey of vampire films from the silent era to the present, ranging from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s “Vampyr” to Tomas Alfredson’s instant Swedish classic, “Let the Right One In.”

“We thought that with Herzog, a rich overview of the vampire genre, which continually seems to be renewing itself, was the perfect match,” says Trujillo.

The most dramatic alteration that Guadalajara regulars will experience is certain to be the central venue and meeting place for the festival and the market, still Latin America’s largest. So it’s out with the former stomping grounds of Hotel Fiesta Americana and in with Expo Guadalajara, the city’s convention center, providing expanded booth space for the market’s sellers, vendors and national film commissions, as well as viewing rooms, panels, seminars, book presentations and the primary press screening room.

“It’s difficult to organize a film festival in such a big city as Guadalajara,” Trujillo says, “and it’s especially important that attendees are never too far from their hotels and their destinations, whether they’re going to the festival or the market. The market had outgrown the space limitations at Fiesta Americana, compelling us to find a new space. With the Expo as a central point and all of the hotels very close by, we may have come up with a good solution.”

A key factor in the market expansion is a notable increase in production and promotion from Colombia, Puerto Rico and Peru, as well as the region’s brawny stalwarts Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, with Chile rising as an important player.

“The market is maturing, and it’s important for Guadalajara to reflect this,” Trujillo says.

What doesn’t seem to be changing in the festival is the basic design of the program. Still in place are competitions in fiction and non-fiction categories for Mexican and Ibero-American films, with the local product almost exclusively world premieres (an exception being Paula Markovitch’s Mexican-produced, Argentine-shot “The Prize,” fresh from the Berlin competition).

Highlights in the field include Mexican narratives “Burros” from director Odin Salazar and “Moon Rain” care of vet Marisa Sistach, and among Ibero-American titles, Laura Amelia Guzman and Israel Cardenas’ “Jean Gentil” and HectorOlivera’s “The Mural.” Hot international fest titles “Post Mortem” (from Chile’s Pablo Larrain), the Gael Garcia Bernal starring “Even the Rain” (from Spain’s Iciar Bollain) and “Amador” (from Spain’s Fernando Leon) are sure to draw audience interest.

The Mexican fiction lineup has expanded to 14 this year, its largest in some time.

“Mexico’s cinema is a wide umbrella, from commercial comedies to independent art cinema,” Salcedo says. “You can see this in the lineup, from Patricia Martinez’s comedy ‘Here Between Us,’ to a personal work like ‘Burros.'”

More from Spotlight: Mexico/Guadalajara Film Festival
Cinephiles pep up Guadalajara fest | Cartels can’t curtail production | Rising stars | Delectations in the dark

More Film

  • International Film Festival and Awards Macao

    Macao Festival Signs Double Deals With Shanghai

    The International Film Festival & Awards Macao on Sunday signed twin agreements with institutions in Shanghai. The IFFAM, which is building towards its fourth edition in December, struck a collaboration agreement with the Shanghai International Film Festival. Separately, it is solidifying an existing informal arrangement with the Shanghai Film Art Academy concerning an exchange of [...]

  • wanda Movie Metropolis Qingdao

    Why Simon West Is Making Movies in China (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Con Air,” “The Expendables 2”) is set to dive further into the Middle Kingdom at the helm of his second Chinese action-adventure blockbuster. The Wanda-backed “The Legend Hunters,” hits theaters next summer. West was brought onto the project by veteran producer Eryong, who had approached him about [...]

  • The Eight Hundred

    Chinese Research Group May Have Caused Cancellation of 'The Eight Hundred' Premiere

    Chinese authorities may have abruptly yanked the $80 million patriotic war epic “The Eight Hundred” the day before its opening-night premiere at the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival because it didn’t portray rivals of the ruling Communist Party in a sufficiently negative light, local reports said. Huayi Bros., which produced the film, had on Friday attributed [...]

  • Simon West

    Simon West Directing Chinese Tomb-Raid Movie 'Legend Hunters' (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West, who made Angelina Jolie-starring “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” is now co-directing a Chinese tomb-raiding film. “The Legend Hunters” is the next installment in the “Mojin” universe based on the popular fantasy novel series “Ghost Blows Out the Light.” Backed by Wanda Pictures and Beijing-based Saints Entertainment, the film is set for [...]

  • Emu Runner

    Sydney Film Review: 'Emu Runner'

    Writer-director Imogen Thomas’ debut feature “Emu Runner” has and probably will play in designated family-themed strands of film festivals, and given its story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal girl who deals with grief in the wake of her mother’s death by bonding with a lone female representative of Australia’s largest native bird species, this programming strategy [...]

  • Sophia Antipolis

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Sophia Antipolis'

    There are two Sophias in French director Virgil Vernier’s clever, cunning, chilling fifth feature. The first is its setting, the eponymous “Sophia Antipolis,” a technology park in the south of France, a place self-consciously designed as an experiment in social engineering, where an international community of professionals would, it was hoped, create an environment of [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    Netflix Pickup ‘I Lost My Body,’ ‘Buñuel,’ ‘Away’ Top Annecy Festival

    ANNECY, France  — Fulfilling expectations, Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body, the subject of one of the highest-profile Netflix deals at this year’s Cannes, won this Saturday the Annecy Festival’s top Cristal Award of best feature plus, in a relatively rare Annecy double whammy, the festival’s Audience Award. The first was expected, the second a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content