×

Morelia Competition Welcomes Seasoned Directors, Large Industry Contingent

Festival dedicated to finding directorial talent in Mexico

A new rule allowing more experienced directors into competition has cinephiles buzzing ahead of the 11th Morelia Intl. Film Festival, running Oct. 18-27.

Morelia has become the best place for Mexicans to present work,” says fest director Daniela Michel. “So we believe it’s very important for the festival to change organically … in a way that continues to give a space to those directors who started out showing their work with us.”

The festival began in 2003 and has expanded from shorts competitions to, in 2007, its first fiction feature section, which until this year’s edition was limited to first- and second-time directors.

Michel says the festival was looking to show directors like Fernando Eimbcke, who is competing with his third feature, “Club Sandwich,” that they have a high-caliber forum in Mexico to bow new projects.

Eimbcke is well known on the international festival circuit, but he has long ties with Morelia, screening his breakout debut “Duck Season” in 2004 and his highly regarded follow-up “Lake Tahoe” in 2008.

The move to open the competition to more seasoned filmmakers speaks to the sense of family Michel has engendered over the years at Morelia, which has become a key venue for emerging helmers, including Nicolas Pereda (“Verano de Goliat”), Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio (“Alamar”), Mariana Chenillo (“Nora’s Will”) and Amat Escalante, who took the jury prize in 2007 with “Los bastardos” (The Bastards).

Michel is quick to stress that Morelia remains a festival dedicated to finding directorial talent in Mexico, noting the creation of an Opera Prima prize for first or second works, adding that five of the 11 films in the main lineup are eligible for the award.

Another major draw for Morelia continues to be the near constant casual industry interactions beneath the city’s colonial palisades, in the plazas and in the hospitality suite — offering an unusual level of access for a festival at this tier.

Festivalgoers should expect to run into a large industry presence, as several pics in this year’s lineup, many of which are only in their first or second festival run, come attached with top sales agents such as Funny Balloons, Pyramide Intl., UDI, Films Boutique, FiGa and Mundial, and are produced by top indie shingles like Canana, Cine Pantera and Machete.

Festival Highlights

Returning Hero

Borne on a wave of critical acclaim, Alfonso Cuaron is set to make a triumphant return to his native Mexico, opening the festival with “Gravity.”

Top Titles

“Manto acuifero” (The Well), from Camera d’Or winner Michael Rowe (“Leap Year”), is the second in the Australian-Mexican director’s Trilogy of Solitude and produced by Canana, which also has “Paraiso” (Paradise), Mariana Chenillo’s much-anticipated second work competing in the fest. Canana is the local distrib for Aaron Fernandez’s entry “Las horas muertas” (The Empty Hours).

Treasure Chest

Nonfiction film taken to an artform has become the standard in Mexico, a fact never more present than in Morelia with its long history with the Ambulante docu fest. Beyond Roberto Fiesco’s off beat transgender portraiture “Quebranto,” which was a hit at Guadalajara, look for the thoughtfully shot “Elevador” from Adrian Ortiz Maciel. All in all, the section is a potential trove for docfest programmers.

‘Eyes’ Have It

Monica del Carmen returns to the Morelia bigscreen in “A los ojos” (To the Eyes), a low-budget examination of the urban homeless in Mexico City from Michel Franco, who irst made waves with “After Lucia,” which won Un Certain Regard in 2012 .

Honoree

Filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, much beloved in Mexico, will be honored at the fest, and is expected to attend the screening of his latest pic, “The Dance of Reality.”

‘Sister’ Act

John Sayles will be bringing his latest film, “Go for Sisters,” for a special screening.

‘Club’ Room

Other standouts in the main competition are Fernando Eimbcke’s “Club Sandwich,” being handled by Funny BalloonsPeter Danner and produced by Christian Valdelievre at Cine Pantera; and Jose Luis Valle’s debut “Workers,” which played in Berlin and has already garnered solid sales via Paris-based MPM Film.

More Biz

  • Queen Elizabeth

    Queen Elizabeth's Footman Diagnosed with Coronavirus (Report)

    Coronavirus remains firmly in the royal orbit as one of Queen Elizabeth’s footmen has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The royal footman, who regularly walks the Queen’s dogs and was in regular contact with the monarch, is now in self-isolation after falling ill with coronavirus, according to British tabloid The Sun. The revelation comes just [...]

  • A police line forbids the access

    L.A. County Orders Closure of Beaches and Hiking Trails

    Those hoping to escape to the beach this weekend after being pent up at home are out of luck. On Friday, Los Angeles County ordered the closure of beaches and hiking trails, hoping to avoid the crowds that could cause the spread of the coronavirus. State and local officials had previously ordered the closure of [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    ViacomCBS Sets $2.5 Billion Debt Offering as Company Faces Tough Scrutiny

    ViacomCBS has disclosed plans for a $2.5 billion debt offering, an effort that comes as the newly merged company faces tough scrutiny of its growth strategy and balance sheet amid the coronavirus-related economic crisis. ViacomCBS said it would seek to raise $2.5 billion for cash that may be used to help pay down some of [...]

  • A2IM

    A2IM’s Indie Week and Libera Awards Go Virtual for 2020

    In yet another sign of the times, the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) today announced that the 2020 installment of its Indie Week conference — the world’s biggest gathering point specifically for the independent music community — is moving online this year, obviously due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event, which also includes the [...]

  • Amber Heard Johnny Depp

    Johnny Depp Allowed to Pursue Defamation Suit Against Amber Heard

    A Virginia judge on Friday refused to dismiss Johnny Depp’s lawsuit against Amber Heard, allowing him to proceed with a claim that she defamed him in a Washington Post opinion piece. In the piece, published in December 2018, Heard alluded to her previous claims that Depp had assaulted her during their marriage, though she did [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content