×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Morelia Festival Celebrates Mexican Helmers, Opens With ‘Birdman’

When the Morelia Intl. Film Festival, Mexico’s premiere showcase for local talent, kicks off Oct. 18 with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman,” it will be the second time in two years the fest hosts the same opener as in Venice, after Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity.”

But the festival’s creative director isn’t worried about following Venice’s lead — he’s happy the festival is a big draw for Mexican filmmakers, both emerging talents and established Hollywood helmers.

Inarritu, like Cuaron last year, will come down for the gala screening, a point of pride for Morelia’s creative director Daniela Michel.

“I think it’s critical that we’ve become the most important meeting point for Mexican filmmakers,” Michel says. The festival runs Oct. 17-26 in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.

Last year, Morelia opened the main feature competition to more seasoned directors, introducing separate prizes for feature and new work, making it possible to have, in one section, heavy-hitters, such as Nicolas Pereda and Julian Hernandez, and promising sophomores, like Bernardo Arellano and Rigoberto Perezcano.

It also began drawing on the talents of former Guadalajara industry organizer Andrea Stavenhagen to put together a strong set of panels covering everything from the frustrating exhibition system in Mexico to the evolving dynamic of mainstream vs. auteur Mexican cinema.

Popular on Variety

For this 12th edition, the festival will host a conference with MPAA chief Chris Dodd, among many of the panels and events scheduled.

Nevertheless, the number of films showing is roughly the same at around 200 and Michel likes it that way.

“We thought it was important to open the competition, but we never thought, ‘Oh let’s make this a market, or let’s make it an international competition.’ The center of discourse is always Mexico,” Michel says.

While the festival is Mexico-centric, it has always had strong ties to the broader festival circuit, in no small part due to  Michel, whose ties to the festival circuit landed her a seat on this year’s Critics’ Week jury at Cannes, a section from which Morelia has regularly pulled pics since its 2003 launch.

Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian will sit on Morelia’s main feature jury, along with former program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center Richard Pena, helmer Pawel Pawlikowski — who will have a retrospective at the festival — d.p. Fred Kelemen and Mexican thesp Gabriel  Gimenez Cacho.

Juliette Binoche will be the guest of honor at the festival for the national premiere of Olivier Assayas’ “The Clouds of Sils Maria.” Other special screenings with directors in tow include Kornel Mundruczo’s “White God” and Alice Rohrwacher’s “The Wonders.” The festival is also hosting a retrospective of Israeli director Amos Gitai.

More Film

  • 700700 + Ted Turner Dedication. December

    Ted Turner Tributes Established With WarnerMedia Gift to University of Georgia

    WarnerMedia has established a scholarship, internship program and exhibition hall at the University of Georgia to be named after maverick media mogul Ted Turner. The company has gifted $550,000 to the university to create the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund, for students attending the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, which is also the [...]

  • Golden Globes nominations predictions

    Golden Globes 2020 Predictions: What Movies and TV Shows Might Nab Nominations?

    Awards season kicks into higher gear on Monday, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces nominations for its 2020 Golden Globe Awards, which cover the 2019 calendar year. Noms will give certain films momentum heading into the Oscar race, while it’s the first opportunity for many TV series to earn awards acclaim before competing for [...]

  • Peter Sarsgaard The Batman

    Peter Sarsgaard Joins Robert Pattinson in 'The Batman'

    Peter Sarsgaard is joining Robert Pattinson in Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” in an undisclosed role. “The Batman” director Matt Reeves tweeted the news on Friday, sharing a gif of Sarsgaard accompanied by a bat emoji. Pattinson is starring as Batman/Bruce Wayne. The movie also stars Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Colin [...]

  • Worst movies 2019

    The Worst Films of 2019

    Keep in mind that we haven’t seen “Cats.” Or a single one of the half-dozen Nicolas Cage movies released “on demand” (to zero demand?) this past year. Still, in the ongoing quest to find the next masterpiece, film critics inevitably have to sit through a lot more turkeys than your typical moviegoer. Rather than let [...]

  • FAMILIAR FACE -- In Walt Disney

    'Frozen 2' Still Sizzling With $37 Million in Third Weekend; 'Playmobil' Crashing

    “Frozen 2” is gradually warming up the North American box office, with an estimated $37 million its third weekend at 4,348 sites, early estimates showed Friday. Disney’s animated sequel is projected to decline about 57%. Should estimates hold, “Frozen 2” should finish the weekend with nearly $340 million domestically in it first 17 days. With [...]

  • Legendary Logo

    Legendary Invests in Library Pictures to Fund Local-Language Production

    Legendary Pictures has made an investment in Library Pictures International with plans to fund local-language productions. Library Pictures is a content-financing entity organized earlier this year by CAA Media Finance to support industry-leading filmmakers and distributors by investing in local-language production slates. As part of the deal, Legendary becomes part of a team at Library [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content