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‘Ixcanul,’ ‘600 Miles’ Triumph at Mexico’s Guadalajara Fest

‘The Thin Yellow Line’ takes Special Jury Prize, 'Venecia' and 'The Boss' acting kudos

‘Ixcanul,’ ‘600 Miles’ Triumph Mexico's Guadalajara
Courtesy of Berlin Film Festival

Repeating triumphs at Berlin, Jayro Bustamante’s “Ixcanul” — a traditions-versus-women’s-rights piece set in Guatemala — and Gabriel Ripstein’s Tim Roth starrer “600 Miles” topped the 30th Guadalajara Festival Saturday, “Ixcanul” scooping best picture and director in its Ibero-America Competition and “600 Miles” the Mezcal Prize for best Mexican fiction feature. Celso Garcia’s road movie “The Thin Yellow Line” took a Special Jury Prize in the Ibero-American competish.

“Yellow Line” – which world preemed in Guadalajara – features a deep cast, led by Damian Alcazar then, Joaquin Cosio, Silverio Palacios, Gustavo Sanchez Parra and smoky newcomer Americo Hollander, as a team of loveable screw-ups hired to paint dividers along a long stretch of empty Mexican highway.

Fest-favorite, “600 Miles” had detractors at the confab, mostly tied to script issues, but there was broad enthusiasm for Roth’s work as a manipulator and lead Kristyan Ferrer’s compliance. The film juices gunrunning U.S.-Mexico, a wide and present concern.

Bustamante’s “Ixcanul” quickly became “el Guatamalteco” within the press, producer, programmer triangle this week. Regardless of the name, industryites were wall-to-wall with support for the hard-rendered drama on arranged marriage in rural Guatemala. There was no other film this year with such universal support as “Ixcanul.”

Laura-Imperiale produced, fan-loved “Made in Bangkok” from newbie Flavio Florience gave an honest-if-occasionally-artificial journey through gender assignment surgery that set most tongues wagging despite the LGBT depth at the festival.

Cuban director Kiki Alvarez’ drama “Venecia” — turning on three co-workers forming the idea of their own hair salon over the course of a night on the town — picked up a three-way tie for female actors with Claudia Muniz, Marianela Pupo and Maribel Garcia Garzon. Argentina’s Joaquin Furriel won best male actor for “The Boss, Anatomy of a Crime”, as a farm labourer lured to the big city and consequently trapped by an abusive butcher into wage slavery, directed by Sebastian Schindel.

In other events, Juan Ignacio Fernandez Gebauer’s “Hijos Nuestros” scored big with the fest’s works-in-progress section, Guadalajara Construye, picking up a bevy of post-prod supports and the winning support of Alfredo Calvino, at Habanero Films, as its international sales agent. Speaking to Variety, he argued for a “strong commercial base” for its release, turning on father and son meets soccer and Argentina – working to a build a peanut butter and jelly combo for hopefully boffo auds.