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Mexico’s Rising Stars, Volker Schlondorff, John Cooper, Michael Nyman at 2015’s ArteCareyes (EXCLUSIVE)

Emerging talent and multidiscipline platform unspools on Mexico’s stunning Costa Careyes

Alonso Ruizpalacios’ “Gueros,” Rigoberto Perezcano’s “Carmin Tropical” and Max Zunino’s “Open Cage” will compete in the exquisitely curated Feature Film Program at Mexico’s 6th ArteCareyes Film and Arts Festival.

“A cultural festival” and “multidiscipline platform” promoting “the artistic content” of films and presenting new talents in music and contemporary art, per fest founder-director Filippo Brignone, ArteCareyes unspools March 4-8.

It also features a Careyes Creation Lab led by legendary New German Cinema director Volker Schlondorff and attended by some of the boldest contemporary talents in Mexican filmmaking. Another highlight, Direct From Fest, sees a special screening of Jim Strause’s “People, Places, Things,” chosen and presented by Sundance Festival director John Cooper.

Famed as a composer (“The Draughtsman’s Contract,” “The Piano”), Michael Nyman will receive fest’s 2015 TANE Tribute and introduce an anthology of his video work as well as an exhibition of his photos.

A Berlinale Best First Feature Award winner, a prize mexico has now won two years in a row, “Gueros” is very possibly the most laurelled Latin American debut of the last 12 months.

Popular on Variety

It is also indicative of one way Latin American cinema is heading, at once honoring the region’s long tradition in social issue focus as it reaches out to wider audiences through its enrollment of a medley of film formats: A slice of Mexico City life and on-the-fly record of student protests melding with a road movie – though confined to Mexico D.F. – romantic dramedy, a coming of age narrative and a free-ranging playfulness reminiscent of France’s Nouvelle Vague.

Equally, “Carmin Tropical,” Rigoberto Perezcano’s awaited next film after offbeat immigration drama “Northless,” wraps reflections on gender and violence in a transgender woman investigator murder mystery.

Charting the building relationship between a jobless 65-year-old (esteemed thesp Juan Carlos Colombo) and an initially callous girl drifter (Espinosa), Zunino’s double redemption movie “Open Cage” has a social underbelly in its crisis-ravaged world of mass unemployment and street cooperatives.

The feature film program not only shines a light on young talent but also some of Mexico’s most exciting producers and distribution initiatives.

“Carmin Tropical” is co-written by producer Edgar San Juan (“Northless”), produced by San Juan’s Tiburon Films, Christian Valdelievre’s Cinepantera, who has backed all of Fernando Eimbcke’s film, and Cristina Velasco. “The Incredible Story of the Stone Child” is the latest from Carlos Reygadas producer Mantarraya, here under its Cadereyta label. A tyke toon feature, play for wider audiences and drive to create Mexican children’s entertainment, its directors include Mantarraya topper Jaime Romandia and “River of Gold’s” Pablo Aldrete.

A documentary about family, his central theme, Carlos Hagerman’s “El patio de mi casa,” a portrait of his parents, is a recent standout at the itinerant Ambulante documentary fest, now firmly established at 10-years-old, and touring Mexico from late January.

“We are working on creating a very unique encounter between new talents and recognized professionals in an informal and pristine corner of Mexico,” said Brignone.

“This approach has allowed young directors to find mentors for their new projects throughout the festival.”

In the case of 2015, Careyes will screen Schlondorff’s 1970 feature “Baal” and “Diplomatie” and stage a Q & A. The Schlondorff-led Careyes Creation Lab focuses on training actors for film and finding specific tools and methods to develop a fluid communication between directors and actors. Acting schools still focus on stage acting, spending little time on formal film training, the fest argues.

Aiming to encourage discussion about acting for film, Lab’s participants include Ruizpalacios, Perezcano, Zunino, Matias Meyer, director of “The Last Christeros,˝ praised by Variety as an “elegant ode to independence”; and Natalia Beristain, helmer of “She Doesn’t Want To Sleep Alone,” which win top honors at Mexico’s Morelia Festival in 2012.

Lab actors could easily stock a thesp version of Mexico 10 To Track: Espinosa, who gave a storming performance per critics as Gloria Trevi in “Gloria”; “We are the Nobles”’ Luis Gerardo Mendez, signed up last year by Paradigm; Tenoch Huerta and Ilse Salas, at the romantic heart of “Gueros.”

Also attending are Dolores Heredia, who has major roles in Cannes screener “Days of Grace” and Rachid Bouchareb’s 2014’s Berlin Competition player “Two Men in Town”; Ursula Pruneda, who carries bereaved mother drama “The Dream of Lu”; and Cassandra Ciangherotti, the grand-daughter in “The Hours With You,” another talked-up debut by a Mexican distaff director, here Catalina Aguilar Mastretta.

The Creative Lab is organized by the Careyes Foundation, with the support of the Ingmar Bergman Chair in Film and Theater at Mexico’s National University, the Morelia International Film Festival and Cinema 23, creators of the Fenix Awards for Ibero-American Cinema.

Playing Sundance 2015, crowd-pleasing “People, Places, Things” turns on a New York comic-book artist (Jemaine Clement) battling with single parenthood, old love, new love, his teaching gig. It marks the third feature from Strause whose debut “Grace Is Gone” won audience and Waldo Salt Screenwriting awards at Sundance in 2007.

The 2015 ArteCareyes Film and Arts Festival is located on the idyllic Costa Careyes Pacific Coast in Jalisco, central Mexico.

“I was immediately drawn to Careyes by it beautiful location but what I found was a passionate group of people committed to sharing our film culture. I am impressed and inspired by their dedication to helping young Mexican artists,” said Sundance’s Cooper.

Featuring rockabilly, electro-tropical, trad salsa, smooth jazz, funky disco and contempo marimba, ArteCareyes’ innovative music acts take in Salon Acapulco, DJ Telesforo, Sr Buho, DJ Inigo Vontier, Rebel Cats, Sonora Cartagena, Shakes & TV, Yuri & Dakota. Fest will also exhibit and auction works by some of Mexico’s most representative young artists.

ArteCareyes’ annual tribute to film archive work and silent movies sees a screening of Enrique Rosas’ 1919 feature “The Grey Automobile,” framed in a show by Claudio Valdes Kuri, inspired by Japanese benshi techniques. Roger Ebert described Kuri’s show as “an astonishing theatrical experience…the Marx Brothers out of Gilbert & Sullivan and incorporating an early Japanese film tradition.”

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