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Mexico’s Morelia Fest to Host Berlinale Spotlight

Event marks one of the cultural highlights in the 2016-17 Germany-Mexico Dual Year

Berlinale 2016
Courtesy of Morelia Intl. Film Festival

Mexico’s 14th Morelia Film Festival will host a Berlinale Spotlight as part of the  2016-17 Germany-Mexico Dual Year, a bilateral initiative promoting exchange in the arts and creative industries as well as trade, tourism, education, science and innovation.

The program comprises 10 films from February’s Berlinale, the retrospective “Germany 1966 – Redefining Cinema,” and a focus on German classic films. In addition, there will be presentations of Berlinale initiatives such as World Cinema Fund and Berlinale Talents.

Jointly curated by the Morelia and the Berlin Festivals, the event is backed by the Goethe-Institut.

“This initiative not only provides our audiences with the chance to see new and exciting international works, but also strengthen the relationship between our festivals, our countries and our cinematographies,” said Morelia fest director Daniela Michel.

Launched with the backing of Mexican exhibition chain Cinepolis, Morelia has built fast as a showcase for its new wave of directors and maintains a new talent focus through a strong short film program, accompanying its feature film sections.  It is also an outstanding example of how festivals are looking to collaborate across international borders in order to pursue their common goal of promoting quality films for audiences avid, at least in a festival context, to broaden their experience of movies.

More than any other festival in Latin America, Morelia has also built strong links with Europe’s biggest film events. Cannes head Thierry Fremaux, a frequent fest guest, stepped in to open its 13th festival, delivering a speech about Guillermo del Toro before a screening of “Crimson Peak.”A program of Morelia shorts also play at Cannes Critics’ Week. In 2015, Morelia and Switzerland’s Locarno Festival teamed to launch a training initiative, the Locarno Industry Academy International in Morelia, targeting six young Mexican distribution and exhibition executives.

The Germany-Mexico Dual Year kicked-off in Germany on April 11 with the state visit to Germany of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto; It continued June 6, with foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s visit to Mexico.

The Berlin Festival’s European Film Market, the second biggest film market in Europe, announced in May that Mexico will inaugurate its new Country in Focus program, which kicks off next year.

The 14th Morelia Intl. Film Festival runs Oct. 21-30.

John Hopewell contributed to this article