Morelia Talent: Julio Fernandez Trains a Spotlight on Rapping Inmates in ‘Mexicanos de Bronce’

Cine Canibal-produced debut features in Morelia’s official docu selection

Julio Fernández
Courtesy of Julio Fernández

In a way Julio Fernandez’ debut feature documentary, “Mexicanos de Bronce” is a culmination of his past work. He has produced and directed a slew of non-fiction projects for television and cultural institutes that have explored the socio-political and cultural realities of Mexico. It was while researching on prisoners who were about to be released from a penitentiary when he came across some inmates who had turned to rap to express themselves and more importantly, to make their long- term prison sentences bearable. The fact is “50% of inmates return to prison,” said Fernandez.

Out of the three rapper inmates he profiled over five years, one was released but after a year of struggle against old vices, he was back. “They learn to survive in prison but nobody teaches them how to be free,” said Fernandez.

Fernandez’s university studies in photography and journalism have informed his work, but now he’d like to delve in something more personal. “I’m working on my first fiction feature, which will tap into more personal experiences and relationships,” he said.

Produced by Geminiano Pineda’s Cine Canibal, which plans to distribute it theatrically, “Mexicanos” will air on pubcaster Canal 22, which Fernandez has contributed to extensively, after a run on the international festival circuit.