You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Support Scheme Opens Call for Submissions

Incentive initiative links Mexican Film Institute, W.K. Kellogg Foundation and IFF Panama

The second call for submissions for the Gabriel Garcia Marquez documentary support scheme – an initiative involving the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and IFF Panama– was announced during the 6th Panama Film Festival. It runs between April 3 and June 2, 2017.

The scheme is targeted at filmmakers from indigenous populations or of African descent, based in Mexico and Central America, and films with topics about racial equity, children, or community and citizen participation.

The call includes $300,000 in grants and mentoring services covering all project stages, from scriptwriting through to distribution.

The first edition of the scheme was launched by IMCINE in 2014, as EMC-Docs, in partnership with the Ford Foundation. The current scheme had its first call in 2016 and received 72 submissions, with 22 supported projects announced in March 2017, with grants of up to $12,500 per project.

Even for the Mexican film industry – which dwarfs the film sectors in Central America – filmmakers from indigenous populations can find it difficult to access funding.

Speaking to Variety after a panel at the 6th IFF Panama dedicated to documentary support schemes, IMCINE’s Yissel Ibarra, explained that the Panama Film Festival has been chosen as a core partner of the scheme because it provides vital access to Central America.

In the 2016 call, 80% of the submitted projects were from Mexico, but Ibarra says that she believes that the proportion between Mexico and Central America will now be more balanced. “The Panama Film Festival is the gateway to Central America.”

Ibarra hopes to premiere the scheme’s films in Panama’s Primera Mirada pix-in-post sidebar, and in Mexico City’s new Film and Audiovisual Market and Industry (MICA).

The decision to restrict the scheme to filmmakers from indigenous populations or of African descent was taken to promote new voices. In Mexico alone, over 70 different indigenous languages are spoken.

Ibarra says one of her key inspirations is 2015 Guatemalan film,“Ixcanul,” by Jayro Bustamante, much of which is spoken in the indigenous Mayan language and highlights the institutionalized discrimination against indigenous people that exists throughout the region.

“If we could do something like “Ixcanal” it would be perfect,” she explains. “There are many groups of people in the region who are less well known to the world, but who have vibrant local cultures and storytelling traditions. ‘Ixcanal’ is my reference, it’s what I’m striving for.”

“What we’re ultimately trying to achieve is technology transfer,” she continues. “We want to allow local people to tell their own stories, rather than have others telling stories about them. But, firstly it’s difficult to find them, and then they need some training and assistance. That’s why a partner such as the Panama Film Festival is so important.”

In addition to the funding award, the scheme includes an eight-month tutoring program for each project involving some of the scheme’s jurors – such as Tatiana Huezo and Elena Fortes – and other professionals .

The two projects selected for distribution in the 2016 call will be tutored by producer Paola Stefani, who adopted an alternative distribution approach for “Huicholes: The Last Peyote Guardians.”

“What Paola did is really interesting,” comments Ibarra. “The film’s entire exhibition route was independent, involving online and local communities.”

The scheme also has a partnership with Mexico’s Documental Ambulante A.C., founded in 2005 by Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Elena Fortes, whose workshops, Ambulante Más Allá, played a key role in the 2016 call, contributing 12 from the 22 selected projects.

Ibarra hopes Panama can further amplify communication in Central America. The scheme is primarily intended for documentaries and documentary series, but Ibarra says it’s flexible.

“We’re trying to empower new storytellers, more plural, who want to tell their stories.” She cites selected project,“Tote abuelo,” by María Dolores Arias Martínez, about a grandson from the nomadic Huichol tribe, who wants to accompany his grandfather on his last journey.

“At a time when the U.S. president is talking about building walls, we want to break down those barriers in a more human, loving and nurturing way. At least introduce some cracks in the walls.”

More Film

  • 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Weaves Inclusive

    The Secret Power of 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Is Inclusion

    In a year that gave us films like “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians,” this weekend’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” delivers one more home run for underrepresented groups in media in 2018. An animated film that takes advantage of Sony’s piece of the Marvel pie, “Spider-Verse” not only puts a mixed-race, middle-class teenager in the [...]

  • Jeff BridgesJeff Bridges, who stars in

    Jeff Bridges to Receive Cecil B. DeMille Award at 2019 Golden Globes

    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced that Jeff Bridges will receive the Cecil B. DeMille award at the 76th Golden Globes on Jan. 6, 2019. Bridges has starred in films like “The Big Lebowski,” “Crazy Heart,” “True Grit,” and “The Fabulous Baker Boys.” “The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is delighted to bestow the 2019 [...]

  • Charlotte Rampling Euphoria

    Berlin Film Festival: Charlotte Rampling to Receive Honorary Golden Bear

    Oscar-nominated actress Charlotte Rampling, whose career has spanned more than 100 film and television roles, will be honored with a special Golden Bear at the upcoming Berlin Film Festival. The fest will also pay homage to Rampling by screening a selection of her work, including Sidney Lumet’s “The Verdict” (1982), Francois Ozon’s “Swimming Pool” (2003) [...]

  • The Sisters Brothers

    France's Lumieres Awards Unveil Nominations

    Jacques Audiard’s “The Sisters Brothers” has been nominated for best film and director at the 24th Lumieres Awards, France’s equivalent of the Golden Globes. The Western starring Joaquin Phoenix, John C. Reilly and Jake Gyllenhaal world-premiered at Venice Film Festival, where it earned Audiard a best director award. Produced by Paris-based company Why Not, “The [...]

  • CAA to Represent Peter Chan's We

    CAA to Represent Peter Chan's We Pictures

    Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has signed with We Pictures, the production and distribution company founded by Hong Kong-born director and producer Peter Chan Ho-sun. It aims to boost the company’s footprint both in China and abroad. Within China, CAA China will help We Pictures to develop new business partnerships and find new sources of investment [...]

  • Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley to Receive

    'Carol' Producers Elizabeth Karlsen, Stephen Woolley to Be Honored by BAFTA

    Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley, the producers of such films as “Carol,” “Their Finest” and the recent “Colette” starring Keira Knightley, will receive the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award at the BAFTA Film Awards. The prolific pair run Number 9 Films and have a long list of credits. They will pick up their accolade at [...]


    Korea Box Office: 'Rhapsody' Reclaims Top Spot, Beats ‘Spider-Verse’

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” reclaimed top place at the South Korean box office, overtaking “Default,” after spending two weekends in second place. The Fox release earned $4.38 million from 554,000 admissions for a total of $61.0 million from 7.94 million admissions. In its seventh weekend of release “Rhapsody” accounted for 27% of the weekend box office. CJ [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content