MORELIA, Mexico — “La negrada,” from Jorge Pérez Solano, a Mexican filmmaker who has carved out an early career examining the fate of Mexico’s forgotten, won two prizes at Impulso Morelia’s pix-in-post competition, the Festival’s major industry event.
The social realist drama marks Pérez Solano’s third feature, after a diptych, 2009’s “Spiral” and 2014’s “La Tirisia” (“Perpetual Sadness”) both of which examined in a naturalistic style the fate of those left behind by men’s immigration to the U.S.
Seen as a project at Berlin’s 2015 Co-production Market, “La negrada” examines another overlooked sector of Mexico’s populace, its Afro-Americans, descendants of slaves brought to Mexico – the first such film in Mexico. While Mexico’s government stumps up aid for its indigenous communities, it offers no such grants to Mexico’s blacks, Pérez Solano told Variety.
The movie is set on the Chica Costa of Oaxaca, Pérez Solano’s home state and one of the most marginalized in Mexico.
Also among 2017 Impulse Morelia winners were Bernardo Arellano’s black-and-white spiritual allegory “Serpent’s Paradise,” Enrique Garcia Meza’s documentary “Ayotzinapa, the Turtle´s Pace,” and Xavi Sala’s “Guie’dani’s Navel.”
Won by “La Negrada,” the Morelia Film Festival Award grants $200,000 Mexican pesos, (around $10,000), to be used for post-production processes and services; the Cinépolis Distribution plaudit guarantees Xavi Sala’s “Guie’dani’s Navel” – the story of a young Zapatec girl’s discomfort with big city life – vital national distribution in Mexico, with an investment in P&A of at least 250,000 Mexican pesos ($13,000). Estudios Churubusco Azteca will provides support of 200,000 Mexican pesos ($10,500) in post-production and THX sound services to Bernardo Arellano’s black and white spiritual allegory “Serpent’s Paradise.”
In other prizes, New York’s Tribeca Film Institute granted the Next award, which consists of $10,000 plus a year of tutoring at the Institute for the next project of the producer of “La Negrada,” César Gutiérrez Miranda and Pérez Solano.
The Ambulante Award, a 50,000 Mexican peso ($2,500) grant for aid in completing post-production, went to “Ayotzinapa, the Turtle’s Pace,” Enrique García Meza’s documentary, produced by the highly-respected Bertha Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), which turns on the disappearance – and murder – of some 40 students, many from indigenous rural communities, which created a furore of protest in México. Ambulante also offers a special screening at a future edition of an Ambulante Documentary Tour.
The Impulso Morelia Jury was made up this year of Cannes Directors’ Fortnight head Edouard Waintrop, Rasha Salti, an independent film and visual arts curator and writer who lives and works in Beirut, and Richard Peña, the former program director of the Lincoln Center Film Society and director of the New York Film Festival over 1988-2012.
IMPULSO MORELIA WINNERS, 2017
MORELIA FILM FESTIVAL AWARD
“La negrada,” Jorge Pérez Solano
CINÉPOLIS DISTRIBUTION AWARD
“Guie’dani’s Navel,” Xavi Sala
ESTUDIOS CHURUBUSCO AZTECA AWARD
“Serpent’s Paradise,” Bernardo Arellano
TRIBECA FILM INSTITUTE AWARD
“La negrada,” Jorge Pérez Solano
“Ayotzinapa, the Turtle’s Pace,” Enrique García Meza