MORELIA, Mexico  — Whether by mere coincidence or not, the Morelia Int’l Film Fest’s pix-in-post program Impulso Morelia (Oct. 23 – 25) features three feature-length projects that delve into issues of the indigenous communities of Mexico.

Among them is fiction feature “La Negrada” by Jorge Pérez Solano, which plays almost like a docu, and is the first local film to focus on Mexico’s Afro-Mexican population.

Docu “Ayotzinapa, the Turtle’s Pace” (“Ayotzinapa, el Paso de la Tortuga”) by Enrique García Meza, produced by Bertha Navarro (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), deals with the infamous disappearance of some 40 students while on their way to a political meeting, many of whom were from indigenous rural communities.

Xavi Sala’s debut feature “Guie’dani’s Navel” (“El Ombligo de Guie’dani”) centers on the struggles of a strong-willed indigenous girl and her mother who work for an upper-class family in Mexico City.

Another feature debut, Andrés Kaiser’s “Feral” revolves around a priest who tries to tame and educate a feral boy he has caught in the forest. What starts as a faux docu turns into a suspense film, according to Impulso co-programmer Jose Maria Riba.

Bernardo Arellano’s somewhat magic realist drama “Serpent’s Paradise” (“El Paraíso de la Serpiente”) pivots on a remote region where people still practice ancient rituals.

“We received 70 projects, which we narrowed down to these five, no easy task,” said Impulso coordinator-programmer, Andrea Stavenhagen. “It’s always a question of quality over quantity,” said Riba.

In contrast to last year when Impulso opened up to projects in development, the program has only accepted pics in post-production for this 3rd edition. “The Sundance Lab, in Morelia for the first time ever, will be handling scripts in development this time,” said Stavenhagen.

Backed by Televisa and in collaboration with Mexican screenwriter Marina Stavenhagen (“De la Calle”) and Navarro, four fiction projects have been selected for Sundance’s mini-lab, with mentors to include screenwriters Carlos Cuaron (“Y Tu Mama Tambien”), Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”), Naomi Foner (“Bee Season”) and Dante Harper “(The Edge of Tomorrow”).

The lab participants are: “Buchinos” by Betzabé García, “Noche de Fuego,” by Tatiana Huezo, “Los Amantes se Despiden Con la Mirada,” by Rigoberto Perezcano and “Mano de Obra,” by David Zonana.

Huezo, whose docu “Tempest” represents Mexico in the 90th Academy Awards’ foreign-language film competition, is a source of pride for Impulso as this is where she first presented a rough cut of “Tempest” to industry guests and the Impulso jury. “Noche de Fuego” will be her first fiction project.

Other notable films to emerge from Impulso include “La Libertad del Diablo” by Everardo González; “Plaza de la Soledad,” by Maya Goded; and “Extraño Pero Verdadero,” by Michel Lipkes.

This year’s jury is comprised of Rasha Salti, head of content for Lucarne, Arte France’s experimental docu program; Richard Peña, director emeritus of the New York Film Festival; and Édouard Waintrop, director of Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. At stake is a $10,569 (200,000 pesos) cash prize from the festival towards post production costs; distribution and P & A valued at $13,211 (250,000 pesos) from main fest sponsor Cinepolis; post-production and THX sound services from Churubusco Azteca Studio valued at $10,569 (200,000 pesos) and, lastly, a $10,000 Next prize from the Tribeca Film Institute, which includes a year of mentoring for the winner’s next project.



“Ayotzinapa, el Paso de la Tortuga” (Enrique García Meza,

Salamandra Prods.)

“El Paraíso de la Serpiente” (Bernardo Arellano,

Biznaga Films, La Maroma Prods., Bibifilm Italia, La Provincia Cine)

“Feral” (Andrés Kaiser, Cine Feral)

“La Negrada” (Jorge Pérez Solano, Tirisia Cine)

“Xquipi’ Guie’dani” (“El Ombligo de Guie’dani”)

(Xavi Sala, Xavi Sala p.c.)