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Los Cabos: ‘Genesis,’ ’Feral,’ ’Neza,’ ‘Labor’ Win Big at Top Mexican Fest

LOS CABOS, Mexico — Adding to its burgeoning best picture trophies, “Genesis,” the consecration of Quebec’s Philippe Lesage, won Los Cabos Competition Award Saturday night.

Genesis” scored at a busy Los Cabos Intl. Film Festival, given star gravitas by Spike Lee, Adam Driver and Terry Gilliam and whose hard-driving industry news flow, especially from the robust young Mexican industry belied Los Cabos initial positioning as a post-AFM chill out.

Following on Lesage’s debut, “The Demons,” “Genesis” marks “Another rewardingly complex reflection on the emotional trials of youth,” Variety announced in its Locarno review. Superbly acted by Théodore Pellerin and Noe Abita, the chronicle of an ebullient brother and sister’s suffering from machista disdain and aggression was always a frontrunner at Los Cabos.

Otherwise, the other big competition winner – and doing its foreign-language Oscar nomination credentials no harm at all –  was Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s Colombian thriller “Birds of Passage” (“Pajaros de Verano”), which scored the audience award.

A crafted 1970s tribal mobster epic depicting how a Wayuu family is torn apart by Colombia’s early drug trade, the runaway Directors’ Fortnight favorite is also a sign of the international standing of Mexico’s industry, being co-produced by Pimienta Films’ Nicolas Celis, a producer on Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” and winner at Los Cabos of the CTT Exp & Rentals Award for “Estado del Imperio,” a movie project in the early stages of definition from Cannes and Venice best director winner Amat Escalante.

Co-produced by Itaca Films, Andrés Kaiser’s found-footage documentary-style thriller “Feral,” about the death of defrocked monk attempting to socialize three feral children, swept all three prizes on offer at Los Cabo’s Mexico Primero competition for finished features.

2018 has been a remarkable year for Mexican filmmaking and filmmakers, with Mexican films winning best screenplay at Sundance (“Time Share”) and Berlin (“Museo”), “Roma” taking Venice’s Golden Lion, and “The Good Girls” scoring a slot in Toronto’s prestige Platform competition.

The producers of these titles, and fellow filmmakers in a remarkable generation of often still thirty-something cineasts, made much of the running at Los Cabos this year, in both prizes and news announcements.

Woo Films (“The Good Girls”) won the Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund Film in Development Award, for “Neza,” Julio Hernandez Cordon’s music-infused Mexico City tale of a twice-damned man who first kills his best friend to be with the woman he loves, and years later condones the killing of his son to maintain a tenuous peace in the neighborhood where he is seen as an unofficial civic leader.

Produced by Lucia Films’ Michel Franco, winner of a 2017 Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize for “April’s Daughter,” “Labor,” a discomfiting portrait of Mexico’s social divide from first-time director David Zanona, won two of the three Works in Progress prizes on offer. The third went to Fernando Frias’ “I’m No Longer Here,” a trenchant take on immigration and the commoditization of culture produced by “Museo’s” Panorama Global which announced the futuristic “Frogtown,” the directorial debut of “Museo” co-writer Manuel Alcalá and Netflix series “Maniac” showrunner Mauricio Katz.

Machete Films’ Edher Campos’ won the best pitch Talent On The Road Award for “Viaje al Pais de los Tarahumaras,” a chronicle of theater of cruelty’s playwright Antonin Artaud’s life-defining travel to the Mexican highlands to experience its shamanic healing. Directed by Federico Cecchetti, “Viaje” will be co-produced by Canada’s Peripheria and France’s Ciné-Sud Promotion, Campos confirmed at Los Cabos.

In further industry news, Julio Chavezmontes’ Piano (“Time Share”) unveiled he will co-produce Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s upcoming “Memoria”: Selling its films increasingly well abroad. Mexico is entering the elite of world cinema producers.

Joaquin del Paso’s “The Hole in the Fence,” an allegory of mass hysteria and religious indoctrination, snagged one of the biggest services awards, the CTT Exp and Rentals and Chemistry Award.

“Giving the prizes to a single project is a tremendous leg-up for its entering production,” says Francisco Westendarp, Los Cabos industry manager.

The big TV Series in Development winner, following seven defense attorneys from seven Latin American countries, the docu-series “The Devil’s Advocates” examines through interviews, archives and stories, the lives of the lawyers and their relationships with their clients.

2018 7TH LOS CABOS INTL. FILM FESTIVAL PRIZEWINNERS

LOS CABOS COMPETITION

“Genesis,” (Philippe Lesage, France)

LOS CABOS COMPETITION SPECIAL MENTION

“We the Animals,” (Jeremiah Zagar, U.S.)

CINEMEX AUDIENCE AWARD

“Birds of Passage,” (Cristina Gallegos, Ciro Guerra, Mexico, Colombia)

MEXICO PRIMERO

CINEMEX PRIZE

“Feral,” (Andrés Kaiser, Mexico)

PREMIO FIPRESCI

“Feral,” (Andrés Kaiser, Mexico)

ART KINGDOM AWARD

“Feral,” (Andrés Kaiser, Mexico)

GABRIEL FIGUEROA FILM FUND AWARDS

WORK IN PROGRESS

“Labor,” (David Zonana)

CHEMISTRY AWARD

“Labor,” (David Zonana)

CINECOLOR MEXICO AWARD

“I’m No Longer Here,” (Fernando Frias)

FILM IN DEVELOPMENT AWARDS

FILM IN DEVELOPMENT AWARD

“Neza,” (Julio Hernández Cordón)

CTT EXP & RENTALS AWARD

“Estado del imperio,” (Amat Escalante)

CTT EXP & RENTALS + CHEMISTRY AWARD

“The Hole in the Fence,” (Joaquín del Paso)

TALENT ON THE ROAD /WORLD TALENT HOUSE AWARD

“Viaje al país de los Tarahumaras,” (Federico Cecchetti)

GABRIEL FIGUEROA FILM FUND – TV SERIES IN DEVELOPMENT

BOBO AWARD

“The Devil’s Advocates”

PROMO TRAILER ART KINGDOM AWARD

“The Devil’s Advocates”

OUTSTANDING WORK IN CINEMA AWARD

Adam Driver

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Spike Lee, Terry Gilliam

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