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Ficunam, the international film festival organized by the National Autonomous University of Mexico, has launched new film lab, Catapulta, in a bid to extend more support to indie films in post.

The open call for its First Cut competition runs from Nov. 27 to Jan. 14.

The 9th Ficunam unspools Feb. 28 to March 10.

Founded in 2011, Ficunam has signed on a new administration led by executive director Abril Alzaga and artistic director Michel Lipkes.

Argentine filmmaker-producer Ivan Granovsky, the co-founder of Mar del Plata IFF’s co-production meetings, LoboLab, has been tapped as the general curator of Catapulta.

“Ficunam champions non-traditional and risky cinema,” said Granovsky, adding: “Catapulta is a commitment to protect and promote the fiercest projects out there.”

“Ficunam intends to help catapult these free and courageous films onto the marketplace,” concurred Alzaga who was the executive co-ordinator of UNAM’s Ingmar Bergman Chair in Film and Theater where she managed international co-production projects.

“Catapulta is global; we want to promote the breaking down of borders and nationalities in auteur cinema,” she added.

To launch at the festival’s 9th edition, Catapulta’s First Cut will showcase films in post to festival curators, sales agents, distributors and producers, among others. Running March 6-9, First Cut will be one of the many initiatives the film lab will introduce each year to help experimental and auteur filmmakers.

“Ficunam has been nourished by notable low-budget films and radical narratives. These films are the ones that, throughout history, formed the cultural identity of a people; Catapulta was created to accompany them,” said Lipkes, who has been a programming head at the Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival (FICCO), the Guadalajara International Film Festival and the Riviera Maya Film Festival. Apart from programming film fests, Lipkes has directed the films “Malaventura” (2011) and “Strange But True” (2017), both of which premiered in Rotterdam.

Lipkes describes the lab as a “practical tool to creatively and financially promote the cinema” in which they believe. “We want this platform to be one more gear in the system of film production and not just a mere logo,” he said.

“In Catapulta, there will be competitions, there will be prizes in those competitions, but there will never be losers,” Granovsky asserted.