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Mexico’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival (FICM) and Locarno Academy are hosting the fifth edition of their joint academy for young professionals at this year’s festival, supported by the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE) and the Ibermedia program.

The Morelia/Imcine-Locarno Intl. Industry Academy – it’s official name . counts as one of a series of Academies hosted by the Locarno Film Festival, which takes in Brazil, at the Sao Paulo IFF; in Santiago, Chile– previously in Valdivia; IFF Panama; in Greece at the Thessaloniki Festival; at the Lincoln Center in New York; and in Beirut, Lebanon.

The workshop’s main objective is to support young professionals in the areas of sales, marketing, online and traditional distribution, and exhibition and programming.

With only four days to fit in everything, the Locarno Academy at Morelia is always more sprint than marathon. Attendees arrived Monday and meet from 9am – 6:30pm each day this week. In the evenings they are invited to attend free screenings, dinners and parties, if they have the stamina.

As in past years, the workshop is designed and run by Sandra Gómez, distributor and producer at Interior XIII, and Marion Klotz, Industry Academy International project manager.

Participants at this year’s Academy are: Paloma Cabrera Yañez – distributor at Pimienta Films and Esperanto Filmoj, Maria Fernanda Carvajal Alpízar, an independent producer, Miriam García, at the distribution arm of Cinépolis; Alejandro Gómez Marín, director of the Colombo American Center of Medellin; and an editor at Kinetoscopio; Ernesto Martínez Agraz, a Cine Tonalá programmer; Ana Pia Quintana Enciso, an independent exhibitor with Kinoki who works with the Ocote and Puy Ta Kuxlejaltic festivals, Virginia Rico, a historian and cultural manager from the city of Morelia; and Maria Beatriz Estevão de Oliveira Vilela, at independent distributor Imovision.

Speakers and tutors at this year’s Academy include several familiar faces as well as some exciting first timers. It’s a diverse group of international professionals from various related fields including former critics and cinema writers, producers, distributors, exhibitors and more.

Domestic guest speakers include Miguel Rivera, VP of global film programming and content at Cinepolis, the world’s second largest theater company and FICM’s major backer; Roxana Alejo of itinerant doc festival Ambulante, founded by Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna; and Carlos Sosa, founder and director of Mexican production company Viento del Norte Cine.

John Bailey, the legendary Hollywood cinematographer and president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over 2017-2019, will speak at the Academy in addition to participating at the Impulso Morelia WIP sidebar along with Alejandro Arenas of Paris-based production house Les Films du Worso; Katrin Pors, one of the top Europe-Latin America co-producers behind films such as “Birds of Passage” and “Monos,” currently scooping up multiple festival awards; and Meinolf Zurhorst, a highly-respected producer, commissioner and writer who has worked at French-German public broadcaster Arte since 1992, and ws appointed head of fiction at ZDF/Arte in 2017.

Carlos A. Gutiérrez, producer and cultural promotor at New York-based Cinema Tropical joins Heather Haynes, the senior international programmer for the International Documentary Film Festival of Canada, HotDocs, from north of the border.

European representatives include Virginie Devesa, co-founder of French independent sales company Alpha Violet, which is representing key Latin American films such as Mexican Oscar entry “The Chambermaid”; and Morelia regular Charles Tesson, artistic director of Cannes Critics’ Week since 2012 and president of Cinémas du Monde (CNC-French Institute) since 2016.

Erick González rounds out the week’s speakers. He’s currently the programming director for Chile’s Australab and a programming delegate of CCC -Center of Cinema and Creation.