Morelia Film Festival’s (FICM) Impulso sidebar for pix in progress will run Sunday through Tuesday this coming week, having become one of the territories most important launchpads for Latin American feature films in post-production.
Many of the participating films in recent editions have gone on to find festival success the world around.
Last year, Hari Sama’s “This is Not Berlin” was the talk of the day, and since being finished has made major impacts at Sundance, Tribeca and Malaga. From 2017, Andres Kaiser’s cabin in the woods thriller “Feral” went on to win awards at Los Cabos and participate in several major genre fests across Europe and North America. 2016 hosted Joshua Gil’s “Sanctorum” which closed Venice Critics’ Week this year.
Other standout participants include, but are not limited to: “The Chaotic Life of Nada Kadi’c” from Marta Hernaiz (Berlinale 2018); “Devil’s Freedom” from Everardo González (Berlinale 2017); “Polar Bear” by Marcelo Tobar (FICM 2017); Michel Lipkes’ “Strange But True” (Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam 2017); and Tatiana Huezo’s “Tempestad” (Berlinale 2016).
Impulso Morelia 5 welcomes six features, three fiction and three documentaries, to participate in this year’s event.
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“Santa Bárbara” from Anaïs Pareto Onghena follows Bárbara, a Bolivian woman living in Barcelona for more than a decade, who works as a housekeeper and lives with her girlfriend Maribel. On one of her weekly calls to her children, still living with her mother in Bolivia, she learns her eldest, Ulises, has been arrested. She brings the boy to live with her in Barcelona, where the two are forced to meet each other anew after 12 years apart.
Pareto explained that she wanted to tell a real-life story she found many women living when investigating a women’s soccer team in Barcelona, to explain “How these two lives would confront one another; the past life as a mother and the new as a ‘free’ woman.”
Julio Hernández Cordón’s “The Haunt of the Howl” is an awkward self-portrait of a young girl who just wants to ride her bike without restriction. Accompanied along the way by her father – who whispers urban legends in her ear, a poetic ghost and a wolfwoman, the girl sets out to find the lake of Texcoco.
Hernández described the film as “a formal and narrative examination of memory as a tool to appropriate physical space. How memory builds a map that distorts the present.”
“The Last Feathers” from Alejandro Alatorre is the third fiction feature. It turns on Leonardo, a solitary 16-year-old boy who wanders the streets of his hometown alone, looking for freedom and anything that can inspire emotions to help him feel alive. Abandoned by those he loved the most, Leonardo crosses paths with a series of enigmatic characters that force him to ask questions about himself, and about the reality he inhabits.
“What I wanted most while making this film, instead of telling a classic narrative structure, was to share some of the faces of a city that I love very much,” Alatorre told Variety. “I wanted to honor a place that has given and has taken away from me. The place that has shaped me into who I am today.”
Luis Kelly’s “I Don’t Know” is a B&W documentary which follows 23-year-old Tania. An often smiling and witty young woman, Tania has endured three non-functional kidneys due to complete renal failure suffered at just 13 years old, a history of familial violence, her own love story, and a high-risk pregnancy. Tania struggles daily towards an uncertain future with a smile on her face.
“From the first time I met Tania I was amazed by her smiling face, her flat laugh and her frank way of speaking,” Kelly told Variety. “She was fearless in front of the camera and shared her life without reservations.”
Luciana Kaplan returns to Morelia, where she won best feature documentary in 2017 with “Rush Hour,” with “The Spokeswoman,” a documentary which tells the story of María de Jesús Patricio, the first indigenous woman to run for president in Mexico. The film explores her appointment as spokeswoman for the National Indigenous Congress until the presidential elections of July 1, 2018, presenting many challenges that she and the CNI have faced. The film faces head on the nature and complexity of racism and gender discrimination in a changing Mexican society.
Kaplan explained: “This film is an intimate approach to the life of María de Jesús Patricio (Marichuy), proposed by the Indigenous Council of Government to represent them in the political process.”
Finally,“Wilderness,” from Everardo González, closely examines mankind’s link to land, and the symbiotic relationship between nature, animals and human beings. The movie was “Built from unskillfulness, misunderstanding, surprise and amazement,” according to González.
One of Mexico and Latin America’s loudest voices in documentary, González’s films have participated and won awards at prestigious festivals such as Berlin, IDFA, Toulouse, Locarno, BAFICI, Guadalajara and Morelia.
In addition to accredited industry members, the Impulso Morelia section also features a panel of international guests who will ask questions and advise the participating filmmakers.
This year’s impressive panel will be headed by legendary Hollywood cinematographer and recent president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences John Bailey; Alice Labadie, a buyer at Le Pacte (France); “Birds of Passage” and “Monos” producer Katrin Pors (Denmark); “We Are What We Are” director Jorge Michel Grau (Mexico); long-time writer-producer Jim Stark (USA); Alejandro Arenas, producer at Les Films du Worso (France); and critic, writer and lecturer Meinolf Zurhorst (Germany).
2019 Impulso Morelia participants:
“Santa Bárbara,” (Anaïs Pareto Onghena)
“I Don’t Know,” (Luis Kelly)
“The Haunt of the Howl,” (Julio Hernández Cordón)
“The Spokeswoman,” (Luciana Kaplan)
“Wilderness,” (Everardo González)
“The Last Feathers,” (Alejandro Alatorre)