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Morelia’s Daniela Michel Presents Four Standout Mexican Shorts at Critics’ Week

Since 2005, the Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week and Mexico’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival (FICM) have enjoyed a reciprocal relationship. Each year, a selection of short competition films from Morelia is shown in a special selection at Critics’ Week, with the features from the Cannes section screening five months later in Morelia.

The short film program is also presented in Paris shortly after the festival.

The shorts which make it to Cannes are selected by Critics’ Week artistic director Charles Tesson. Each year, Tesson attends the Mexican fest where he selects which shorts to bring back to Cannes with him. And, while Tesson often selects some of the winning films, he has complete freedom to curate the selection as he sees fit.

Since its inception in 2003 Morelia has been screening the Critics’ Week films, and in 2005, then then head of Critics’ Week Jean-Christophe Berjon attended the Mexican festival and made the decision to bring part of it back with him to Cannes.

“It’s been almost 15 years of doing it this way,” Morelia founder and general director Daniela Michel told Variety. “Throughout those years we’ve had around 40 young filmmakers who have come to Critics’ Week because of this wonderful agreement.”

She elaborated that not only Morelia, but the Mexican industry as a whole has benefited greatly from Cannes’ Critics’ Week, pointing out that both Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Iñárritu were discovered in the section – Del Toro in ’93 when his film “Cronos” won the Critics’ Week grand prize and Iñárritu in 2000 when “Amores perros” did the same.

This year’s selection of shorts includes four distinct, yet balanced films; while some are entirely grounded in reality, others flirt with and embrace fantasy. All four share a youthful energy which mirrors that of their creators.

Up and coming filmmaker Betzabé García’s “The Girl with Two Heads” turns on a young woman named Anne, a martial artist who dismisses archaic societal standards of femininity which her mother is struggling to conform to as she ages.

CREDIT: FICM

“A Berlin photographer who was a fetishist fighting [fan] was brought to my attention, but the photography was not completely beautiful, and showed more about how the two fighters become one body,” Garcia told Variety in Morelia last October.

Pablo Giles “El aire delgado” (The Thin Air) follows Sonia and Mateo, a couple who take a trip under the pretext of repairing their damaged relationship. The trip is a peaks and valleys experience which tests whether there is more conflict in the world around them, or between the two, while the audience waits for the shoe to drop.

CREDIT: FICM

“San Miguel” from director Cris Gris, is a study of guilt, and how young children deal with the emotion that is often so hard to express, even for adults. In the film, a young girl feels guilty for the sorrow her mother is experiencing after an accident, and goes to great lengths in hopes of inspiring some divine intervention to fix things.

The production was granted support from the Spike Lee Film Production Fund and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Fellows Fund, and in 2019 won the Wasserman King Screenwriting Award.

Carlos Tapia González’s fantastic short “Satán” turns on Tiago, a boy who every day ventures into his family’s garden to feed Satán, the crocodile that killed his older brother, haunted by memories of the older boy.

CREDIT: FICM

The film was produced by Switzerland’s Lunica Productions and École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne Département Cinéma. It has impressed at a number of international festivals and scored the Jury Award at the Palm Springs Intl. Short Fest.

“I think the balance is perfect, what Charles did with these short films,” Michel praised.

She summed up the relationship between FICM and Critics’ Week saying: “It’s a great honor for me. I always tell people in Mexico the best gift for Morelia is to come to Cannes and present our short films. There is nothing better.”

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