Cannes is to throw a spotlight on the Mexican film industryat this year's film festival (May 11-22).

The Cannes Classics section will be dedicated to Mexicothis year, showcasing a number of classic Mexican pictures whose restorationhas been funded by Fundacion Televisa, the cultural arm of Latin American mediagiant Televisa Group.

Backed the Mexican Mexican Film Institute (Imcine), theCannes spotlight will kick off on May 14 with the presentation of Luis Bunuelmasterpiece Los Olvidados (1950). Also set to screen are La Perla(1945), Enamorada (1946), Salon Mexico (1948), all directed byanother legendary figure of Mexican cinema, actor/director Emilio 'El Indio'Fernandez.

Another Bunuel classic, Nazarin (1958), will mostlikely be included in the package.

The homage will include the screening of at least onetitle in the Cinema de la Plage section which is open to the Cannes public, aphoto exhibition by Mexican DOP Gabriel Figueroa plus a beach party thrown byFundacion Televisa and Conaculta.

An undisclosed Mexican title has also secured a berth inCannes' Certain Regard official section.

Cannes is also launching a new event this year which willshowcase features from a national film industry every day - and one of the dayswill be dedicated to Mexican films.

At least three local features and a number of shorts willbe on offer, as well as a panorama of older and recent productions from theMexican film industry.

The Cannes spotlight, which was announced by Televisa andImcine today, come on the eve of the 20th Guadalajara International Filmfestival.

The Mexican festival, which is presided over by RaulPadilla Lopez, kicks off tomorrow (March 11) and has traditionally played a keyrole in promoting Mexican cinema both in and out of the country. This year itis seeking to raise its profile as a festival showcasing the best ofinternational cinema while reserving a special focus on Mexican and LatinAmerican production.

The 3rd Latin American Film Market will run alongside thefirst Latin Co-production Meeting this year.

The festival opens with John Water's Dirty Shame,who will be the subject of a retrospective as will the late Jean Rouch, veteranlocal director Jorge Fons, African film-maker Idrissa Ouedrago as well MiaFarrow who will also be present in Guadalajara.

Other guests include Catalan director Ventura Pons, hisSpanish counterpart Fernando Trueba, French composer Antoine Duhamel, Spanishproducer/director Gerardo Herrero, Argentinian directors Fernando Solana andLucrecia Martel, Uruguayan actress Mirella Pascual, Spanish actress MaribelVerdu, festival directors Michael Kutza (Chicago)and Mikel Olaciregui (SanSebastian).

The Greek film industry has been invited to present aselection of 13 films while Sundance and the French Fond Sud Cinemaproduction-supporting scheme will receive special homages.

Six Mexican films are playing in competition plus eightout of competition. The festival launches just as a string of new films byveteran and newcomers are in post-production stage or are readying to shoot inMexico.

Veteran Felipe Cazals is in the final post-productionstage of Las Vueltas Del Citrillo, which is already generating strongbuzz. Another celebrated veteran, PaulLeduc makes comeback with El Cobrador, which starts shooting later thismonth.

Local auteur Arturo Ripstein is in pre-production for hisnew venture, El Carnaval de Sodoma, while two newcomers are inpost-production for two films which look guaranteed to find a berth in theinternational festival circuit.

They are Gerardo Tort with his powerful social/politicaldocumentary La Guerilla Y La Esperanza: Lucio Cabanas and NachoOrtiz with his third feature Tequila.

The crop looks very promising indeed and may even attractthe interest of the local distribution branches of US majors which have recentlyfound great success distributing Mexican fare in the country.