As Pan's Labyrinth took nine awards at last night's Ariel awards ceremony - the Mexican film industry's top awards - director Guillermo de Toro was already using his industry influence to petition the government with a proposal to amend the country's tax-shelter laws.
Del Toro made the trip to Mexico City for the award ceremony from Budapest where he is in pre-production on Hellboy 2. He was accompanied by the two other members of what is known in Hollywood film circles as the 'Tres Amigos' group, fellow Mexican film-makers Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel) and Alfonso Cuaron (Children Of Men).
Strengthened by their international status - combined, their films garnered 17 nominations in the recent Academy Awards - they took the opportunity to come out publicly in favour of the implementation of combined state and private measures to back the local film industry.
Before the Ariel ceremony the trio met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon and the press. They called for amendments to the recently adopted tax-shelter law, which allows companies and individuals to invest 20% of their taxable income into film production - a measure that is expected to pump an annual $50 million into film production on top of funds made available by the state subsidised Mexican Film Institute (Imcine). They also called for mandatory screening time for national fare and the obligation of private and public television networks to invest in film production.
Their positions were widely backed by the local film community and the Academia Mexicana de Artes y Ciencias Cinematograficas (Film Art Academy), organiser of the Ariel Awards.
After receiving the Guadalajara Film Award at the Guadalajara Film Festival (which kicked off today), Del Toro, Inarritu and Cuaron announced plans to further consolidate their cooperation by having a number of their future productions shot in Mexico. First to do so will likely be Alfonso Cuaron, who is set to direct a film later this year based on 1968's student upheaval and massacre in Mexico City just before the Olympic Games. Del Toro and Inarritu are expected to produce.
Complete list of Ariel awards winners:
Best picture: Pan's Labyrinth (dir: Guillermo del Toro)
Director: Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best Actress: tie between Maribel Verdu (Pan's Labyrinth) and Elizabeth Cervantes (Mas Que A Nada En El Mundo)
Best Actor: Damian Alcazar (Cronicas)
Best Supporting actress: Isela Vega (Fuera Del Cielo)
Best supporting actor: Gerardo Taracena (El Violin)
Best Original screenplay: Francisco Vargas (El Violin)
Best Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best Editing: Valentina Leduc (En El Hoyo)
Best Original score: Javier Navarrete (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best Sound: Samuel Larson, Jaime Baksht, Natalia Bruschtein, Mauricio Santos, Jesus Sanchez (En El Hoyo)
Best Art Direction: Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta, Ramon Moya (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best Special Effects: Reyes Abades, Angel Alonso, David Marti, Montse Ribe (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best Costume Design: Lala Huete (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best Makeup: Jose Quetglas and Blanca Sanchez (Pan's Labyrinth)
Best First Work: El Violin (dir: Francisco Vargas)
Best Full-length Documentary: En El Hoyo (dir: Juan Carlos Rulfo)
Best Animated Feature: Una Pelicula De Huevos (dir: Rodolfo Riva Palacio Alatriste and Gabriel Riva Palacio Alatriste)
Best Ibero-American Picture: La Vida Secreta De Las Palabras (dir: Isabel Coixet, Spain)
Best Animated Short: Berlitad (dir: Pablo Angeles Zuman)
Best Short Film (fiction): Dime Lo Que Sientes (dir: Iria Gomez)
Best Short Film (documentary): Ser Isla (dir: Eun-Hee Ihm)