Festival sees record 100,000 paid admissions.
Mariachi Gringo by Tom Gustafson from Mexico and Back To Stay (Abrir puertas y ventanas) by Milagros Mumenthaler from Argentina were the big winners at the 27th Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG).
Guests at the festival included Mike Leigh, Andy Garcia, Michael Nyman, Matthew Modine, Bruce La Bruce and local megastar and recent Oscar nominee Demian Bichir. Most of them contributed to masterclasses in the Talent Campus section.
Leigh, recipient of the Golden Mayahuel for his career, hosted many Q&As during his nine-films tribute, which received an overwhelming response from the public. The UK spotlight included more than 20 films.
Andy Garcia and local veteran directors Gabriel Retes and Alfredo Joscowicz also received honorary Mayahuels.
Other tributes included those to the late British film icon Derek Jarman and the Ecuadorian film industry, while side sections included an international panorama and an homage to melodrama.
Mariachi Gringo was named best film in the Mexican competition section receiving a Golden Mayuahuel and $12,000 in cash.
The Mexican-US co-production tells the story of a man stuck in a dead end life in small-town America, who runs away to become a mariachi. Martha Higareda was named best actress for the same film.
Another Golden Mayahuel for best film in the Iberoamerican competition and $12,000 in cash went to Back To Stay, the debut feature from Mumenthaler. The film depicts the life of three sisters who are forced to redefine their relationships after the death of their grandmother.
The jurors of the Mexican competition including Christian Dimitriu, Paulo Antonio Paranagua, Mane Cisneros, and Reynaldo Gonzalez singled out Everardo Gout as best director for his debut Days of Grace (Dias de gracia), three interwoven tragic stories set in Mexico City. The award was backed by $7,800 in cash.
Best first film and $5,900 went to Sebastian del Amo for The Fantastic World of Juan Orol (El fantastico mundo de Juan Orol), about the cult figure in the history of Mexican cinema.
The Iberoamerican jury, including Arcelia Ramirez and Philippe Jalladeau, gave its best director nod and $7,800 to the Ecuadorian Sebastian Cordero for The Fisherman (Pescador), the story of a young fisherman who accidentally gets involved in drug trafficking. Andres Crespo was named best actor in the same film.
The Jury Special Award and $5,900 were for the Spanish-Swiss co-production The Double Steps (Los pasos dobles) by Isaki Lacuesta about a mysterious man who leaves behind his past in an effort to escape from his equally mysterious pursuers.
Another $5,900 purse for best first film went to the Brazilian production Passerby (El Transeunte) by Eryk Rocha, the case of a retired man who wanders in Rio de Janeiro witnessing the random conflicts that happen everyday in the streets.
Thanks to a special agreement between FIGG and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Back To Stay and Mariachi Gringo will automatically enter the selection stage of the 2013 Golden Globes.
A number of other Mexican and Iberoamerican full fiction, feature documentary, short and animation films shared among them the rest of the $115, 000 awards.
Notable other prizewinners included Gabriel Marino’s debut A Secret World (Un mundo secreto) from Mexico, which received the combined Mezcal and Cinecolor awards worth $ 22,000; Colombia’s The Squad (El paramo) winning best screenplay for Jaime Osorio; Mexico’s Tooth For A Tooth (Diente for Diente) also winning best screenplay for Miguel Bonilla; and Richness of Internal Space (Espacio Interior) which won the public award and the acting prize for Kuno Becker.
Documentaries were particularly strong this year, with winners including Draught (Cuates de Australia) by Mexico’s Everardo Gonzalez [best feature documentary] and Long Live The Antipodes (Vivan las antipodas) by Victor Kossakovsky [best Iberoamerican feature documentary].
Shorts winners were Colombian Frank Benitez’s Minute 200 (Minuto 200) and Monica Herrera’s Lucy vs The Limits Of Voice (Lucy vs los limites de voz). The Mexican animation Eye (Un ojo) by Lorena Manriquez received the Rigo Mora award.
The Fipresci prize went to Andres Wood’s Chilean festival hit and Sundance award winner Violeta Went To Heaven. Francisca Gavilan won best actress in the Iberoamerican competition for her lead role in the film.
New this year in Guadalajara were sections devoted to queer cinema and music-themed films. The winner amongst queer-themed productions was Mia by Javier van de Couter. Raul Fuentes’ Everybody’s Got Somebody…Not Me won a special mention as well as the cinematography award for Jeronimo Rodriguez.
The music films section got a roaring public response to films such as Esther Anderson and Gian Godoy’s Bob Marley: The Making of a Legend, Thom Zimny’s The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Tijuana’s Nortec Sounds, directed by Alberto Cortes and produced by former Guadalajara head Jorge Sanchez.
In addition to the award winners, other very well received projects included Rodrigo Pla’s Delay (La Demora), fresh from two awards in Berlin.
Attendance set a new record of over 100,000 paid admissions, and the festival introduced two new venues [the festival was once more forced to use a nearby commercial multiplex due to the lack of self owned screens.] One possible solution to that is a multiplex to be built by Guadalajara University, which substantially funds the festival.
Festival head Ivan Trujillo said he is aware that the 260+ films programmed this year tested the organisational capacity.
Trujillo stressed that such proliferation is due to the fact that “the festival caters to three distinctive publics, a cinephile one, a second one particularly attentive to Mexican productions and a third that cares about stars, glamour and Hollywood packaged product. Mixing such tastes is a task that we try to deal with” he said.
Mike Leigh was one impressed first-time visitor. Speaking to Screen he praised the public’s response to his films — “a fantastic, great public, both sensitive, and intelligent” — and pointed out that he was “positively surprised by the size, the importance and the organisation of the festival” he added that he did not expect it to “be as much concerned with the glamour side of the film business”.
And the Industry Film Market side of Guadalajara seems to be going full steam ahead. Already the biggest festival-linked Film Market in Latin America, the Industry strand includes the much hailed Iberoamerican Co-production Meetings, the Cannes Marche-linked Producers Network, the Guadalajara Construye section where selected films in post are after completion funds as well as such new filmmakers formative initiatives as the Doculab and the Berlin related Talent Campus.
The latter announced here the Berlin Residency plan starting next September welcoming selected filmmakers with film projects for a four month stay in the German capital receiving mentoring for the development of their projects.
This year Co-production Meetings and Guadalajara Construye developments together with the accompanying awards worth $315,000 were reported last week.
Alejandra Paulin, co-director of the Industry strand together with Andrea Stavenhagen, told Screen that the Film Market in its 10th year hosted 868 participants from all around the world, representing 1106 companies from 40 countries.
Attendees included 45 international sales agents, 90 acquisition executives, distributors and programmers as well as 130 producers promoting 122 projects.
1,087 films were registered, some of them also available through the VEOFIGG digital screening platform.
The festival closed with Danish hit Superclasico, a nod to the 2013 festival (March 16-23) honouring Scandinavian films.