After AmoresPerros comes De La Calle. Thestory of a gang of street children, akin in style and subject to last year'slocal box-office sensation and international festival favourite, emerged as oneof the two buzz titles at the 16th Guadalajara Film Festival inMexico (Mar 9-16).

Markingthe debut of Mexican film-maker Gerardo Tort, the Tiempo Films, Tono Films andImcine production won the festival's main award and is now viewed as a strongcontender for a spot in any section of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival.

De La Calle's star, LuisFernando Pena, also received the best actor trophy. Representative of the newbreed of talented young Mexican actors, Pena turned in a powerful performancein a secondary part in the festival's second buzz title, Perfume De Violetas. Directed by Marisa Sistach, Perfume De Violetas has secured a berthin the competition section of July's Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Again dealing with marginal and outcast sectors ofMexican society, the film tells the violent, true-life story of two girls inMexico City's barrios. Its young star, Ximena Ayala, was named best actressex-aequo with another film newcomer, stage actress Karina Gidi, who plays alove-stricken woman in Ernesto Rimoch's DemasiadoAmor.

This year's festival appears to have confirmed theevent's pivotal role as a local and international launch pad for Mexican films.The jury singled out Laura Mana as best director for her debut Sexo Por Compasion, while ReneCastillo's animation Hasta Los Huesoswas named best short. Amongst the guests was Fernando Trueba, director of theAcademy Award winning Belle Epoqueand the subject of a complete retrospective. Starting this year, a selection ofGuadalajara titles is to be presented in New York, Barcelona and Rio deJaneiro.