The 20th Guadalajara International Film Festival wrapped onFriday night (March 18) with The Magician( El Mago), by first time director Jaime Aparicio, named bestfilm in the Mexican competition section.
The jury, which comprised Mexican screenwriter Paz AliciaGarciadiego and Spanish directors Gerardo Herrero and Fernando Trueba, handedthe best director prize to another newcomer, Ricardo Benet, for Distant News(Noticias Lejanas).
Full length documentary No One (De Nadie), by Tin Disdamal, was named best first film.
The screenplay award went to Marcel Sisniega for TheIguana Dance (El Baile De La Iguana).Erando Gonzalez and Maya Zapata received the acting awards for their leadingparts in The Magician.
In the Iberoamerican competition section the Ecuadorian/Mexicanco-production Cronicas (Chronicles) bySebastian Cordero swept the floor, winning best film, best screenplay forCordero and best actor for Mexican Damian Alcazar.
The jury, which comprised Mexican director Felipe Cazals,Argentinian actress Graciela Borges and Cuban/American Philip Alexander,director general of Columbia/Tristar, gave the best director prize toArgentinian Carlos Sorin for Bombon, El Perro (Bombon, the Dog).
Another Argentinian production, Las Mantenidas Sin Suenos(Kept And Dreamless) by Martin Desalvo andVera Fogwill received the best first film award, while Uruguayan MarellaPascual was named best actress in Whisky by Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll.
The Mexican/Nicaraguan/Spanish co-production El Inmortal(The Inmortal) by Mercedes Moncada and theBrazilian/Cuban, Soy Cuba, OMamute Siberiano (I Am Cuba, the Siberian Mammoth) by Vicente Ferraz shared the best Iberoamerican full length documentaryaward.
The Fipresci prize went to Argentinian production FamiliaRodante (Rolling Family) by Pablo Traperowhile the JVC trophy, sponsored by local magnate and film producer JorgeVergara (Anhelo) was awarded exaequo to two independent low budgetdocumentaries, the Mexican 1973by Antonino Isordia and the Argentinian Oscar by Sergio Morkin. Both are debut films.
The JVC jury was formed by Alfonso Cuaron, brotherscreenwriter Carlos and Vergara.
The festival attracted a considerable number of well knownfigures from the international film scene a well as from other culturaldisciplines.
Celebrated Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes was present at theopening ceremony while rising star Diego Luna was among the personalitiesattending the awards ceremonies.
African director Idrissa Ouedraogo also made the trip toGuadalajara to receivean homage. Also present were numerous filmdirectors: Argentinians Fernando Solanas, Lucrecia Marcel, Carlos Sorin andAdolfo Aristarain, Chilean Miguel Littin, Catalan Ventura Pons, Spanish actressMaribel Verdu and her Uruguayan colleague Marella Pascual (Whisky) and French composer Antoine Duhamel.Star power was represented by Mia Farrowwho, in her role as UNICEF good will ambassador, made the trip to Guadalajarato receive a special Career Achievement Award.
The festival also held a special showcase of films fromGreece, featuring twelve classic and recent productions.
The twenty year old event this year renamed itself theGuadalajara International Film Festival.
During the previous nineteen years the festival made a namefor itself as Muestra de Cine Mexicano en Guadalajara and catered primarily tolocal production, playing a pivotal role in the international promotion ofMexican films.
Raul Padilla Lopez, the president and driving force of thefestival, has been instrumental in securing the financial backbone of the eventthrough federal and local public funds plus an array of private sponsors whichinclude Pepsi, DHL, Kodak, Telmex, Corona and Televisa.
The decision by Padilla to turn the event into anInternational Festival drew mixed reactions.
Hailed as a necessary step for its future expansion, themove nevertheless created a number of problems.
Principal among them are the growth of the festival'ssidebars - no less than 22 were held this year - and the resulting numberof films: 200 plus compared to around 120 each previous year.
Meanwhile, in the Mexican section only six films wereselected for competition.
Speaking to ScreenDaily.com, Guadalajara old timers such as Cannes selection committee member GuyBraucourt and Montreal programmer Andre Paquet expressed dismay for such asituation, stressing that the principal reason for attending the event is toscout for new Mexican films.
See tomorrow's ScreenDaily.com for a full report ofthe festival's 1st Iberoamerican Co-production Meeting and the 3rdIberoamerican Film Market.