Sunday, September 29, 2013


To celebrate my 60th birthday, I'm giving myself the gift of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), which runs October 18-27, 2013. As my abuelo's side of the family is from Michoacán, I am tremendously excited to return to roots and to visit a city that has long been on my list of dream destinations. I am grateful to FICM for their invitation. Here is the recently-announced line-up for their 11th edition.

Official Selection

The core of the FICM continues to be the sections in competition: Michoacán Section, Mexican Short Film, Mexican Documentary and Mexican Feature Film. This year, the lineup features 43 short films, 23 documentaries, 11 Michoacán works and 12 features by filmmakers from different states of the country, including Oaxaca, Baja California, Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla and Mexico City. The winning fiction, documentary and animated short films will be eligible to be considered for an Oscar® nomination.

This year, the Mexican Feature Section includes: A los ojos by Michel and Victoria Franco; Club Sándwich by Fernando Eimbcke; González by Christian Díaz; Las horas muertas by Aarón Fernández; Los insólitos peces gato by Claudia Sainte-Luce; La jaula de oro by Diego Quemada-Diez; Manto Acuífero by Michael Rowe; Paraíso by Mariana Chenillo; Penumbra by Eduardo Villanueva; Somos Mari Pepa by Samuel Kishi Leopo; La vida después by David Pablos; and Workers by José Luis Valle González.

The members of the International Jury of the 11th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival are: Chris Fujiwara, director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival; Hélène Auclaire, director of the film department of Critics' Week at Cannes; Zita Carvalhosa, director of the Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival; Fred Kelemen, acclaimed German director and cinematographer; Karen Cooper, director of the Film Forum of New York; Mirsad Purivatra, director of the Sarajevo Film Festival; Monika Wagenberg, director of the Cartagena International Film Festival; Maria de Medeiros, well-known Portuguese actress and director; and Todd McCarthy, top critic at The Hollywood Reporter.

Critics' Week

One of the special programs featured at the 11th edition is the presentation of films from Critics' Week of the Cannes Festival 2013: Le Démantèlement (The Dismantling) by Sébastien Pilote (Canada); Los Dueños by Agustín Toscano and Ezequiel Radusky (Argentina); For Those in Peril by Paul Wright (UK); The Lunchbox (Dabba) by Ritesh Batra (India, France, Germany); The Major by Yuri Bykov (Russia); Nos héros sont morts ce soir by David Perrault (France); and Suzanne by Katell Quillevere (France).

Michoacán Tribute

Each year FICM honors an important figure in Mexican cinema who was born in the state of Michoacán. At this edition, thanks to the invaluable support of the UNAM film archive, Pepe Díaz and the Fundación Televisa, the festival will pay tribute to celebrated writer José Rubén Romero, with a screening of his films The Useless Life of Pito Pérez (1944) by Miguel Contreras Torres and Rosenda (1948) by Julio Bracho.

National & International Premieres

This year, the festival will screen a selection of about 40 premieres of the best in national and international cinema. Among the Mexican premieres are: Espectro by Alfonso Pineda; Guten Tag, Ramón by Jorge Ramírez Suárez; Pares y Nones by Gregorio Carillo Vázquez; and Yvy Maraey by Juan Carlos Valdivia.

The films that will have their international premieres at the festival include: Amor Índigo by Michel Gondry; Behind the Candelabra by Steven Soderbergh; Blue Is the Warmest Color by Abdellatif Kechiche, winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Festival 2013; Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen; The Grandmaster by Wong Kar Wai; Jeune et Jolie by Francois Ozon; Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen brothers; The Selfish Giant by Clio Barnard; and The Counselor by Ridley Scott, which will be the closing film of the festival. In addition, there will be a special screening featuring one of the favorite films of the year, About Time by Richard Curtis.

Parallel Sections & Special Screenings

In this edition, thanks to the support of HSBC, the First Nations Forum will be presented, in addition to a special screening of the documentary H2O.

Following the excellent suggestion by French director Bertrand Tavernier, special guest at the festival in 2007, the program "Imaginary Mexico" will be offered for the 6th consecutive year. This program includes films that show Mexico, its culture and traditions, through the eyes of foreign filmmakers. In this edition, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of actor Burt Lancaster, there will be a screening of his films, with the presence of his daughter Joanna.

This year, thanks to the support of the UNAM film archive, Fundación Televisa and Alex García, there will be a retrospective of the works of the great Mexican actor Arturo de Córdova. This tribute will be the first since his death 40 years ago. In addition, a public exhibition will be held at Plaza Benito Juárez.

Thanks to the support of Women in Cinema and Television and Grupo Rosa Mexicano, the festival will pay tribute to the careers of the great actress Carmen Montejo and the producer Luciana Cabarga, with the screening of the films En la palma de tu mano (1951) by Roberto Gavaldón and El mes más cruel (1969) by Carlos Lozano Dana.

To celebrate its 15 years of existence, the Mantarraya production company will have a special screening of Heli by Amat Escalante, who received the best director award this year at the Cannes Festival. In addition, Amat Escalante will be awarded the Premio Cuervo at the 11th FICM.

Thanks to the support of the Filmoteca Española, a showing of the films by Spanish filmmaker Edgar Neville will be presented, with special screenings of La torre de los siete jorobados (1944) and Duende y misterio del flamenco (1952).

Thanks to the support of the UCLA film archive, the festival will present a special screening of Daughters of the Dust by U.S. director Julie Dash.

Thanks to the support of the French Embassy, the festival will have the special program Jean Vigo Prize at the festival, in which this year's winning film L'enclos du temps by Jean-Charles Fitoussi, will be shown.

At the same time, in collaboration with the Goethe Institute in Mexico, the festival will feature Lore by Cate Shortland and Oh Boy by Jan Ole Gerster, in a special screening of German film.

The festival will also feature a program of Czech films that include Closely Watched Trains, Daisies and Love of a Blonde.

This year, there will be a selection of short films to commemorate the 50 years of the CUEC-UNAM film school.

Opening Film

The extraordinary film Gravity by Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón will be screened at the opening night ceremony of the 11th edition, an event that will take place on October 18 at the Cinépolis Morelia Centro.

Guest of Honor

This year, the festival is privileged to have as its guest of honor Alejandro Jodorowsky, who will present a series of his films, including the Mexican premiere of his new work, La danza de la realidad.

Special Guests

In this edition, French director Bruno Dumont will present the Mexican premiere of his acclaimed new film Camille Claudel 1915, and U.S. director John Sayles, along with actor Edward James Olmos, will introduce their latest film Go For Sisters.

Also present at the festival will be: Anamaria Marinca, Romanian actress who will present the film Europa Report by Sebastián Cordero; Francesca Gregorini, who will present her film Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes; Sebastián Lelio, Chilean director who will present the multi-awarded film Gloria; Catalina Sandino, Colombian actress who will present the film Medeas by Andrea Pallaoro; François Dupeyron, French director who will present his new film Mon âme par toi guérie; and Jim Mickle, who will present We Are What We Are, a U.S. adaptation of the Mexican film Somos lo que hay by Jorge Michel Grau, who will also be in Morelia.

Award for Best Actress & Best Actor

The festival announces the inclusion of an award for Best Actress and Best Actor in the category of Mexican Feature Film.


The venues for the 11th edition are the Cinépolis Morelia Centro and Cinépolis Las Américas. In addition there will be free screenings at the Casa Natal de Morelos, the Aula Mater del Colegio de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, la Plaza Benito Juárez and conferences at the Teatro José Rubén Romero. For the 9th consecutive year, the festival will also extend its program to Pátzcuaro, offering daily screenings at the Teatro Emperador Caltzontzin.

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