Guadalajara International Film Festival In Los Angeles FICG in LA returned to the Egyptian Theatre for its third annual edition in Los Angeles. The 3-day festival (November 1-3) showcased outstanding and award-winning titles from FICG28, which was held earlier this year in Guadalajara.
Critics Note: I have two recommendations in a sterling slate of multi-awarded films.
Juan Carlos Maneglia & Tana Schémbori’s delicious thrill ride “7 Cajas”, which I saw at Baja, is a MUST SEE. When freelance teenage wheelbarrow delivery boy Victor (wonderful newcomer Celso Franco) gets a ‘break’ and agrees to deliver 7 boxes in the sprawling central food market of Ausución, Paraguay, he has to run for his life.
A vivid ensemble of characters (speaking a Babel of dialects), unpredictable plot twists and fast-paced cinematography keeps you on the edge of your seat as a Rube Goldberg series of misadventures and wonderfully staged chase scenes. We even take pity on the bad guy who sets the caper in motion to pay for his son’s medicine.
Richard Careaga’s cinematography brings the claustrophobic market alive. Maneglia’s screenplay juggles a fast paced complex story line laced with dark comedy. The film has everything going for it including a thrilling score that mixes traditional and electronic music. Paraguay missed the boat. They should have nominated this for the Oscar Submission in 2012. Think “Run, Lola Run” in post-globalized Paraguay.
Animation fans in the US have been eagerly waiting to see Alejandro Lozano’s raunchy absurdist “El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza” (Santos vs. The Busty Mendoza) based on the adventures of “El Santo” (The Saint), famed Mexican professional wrestler, comic strip hero, and successful actor, His cult films have influenced generation of film makers, including Guillermo Del Toro, Quentin Tarentino and Jorge Bull and director Alejandro Lozano. his earlier film “Killing Cabos” (2004) is also an homage to El Santo.
Based on the comic by José Ignacio Solórzano (JIS) and Trino Camacho, which capitalizes on the accidental humor found in El Santo’s films, Lozano hopefully will have a US release this year. The all-star cast of voice artists includes Daniel Giménez Cacho, José María Yazpik, Regina Orozco, Héctor Jiménez, Guillermo del Toro, Demián Bichir, Cheech Marin and Dolores Heredia. Think Fritz The Cat. BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
The Opening Night Presentation (November 1, 2013) will be the US Premiere of
Francisco Franco’s “Tercera Llamada” (Last Call) will be screened following the FICG in LA Awards Presentation. Awards will be presented to actor, writer, director Fernando Lujan for achievement in his career including his work on the film “Tercera Llamada”, to journalist, film critic, and television presenter, Juan Carlos Arciniegas for his contributions to the Latin entertainment community’s presence in the media. The additional award recipients for career achievement are cinematographer Gabriel Beristain and composer Emili Kauderer. The final award will be presented to the non-profit organization, Ambulante for its work supporting and promoting documentary film as a tool for social and cultural transformation. Ambulante’s Director of Operations, Eva Parentau and Director of Programming, Meghan Monsour will be accepting the awards. A Gala reception in the courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre will follow the film screening.
The Closing Night Presentation (November 3, 2013) is the West Coast Premiere of Carlos Cuaron’s film. “Bezos De Azucar” (Sugar Kisses)
FICG in LA will present the US premiere for “Levantamuertos” (Death Strokes) and the Los Angeles premieres of “Soy Mucho Mejor Que Vos” (I’m Better Than You), “Puerto Padre” (Port Padre) and “EL Santos VS La Teton Mendoza” (El Santos VS The Busty Mendoza). “Las Mariposas De Sadourni” (Sadourni’s Butterflys), “Quebranto “, and 7 Cajas” (7 Boxes) will all have their at LA premiere at FICG in LA. The entire program can be found at: www.ficginla.com
Expected to attend this year’s festival are: The cast of TERCERA LLAMADA (Opening Night Film)- Audience Award and Best Actress – Female Ensemble – FICG 28; Irene Azuela, Mariana Treviño, and Fernando Luján (Supporting Actor and Award Recipient of FICG in LA recognition) Francisco Franco, Director, Laura Imperiale, Producer; Comic book artists TRINO (José Trinidad Camacho Orozco) and JIS (José Ignacio Solórzano); The artists behind The Santos vs.’s Busty Mendoza” based on the famous comic strip characters of the same name.
Carlos Cuaron – The Director of SUGAR KISSES – Besos de Azucar – CLOSING NIGHT GALA. Carlos Cuarón (Mexico City, 1966) is a screenwriter and film director. He has been nominated for an Oscar for best original screenplay for the film Y tu mamá también and won in the same category the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. In 1991 he won an Ariel for best original screenplay for Sólo con tu pareja. He debuted as a director in the feature film Rudo y cursi.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – 7:30 PM
Opening Night Gala and Reception
Tercera Llamada (Last Call) U.S. Premiere
Mexico, 2013, 87min.
Directed by Francisco Franco
Doing theater is an act of faith. In order for the curtain to go up and a play to be seen on stage, many different personalities have to work together, and many common goals have to be believed in. This film narrates the process of putting on the play Caligula. The harmony of the group, however, is at risk. Written by a French existentialist, the play is being directed by a neurotic depressive. The leading lady is upset with the director, the oldest actor keeps forgetting his lines, the director’s assistant is experimenting with harmful substances in order to forget her own failure as an actress, and, to top it all off, a group of emos try to attack the stage crew.
Film Festivals: Guadalajara International Film Festival – FICG 28 World Premiere
Festival de Lima, Valladolid International Film Festival ,Costa Rica International Film Festival
Awards: Audience Award and Best Female Ensemble Cast– FICG 28
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 11:30AM
Rigo Mora Award-Winning Animated Short Films
Presented by Ivan Trujillo, Director of the Guadalajara International Film Festival
Mexico, 73 min
México, 2010, 8 min.
Directed by Raúl Cárdenas, Rafael Cárdenas
In a busy city full of motorized beings controlled by time, a little girl named Zoe will discover a beautiful moon in the middle of the chaos.
Director Raúl Cárdenas, Rafael Cárdenas
México, 2010, 8 min.
Directed by León Fernández
A strange humanoid awakes from a dream on a large rocky island, in the middle of the ocean. In the distance, a barge with a crew of two can be discerned wandering away. The humanoid tries to make them return for him in vain. He finds himself in absolute solitude, without food nor refuge. Only he can now break the enigma that sustains his existence, the very same pilar that gives life to his species, and that will allow him to escape from his prison.
Director León Fernández
Un Ojo (Eye)
México, 2012, 5 min.
Directed by Lorenza Manrique
Excess smoke and polluted air causes Elio to scratch his eyes. Inadvertently, he pokes an eye out, and it rolls onto the floor. Elio saves it from the cat, then looks at it with the one eye he has left and sees an adventure.
Director Lorenza Manrique
Animation Director Alejandra Hernández Sánchez de la Barquera
Electrodoméstico (Home Appliance)
Mexico, 2012, Color, 2 min
Directed by Erik de Luna
Where were Adam and Eve when home appliances appeared. Prudencio and Esther’s life reflects a civilization plunged into the maelstrom of technology. In an attempt to get their relationship back on track, the couple uses objects to substitute aspects of their own relationship. And now, the sound of the doorbell announces the arrival of a new device, after which things will never be the same.
Director Erik de Luna
La Casa Triste (The Sad House)
Mexico, 2013, 13 min.
Directed by Sofia Carrillo
The story of a family told through objects found in junk shops and flea markets.
Director Sofia Carrillo
La Noria (The Waterwheel)
México, 2012, 7 min.
Directed by Karla Castañeda
In a small town, time stops for a parent who has lost his son.
Lluvia en los Ojos (Rain in the Eyes)
Mexico, 2012, 8 min.
Directed by Rita Basulto
Sofia, a little girl of seven, remembers the day she fractured her arm while being chased through the forest; a story full of fantasy that hides a heart rending moment in Sofia’s life.
Director Rita Basulto
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 1:30PM
Las Mariposas de Sadourní (Sadourni’s Butterflies) LA Premiere
Argentina, Italy, England, 2012, 93min.
Directed by Dario Nardi
Screening hosted by Consulate General of Argentina in Los Angeles
Sadourní has served half of his twenty-year prison sentence; he subscribes to a transitional system that allows him to leave the prison daily to go to work and to progressively reinsert himself into society. To keep this privilege, he needs to find employment, but all the jobs advertised in the newspapers require a good appearance, and his is nothing but strange. He is confronted with a dilemma: to escape from the prison and endure life as a fugitive, or to adjust to society’s expectations through a physical metamorphosis.
Film Festival: Tokyo International Film Festival – World Premiere
Palm Springs International Film Festival – U.S. Premiere
Guadalajara International Film Festival – FICG 28
Festival de Cine Global Dominicano; Miami International Film Festival; Seattle International Film Festival; Telluride International Film Festival; Dubai International Film Festival; Barie International Film Festival; Argentine Film Festival in London; Offscreen Brussels: Vancouver Latino Film Festival; Festival Internacional de Cine de Sonora; Costa Rica International Film Festival; Chicago International Film Festival
Awards: Best Director of the Iberoamerican Competition (FICG 28)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 4:00PM
Quebranto (Disrupt) LA Premiere
Mexico, 2013, 95min.
Directed by Roberto Fiesco
Presented by Ambulante
Screening hosted by Outfest
The memory and testimony of two characters: Fernando García, known as Pinolito, who was a child actor in the 70s, and Doña Lilia Ortega, his mother, and an actress. Fernando came out as a transvestite some years ago, and now calls himself Coral Bonelli. They live together in Garibaldi yearning for their past in the movies, while Coral bravely comes to terms with her gender identity.
Film Festivals: Guadalajara International Film Festival – FICG 28 World Premiere
Frameline Film Festival – U.S Premiere; Festival de Nuevo Cine de Durango; Morelia Film Festival; San Sebastian International Film Festival: La Muestra de Cine de Fresnillo
Awards: Maguey Award LGBT (FICG 28)
Special Jury Award (Ibero-American Competition – FICG 28)
Premio Guerrero de la Prensa (Mexican Press – FICG 28)
Premio Sebastian Latino 2013 (San Sebastian International Film Festival)
Documentary in Best LGBT (Lisboa 2013)
Public Award (La Muestra de Cine de Fresnillo)
Special Mention (Festival de Nuevo Cine de Durango)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 6:30PM
7 Cajas (7 Boxes) LA Premiere
Paraguay, 2012, 100 min
Directed by Juan Carlos Maneglia & Tana Schémbori
It’s Friday night in Asunción, Paraguay and the temperature is 40°C. Víctor, a 17-year-old wheelbarrow delivery boy, dreams of becoming famous and covets a fancy TV set in the infamous Mercado. He’s offered a chance to deliver 7 boxes with unknown contents in exchange for a quick US$100. But what sounds like an easy job soon gets complicated. Something in the boxes is highly coveted and Víctor and his pursuers quickly find themselves caught up in a crime they know nothing about.
San Sebastian International Film Festival World Premiere; Palm Springs International Film: Festival US Premiere; Stockholm International Film Festival; Mar del Plata Film Festival:
Discovery Zone Film Festival Luxembourg; Festival du Film Policier de Beaune; Seattle International Film Festival; London Film Festival; The Baja International Film Festival (BIFF), 2012
Awards: Special Jury Mention (Palm Springs International Film Festival)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 8:45PM
Levantamuertos (Death Strokes) U.S. Premiere
Mexico, 2012, 83min.
Directed by Miguel Núñez
Screening hosted by Film Independent and Project Involve
Ivan makes a couple of odd decisions in order to overcome his detachment. First, he goes along with the wild desires of his girlfriend, Rosa. Later he gets tricked into adopting a pig. At a time when Ivan’s life turns absurd, he must find himself, beyond death and unbearable heat. The film is also an allegory about the desire to overcome the current hard times in México.
Film Festivals: Guadalajara International Film Festival – World Premiere
Festival Internacional de Cine de Monterrey: Raindance Film Festival: Festival de Cine Mexicano de Durango: Gran Fiesta de Cine Mexicano (Guadalajara): Montreal World Film Festival
Awards: Best Mexican film Outside Mexico City Gran (Fiesta de Cine Mexicano)
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 2 – 11:00PM
El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza (Santos vs. The Busty Mendoza)
Mexico, 2012, 96min.
Directed by Andrés Couturier and Alejandro Lozano
“El Santos vs. La Tetona Mendoza” is an animated film based on the popular comic book created by Jose Ignacio Solorzano and Jose Trinidad Camcho Orozco. The directors, Alejandro Lozano and Andres Couturuer, capture the comedic core and witty antics of the original story. The story is about a struggling fighter, El Santos, who, in order to cure himself of his depression over his divorce with La Tetona Mendoza, a vivacious and empowered female wrestler, he decides to support a group of zombies who inhabit the city. During his campaign, he must overcome many obstacles that test the strength of his character, in ways that are purely imaginative and unconventional.
Film Festivals: Morelia Film Festival – World Premiere: Annecy International Film Festival:
Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (BAFICI): L’Etrange Festival
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – 11:00AM
Mexico, Germany, 2012, 120 min..
Directed by José Luis Valle
Rafael lives out the hours right before his long awaited retirement as a janitor of a big factory. Lidia, on the other hand, finds out that after 30 years of work as a maid, the old lady has left the inheritance to the dog. Their past is connected by a love story, their future by an unexpected turn of events.
Film Festivals: Berlinale International Film Festival – World Premiere
Guadalajara International Film Festival (FICG 28) – North American Premiere
Los Angeles Film Festival – U.S Premiere; Jerusalem Film Festival; Chicago International Film Festival; Latin American Film Festival in The Netherlands; Melbourne International Film Festival; Split Film Festival; World Cinema Amsterdam; Eurasian International Film Festival; Riviera Maya Film Festival; San Sebastian Film Festival; Busan International Film Festival; Morelia Film Festival Festival of New Latin American Cinema
Awards: Mezcal Award, Best Mexican Film (FICG 28)
Cinecolor Award (FICG 28)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – 1:30PM
Soy Mucho Mejor Que Vos (I’m Better Than You)
Chile, 2013, 83min West Coast Premiere
Directed by Che Sandoval
Screening hosted by Consulate General of Chile in Los Angeles
Cristobal is a frustrated entrepreneur who has been hiding out in his small business for the last four days after a break up with his wife over ruining the family trip. Cristobal wanders through Santiago searching for a woman who help him reclaim his ego, only by accumulating failures; meanwhile he thinks of being forgiven… or not?
Film Festivals; Guadalajara International Film Festival – FICG 28 – World Premiere
Cinelatino, Recontres de Toulouse Film Festival; Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (BAFICI); Warsaw Film Festival; AFI Silver Festival of Latin American Cinema
Awards: Critics Award for Best Actor (Festival de Cine Latinoamericano)
Feisal Award – Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival (BAFICI)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – 3:30PM
Purgatorio, Un Viaje Al Corazon de la Frontera
(Purgatorio, A Journey Into the Heart of the Border)
Mexico, USA, 2013, 80min.
Directed by Rodrigo Reyes
A deeply human portrait of the chaotic reality of the US - Mexico border. Full of stunning images and crafted like a classic city-symphony where the sum of the pieces add up to a larger whole, This film brings together a universe of small stories to create a compelling and visceral cinematic experience that takes audiences into the very soul of life on the border.
Film Festivals: Guadalajara International Film Festival – World Premiere
Los Angeles Film Festival – U.S. Premiere; Chicago International Film Festival; Vancouver International Film Festival; New Orleans Film Festival; Costa Rica International Film Festival; Woodstock Film Festival; Warsaw Film Festival; The Oakland Underground Film Festival; Distrital, Mexico City; BORDOCS, Tijuana and Mexicali; SANFIC – Chile; EDOC – Ecuador; It’s All True – Brazil; Nuremberg Human Rights Film Festival – Germany
Awards: Jury Award for Best Documentary at the New Orleans Film Festival:
25 New Faces – Filmmaker Magazine; HBO-NALIP Award Finalist
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3 – 5:30PM
Puerto Padre (Port Father)
Mexico, Costa Rica, 2013, 86min
Directed Gustavo Fallas
16-year-old Daniel lives with his grandmother in Costa Rica. Bored by his rural surroundings on Chira Island, he decides to leave in order to find his godfather, Miguel Angel, in the country’s main city. He begins his search at the hotel where his mother used to work, but the owner, Chico, discourages him from his search for unknown reasons. Chico decides to offer Daniel a job at the hotel and soon Daniel meets Soledad, a 17-year-old single mother who works in the kitchen. They begin relationship and soon, Daniel begins to learn about his origins.
Film Festivals: Montreal World Film Festival – World Premiere: Costa Rica International Film Festival
Awards: Silver Zenith for Best First Film at Montreal World Film Festival
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3– 8:00PM
Closing Night Gala – West Coast Premiere
Besos de Azúcar (Sugar Kisses)
Mexico, 2013, 87min.
Directed by Carlos Cuarón
Nacho, a 13-year -old boy, crosses the threshold of adolescence by trying to find his place in life in all the wrong places – in a dysfunctional family and a social setting that is corrupt and violent. Neglected by his family, Nacho finds refuge dancing with the video game tecnodance and passing time with Cacayo, a slow 27-year-old who pirates films to pass time. Until he falls in love with Mayra, an angelic girl whose only defect is being the daughter of La Diabla, leader of the street market vendors, and the sister of Chiquibuki, a little gangster at his mother’s service. Could the purity of first love survive the darkest aspects of our society?
Film Festival: Guadalajara International Film Festival – World Premiere;
AFI Latin American Film Festival: Raindance Film Festival
FICG in LA (an extension of the Guadalajara International Film Festival) is a window into the world of contemporary Mexican and Ibero-American cinema. The festival is designed for people to explore the diverse regional narratives of Mexican and Ibero-America cinema, and to help critically acclaimed films from these regions reach a wider audience. This year′s FICG in LA will take place at Hollywood′s historic Egyptian Theatre.
Iván Trujillo Bolio serves as the FIGG festival director. Hebe Tabachnik serves as the director and producer of FICG in LA, which is programmed by Iván Trujillo Bolio, Hebe Tabachnik, Gerardo Salcedo and Estrella Araiza.
Los Angeles provides an essential backdrop for the showcase because of its strong cultural ties to Latin American communities all across the globe. This year’s sponsors of FICG in LA include Cultura UDG, Feria del Libro in Espanol in Los Angeles, UDG TV, The National Council for Culture and The Arts, and the Mexican Consulate General. In addition, this year, FICG in LA is partnering with local organizations and consulates who embrace independent film and the goals of FICG in LA. Those partners include Film Independent, Project Involve, Outfest, The Argentinian Consulate General, The Chilean Consulate General, and the Asociacion de Egresados del la Universidad de Guadalalajara en Los Angeles.