Morelia International Film Festival: October 3-11, 2009

By MP Mexico News Staff

7-festival-internacional-de-cine-de-moreliaThe Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) is now in its seventh year and has become a meeting point in Mexico for the cinematographic community, the general public, and new national and international filmmakers. FICM started in 2003 with the goal of promoting up-and-coming Mexican cinema talents with Morelia as the main stage.

The festival has five official competitive sections: Mexican short film, documentary and feature films, the latter exclusively for first and second time directors, as well as short films and feature films from Michoacán.

In addition to the screenings of each of the films in the different sections, every year FICM celebrates the career of a recognized filmmaker who attends the festival to share his experience with young filmmakers and the public.

Among the distinguished directors who have attended FICM are: Werner Herzog, Barbet Schroeder, Fernando Vallejo, Gus Van Sant, Manoel de Oliveira, Raul Ruiz, Mike Hodges, Jean Claude Carriere, Stephen Frears, Arthur Penn, Bertrand Tavernier, Hector Babenco, Cristian Mungiu, Todd Haynes, Nicolas Philibert and Michael Nyman.

This year, Daniela Michel, director of the Morelia International Film Festival, announced that U.S. director Quentin Tarantino will inaugurate the 7th edition of the festival with his film Inglorious Basterds .

Actor Eli Roth, who appeared in the film with Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger and Daniel Brühl will also be at the red carpet ceremony. During the festival, Roth will present his film Hostel, which he directed.

The FICM also honors an important figure of Mexican cinema from the state of Michoacán. In previous years, the festival has paid homage to filmmakers Miguel Contreras and Fernando Méndez, actresses Stella Inda and Lilia Prado, cinematographer Ezequiel Carrasco and actor Julio Alemán, who was born in Morelia.

“This year, 44 short films, 20 documentaries, 11 Michoacán works and six features by filmmakers from different states of the republic, such as Michoacán, Nuevo León, Chiapas, Jalisco, Nayarit, State of Mexico, Puebla, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Mexico City, will participate,” said Alejandro Ramírez, president of the Morelia International Film Festival.

Ramírez said this year there is a 20 percent increase in participation in the festival with a total of 600 short films, 120 documentaries and 52 features. He emphasized that “since last year, in the case of fiction and animation short films, the winner will be considered for an Oscar nomination.” Along with Morelia, there are only two other Latin American festivals recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, those of Cartagena and Río de Janeiro.

The section of Mexican Feature Films includes exclusively first and second time directors. Those competing this year are Alamar by Pedro González Rubio, El Calambre by Matías Meyer, Chamaco by Miguel Necoechea, La Mitad del Mundo by Jaime Ruiz Ibañez, Norteado by Rigoberto Perezcano and Vaho by Alejandro Gerber.

FICM has established a solid partnership with the International Critics´ Week of the Cannes Film Festival, which has supported Mexican filmmakers such as Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro and Fernando Eimbcke. A selection of films from the Critics´ Week is presented each year at FICM with the presence of some of their participants. Likewise, the Critics´ Week shows the winning films of FICM at their prestigious European film festival. Among the documentaries that have been presented are Eugenio Polgovsky´s Trópico de Cáncer, Mi vida adentro by Lucía Gajá and Gustavo Gamou´s La palomilla salvaje. The short film Peces plátano, by Natalia Beristáin, El pasajero by Matías Meyer and Carlos Carrera´s De raíz have also been shown in Cannes.

In 2008 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officially recognized FICM by offering fiction and animation short films that win at FICM the opportunity to be considered for an Oscar® nomination.

Outdoor screenings, workshops, conferences, round tables and exhibitions in Pátzcuaro, Mexico City and other venues complete FICM’s year-round activities.

WHO Acknowledges Calderón’s Bravery in Coping with Flu

Calderon Flu maskThe World Health Organization (WHO) hailed Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s bravery in providing timely information on the presence of A/H1N1 flu in his country and sharing this information with the world.

“I would like to pay tribute to the leadership, transparency and courage of the Mexican president, who gave the world an early warning,” said WHO director general Margaret Chan, as she inaugurated the work of the Advisory Board of the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in this capital.

“You have suffered enormous economic losses by sharing information about the virus. It takes enormous courage to be the first country to report the emergence of a new infection,” said Chan, addressing the Mexican representatives in the hall, including Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova Villalobos.

Chan noted the paradox caused by Mexico’s attempts to warn the world, since it was “rewarded with punishments,” referring to the fall in tourist flows. “I know how that feels,” she said.

Chan was health minister in China during the outbreak of the Acute Respiratory Insufficiency Syndrome (SARS) in that country in 2003.

The leader thanked President Calderón for “alerting the rest of the world,” since this facilitated preparations for the human flu pandemic and urged attendees at the meeting to clap by asking: “Why are you so quiet?”

The director of the world health policy hailed Mexican Health Secretary José Ángel Córdova Villalobos’ work: “I congratulate Dr. Córdova on his leadership,” she said.

“We have been flattered by her recognition and above all, by the affection and support Dr. Chan has always given us,” said the Health Secretary.

He added that Chan has supported Mexico ever since the presence of the H1N1 virus was discovered in the country. “She fully understands what we went through,” he explained.

Mexico-My Space Network

David Simmonds

I have to admit, I don’t get the group-hug, ego-driven characteristics of some of the Social Network sites. Announcing to your “friends” that you just ate a back-yard home-grown tomato that was just so delicious just seems desperate to me. If I wanted to hear forehead-slapping, boring stories I’d go to the nearest dive saloon and grab a bar stool next to the out-of-work hedge-fund manager who just can’t flippin’ believe the halcyon  “Gordon Gekko greed is good” days are over.

But, there are some good, common interest sites around and one I like dedicated to the Mexico expat community is Mexico My-Space  Founder George Puckett keeps the energy flowing, and the site has signed up nearly 800 people in about a year. The members, from all over Mexico and the U.S., have formed various Groups, including Living in Vallarta, Riviera Maya, and Real Estate Professionals, to name a few.

You can learn a lot about living in Mexico from this site. Log on, sign up, and make some friends. You can tell the guy at the bar about your home-grown tomatoes.

The Mexico Promotional Event to take place in San Diego, California

SAN DIEGO,CA — THE MEXICO PROMOTIONAL EVENT, presented by the Mexico Tourism Board and AeroMexico Airlines, will take place at Liberty Station in San Diego on Saturday, November 14th, 2009 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Event will feature exhibitors promoting Mexico travel/tourism and real estate products from over 20 destinations. Entertainment will include traditional music and dancers plus authentic Mexican food samplings.

Sponsors include: AeroMexico Airlines and the Mexico Tourism Board. The Mexico Promotional Event is seeking media sponsors as well as local San Diego or Southern California sponsors looking to connect with Mexican businesses and government. Please inquire.

Exhibitors to date from 20 destinations including Baja California, Colonial Mexico, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Maya, Rocky Point, San Miguel de Allende and the Yucatan will be present. More destinations are expected to be announced in the near future.

In addition to the Event, a series of complimentary seminar presentations on tourism destinations, Mexico culture, authors, and owning real estate in Mexico will be offered throughout the day. Various raffle prizes will also be given away throughout the Expo including round-trip tickets on AeroMexico Airlines and hotel stays.

For additional information including exhibit and sponsorship availability, contact Ana Bravo at 619.584.0829 or by email at Information can be accessed at The event will be held at Liberty Station Convention Hall in Point Loma near the San Diego Airport.


Hilton Reinforces Expansion Efforts in Mexico with Addition of the Hilton Mexico City Reforma

McLean, VA, USA (September 2009) – Hilton Worldwide has announced that it has signed a multi-year management agreement with Inmobiliaria Interpres S.A. de C.V. for the first full-service Hilton hotel in the heart of Mexico City, Mexico steps from the famous Reforma Avenue.  Currently known as a Sheraton, the already stunning property will undergo a series of upgrades to incorporate Hilton brand standards prior to its official conversion and opening as the Hilton Mexico City Reforma, scheduled for year’s end.  This will be the sixth hotel for the Hilton brand in Mexico and the 24th property for Hilton Worldwide in the country.

“The Hilton Mexico City Reforma reinforces our commitment to grow the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands throughout Mexico and Latin America.  This agreement strengthens Hilton’s presence in one of the most important markets in the region with one of the most impressive products in Mexico City,”   commented Danny Hughes, senior vice president, Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America, for Hilton Worldwide. “We are thrilled to work with such reputable hospitality professionals and look forward to the successful debut of the Hilton.”

Strategically located at a gateway to the city’s business district and Reforma Avenue, the hotel at Avenida Juarez 70, Colonia Centro, is just a stone’s throw from major corporations and financial institutions.  Just 15 minutes from the international airport, the magnificent property is also close to all that Mexico City’s historic center has to offer, including everything from the Palacio Nacional and the cathedral to a variety of museums and theaters, making it the ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers.

“We are pleased about our partnership with Hilton and eager to have them on board as our hotel’s management company,” stated Siahou Sitton, president and CEO, Inmobiliaria Interpres S.A. de C.V. “Hilton’s collection of sales, marketing, and technology tools, will be welcome additions to our business and we foresee a great future together.”

Featuring 458 high-tech guest rooms and suites, the Hilton Mexico City Reforma will boast the Hilton Serenity Collection mattress, linens, and luxury amenities, as well as high-speed Internet access, flat screen 37 or 42 inch LCD televisions, work desk, and all the amenities for a productive stay.  Spacious contemporary bathrooms are adorned with marble tile and equipped with both bath tub and shower.  Rooms with spectacular views of Alameda Central Park and the Palacio de Bella Artes create the perfect backdrop for an enjoyable stay.

For the perfect meeting environment, the hotel offers nearly 45,000 square feet of meeting space, featuring a versatile convention center with 14 meeting rooms, including pillar-less spaces, and capacity for up to 5,000 guests.  The property also features a state-of-the-art business center where guests can access an array of business services including high-speed Internet access, fax machine, secretarial services, and more.

After a long day, the city center Hilton Mexico City Reforma will help business travelers relax with a 5,015 square-foot spa and 3,100 square-foot fitness center, plus indoor and outdoor swimming pools.

Dining options are plentiful as they tempt palates with variety and creativity displayed across three restaurants, a lobby lounge and a wine bar.  El Cardenal Restaurant provides a distinctive menu of Mexican and colonial cuisine in a comfortable ambiance, Los Dones Restaurant specializes in buffet dining and international fare in a casual relaxing atmosphere, and Terraza Alameda delivers delicious comfort food complemented by unforgettable views of the historic center.  Guests can enjoy a refreshing drink at the hotel’s stylish Lobby Lounge or indulge in a wine tasting extravaganza at Sedevino Wine Bar, where travelers can choose from a wide selection of internationally recognized wines.

“Mexico is experiencing continuous growth and we are proud to expand the Hilton Hotels portfolio in this destination,” Dave Horton, Global Head – Hilton Hotels, said. “We look forward to raising the Hilton flag in Mexico City and becoming a valuable member of this community.”

Further information about the Hilton Mexico City Reforma will be available soon at

Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride To Top 20 Million Mile Mark This Saturday

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO—Now in its 30th year the Rosarito-Ensenada 50-Mile Fun Bicycle Ride will surpass 20 million total miles covered with its Sept. 26 event.

About 5,000 riders are expected for the festive scenic ride, much of it along a coastal route, from Rosarito to Ensenada, said ride organizer Gary Foster.

During the past 30 years since 1979 the iconic twice-yearly event has been held 52 times and almost 400,000 riders have participated, Foster said.

“This great anniversary edition of the ride will be as festive as years past, both for our many riders and the thousands of people who come to view the event and cheer on the participants,” Foster said.

Added  Rosarito Beach Mayor Hugo Torres, whose city hosts the event: “The ride is one of the signature events for Rosarito and this region of Baja. It attracts excellent people and creates a great atmosphere. We’re greatly looking forward to it.”

Participants can register online for $45 through, or they can register on the day of the event for $50 at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. More information is available at as well as

The Rosarito-Ensenada ride has been called the Original Party on Wheels. Revelers in costume roll along, tossing candy to children along the course. Beach cruisers strap boom boxes to their handlebars.  Parents tow children.

Racing teams form pace lines, trying to beat the official record of 1:52:54 set in April of 2007. Other participants just ride for the enjoyment and atmosphere.

Transportation packages from the United States are available, Foster said. Tour companies transport riders’ bicycles at no extra charge, and because the buses return to the United State through the rapid SENTRI lane, cyclists avoid a wait at the border.

Many hotels offer special rates and are participating in the Border Fast Pass program which can cut border waits by half, especially on the weekends, Foster said.

The Finish Line Fiesta is free for participants and spectators, overlooking the Ensenada harbor with panoramic views of the cruise ships at sunset. Live rock-n-roll, jazz and salsa plays into the night while local chefs serve their best.

Massage therapists are available to work out every knot, and there will be a lot
of celebrating with ice cold beer and award-winning wines from Baja’s wine country, Foster said.

Shuttles are available on the event course from the finish line to the start line before and after the event. So if participants stay in Rosarito Beach, they can take the shuttle back to Rosarito after the event.

“The corridor from Rosarito Beach to Ensenada is safe for tourists, and Baja remains a beautiful and affordable destination for travel with friends and family,” Foster added.

Foster said that this recent e-mail from a frequent ride participant summed up the spirit of the event: “Thanks for another great experience! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done this ride since the early 1990’s. All I know is they keep getting better!”

Mayté Rodríguez Cedillo Receives “2009 Business Woman of the Year”

San Diego, California – September, 2009 – Mayté Rodríguez Cedillo received the prestigious “2009 Business Woman of the Year” from the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC).  The CHCC presented award winners at its 30th annual state convention and gala event at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego.  The convention and gala took place from August 19-22, 2009.

As Entrepreneur, CEO, and Publisher of Mexico Traveler Magazine and Baja Traveler Magazine of Traveler Publications, a division of Traveler International, Inc., Mayté  has become the premiere ambassador and promoter of Baja California and Mexico as a choice destination for executives, businessmen, investors, entertainers, and of course, savvy travelers.  Her positive message of Mexico and Hispanic culture are a continuing source of inspiration to everyone in these economically challenging times.

“I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious award,” said Mayté upon receiving the award.  She added, “I would like to thank the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (CHCC) for creating and promoting opportunities for Hispanics in the U.S.  Your presence and support has been a beacon of light to people like me.”

Other awards Mayté has received include:

“2009 Business Woman of the Year” – CHCC

“2008 Entrepreneur of The Year”- San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

“2008 Mujer Internacional”- California Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

“2008 First Place – Mexico Traveler Magazine: Editorial Content” – San Diego Press Club

“2008 Third Place – Baja Traveler Magazine: Design Layout – San Diego Press Club

“2007 Baja’s Successful Woman in Tourism Award” – Sponsored by the Governor of Baja Sur

“2002 Tijuana-San Diego 20/20 Regional Leaders Award” – San Diego Metropolitan and Frontera

The CHCC serves as the leading Hispanic statewide business and professional organization promoting the interests of more than 720,000 Hispanic businesses and over 65 local Hispanic chambers in California. The goal of the CHCC’s Annual Convention is to elevate discussion and participation among Hispanic business owners, corporate business leaders, community leaders, and government officials to address issues of relevance to the Hispanic business community.