By MP Mexico News Staff
The 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.