Mexican filmmaker Michel Franco has won an award at the Cannes Film Festival for the third time.
Franco’s latest film, Las Hijas de Abril, or April’s Daughter, won the Jury Prize in a section of the festival called Un Certain Regard, intended for films that tell their stories in non-traditional ways.
The 37-year-old director, for whom the award came as a surprise, was pleased that “talented filmmakers like those in the jury and someone like Uma Thurman appreciated the film, and that means a lot to me.”
Thurman presided over the jurors’ table in the Certain Regard section.
“The secret is work, there’s a lot of effort behind every movie . . . and choosing good actors and trusting in them . . .” said Lorenzo Vigas, who co-produced April’s Daughter with Franco.
Franco sees the Mexican film industry continuing to grow through the efforts of filmmakers such as Amat Escalante, Fernando Eimbcke and Gabriel Ripstein. “I believe they are responsible, each one of them, for the heights reached by Mexican cinema and its continued growth.”
In a message to young filmmakers in Mexico, Franco said “they should take risks, and not worry about whether it’s a big production or if they attended film school . . . obstacles abound, but you have to take risks.”
The 70th Cannes Film Festival, which opened May 17 and wrapped up yesterday, marks the fourth time Franco has attended, and so far he has taken home three prizes.
In 2012 he received the Certain Regard prize for After Lucía and two years later his film Chronic was nominated for the Palme d’Or, capturing the best screenplay award.
Franco debuted in Cannes in 2009 with his first film, Daniel & Ana, a drama-thriller.
April’s Daughter tells the story of Valeria, who is 17 and pregnant. Living in Puerto Vallarta with her half-sister Clara, Valeria has not wanted her long-absent mother, April, to find out about her pregnancy.
Economic strains and the overwhelming responsibility of having a baby force Valeria’s hand in the end. April arrives, and movie-goers soon understand why Valeria had wanted her to stay away.