The relevance of Mexico’s filmmakers is undeniable given the recognition they have been earning in recent years on the international stage. This week, the stage moves to Cannes.
Despite not competing in this year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival, Mexican producers will have a strong presence regardless.
That presence has been a constant for 12 years, ever since the event opened its doors to the Mexican International Film Festival of Morelia (FICM) as a special guest at International Critics’ Week, a parallel section of the main festival whose goal is to showcase first and second works by directors from all over the world.
“Mexican filmmakers like Alejandro González Iñárritu and Guillermo del Toro were discovered through this section,” according to FICM director Daniela Michel.
This year, the Morelia festival will screen the shorts El Buzo by Esteban Arrangóiz, Rebote by Nuria Menchaca, Mil Capas by Tess Anastacia Fernández and Isabel in Winter by Laura Baumeister and Teresa Kuhn.
The French festival’s Cinefóndation section, created to inspire and support the next generation of international filmmakers, will include two Mexican films: Dobro by Martha Hernáiz and Las Razones del Mundo by Ernesto Martínez Bucio.
Both filmmakers, said Michel, “are among only 18 directors chosen from 2,300 film schools” around the globe.
The Mexican horror film brand Mórbido will be part of the Blood Window Gala showcase, screening Los Parecidos by Izzac Ezbán and Emiliano Rocha Minter’s Tenemos la Carne, a film that has been publicly endorsed by the likes of Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Reygadas.
For its part, the International Film Festival of Guanajuato will be presenting six short films and two documentaries that will be showcased at Cannes’ Short Film Corner, a space that allows international filmmakers to exhibit and sell their material.
In the past, young Mexican producers have scored two Cannes Un Certain Regard winners: Michel Franco’s After Lucia in 2012 and Diego Quemada-Diez’s La Jaula de Oro in 2013.
There’s also the festival hit Leap Year” from Michael Rowe, which won Cannes’ Camera d’Or in 2010.
These producers, among others, are part of a generation that keeps broadening Mexico’s film industry base and recent trophy haul.
Access to state film funds have greatly affected the filmmakers’ and producers’ quality and output. Today, they can tap into two direct subsidy lines at Mexico’s Imcine Film Institute and through the Efecine tax incentive, worth in all more than 800 million pesos ($46.6 million) in 2015.
Partly as a result, Mexican production has skyrocketed from 14 features in 2002 to 140 last year, an all-time record.
“This new generation of producers is looking to break frontiers, to show our films to the world,” said Mexican producer Pablo Zimbrón.
“I’ve been telling a lot of independent U.S. directors that it’s easier to shoot in Mexico, using Mexican crew and a Mexican story than shoot in the U.S. with less money,” said another Mexican producer, Nicolás Celis.
The Cannes festival began May 11 and runs until Sunday.