The 34thGuadalajara Int’l Film Festival (FICG), boasting a new general director, Estrella Araiza, wrapped March 15 with a bevy of cash prizes spread out among several categories. Documentaries ruled, led by Premio Mezcal best film and best director winner “Midnight Family” by Luke Lorentzen, who also lensed the gripping account of a family of private ambulance operators in Mexico City.
The festival’s LGBTQ section, Premio Maguey, gave its top prize to docu “One Taxi Ride” by Mak C.K., which in a non-lineal structure, chronicles the reactions of the family and community of Erick who ventures out of the closet after 10 years. Brazil’s Ricardo Calil took home the Ibero-American best documentary gong for “Cine Morocco,” hailed by jurors for its “creation of a risky narrative structure” to cover several topical issues in Brazil. Spanish Cannes regular Jaime Rosales snagged the best Ibero-American fiction and best director award for his story of family intrigue “Petra,” which follows a young woman in her search for the father she never knew. Spain’s Arantxa Echavarria continued her victory lap with feature debut, “Carmen & Lola” which snagged best first feature.
During a masterclass with Netflix vice president, kids & family Melissa Cobb, Guillermo del Toro, who MC’d the event, let slip plans to open a new stop motion animation center in Guadalajara, his hometown. In a conversation with Variety, festival director and del Toro’s right hand in Guadalajara, Estrella Araiza, shared details of the ambitious project. The Taller del Chucho will run like a business, supported financially by Del Toro and the University of Guadalajara. Del Toro hand-picked seven filmmakers to launch the center. But according to Araiza new talent will be joining them as soon as the doors open. Any profits from films made at the Taller will first and foremost be used to pay the artists involved in production.