FICG (pronounced FeeSeeg and standing for the Festival International de Cine in Guadalajara), displayed a new vibrancy. Besides some great films, great attendance and great organization, several Latin American countries are entering the international film business for the first time (Peru and Ecuador) with subsidies from their government pointing to an optimism for film production as an economic factor in their country's growth. I blogged about the Dominican Republic but not about the new Law 226 in Mexico which encourages businesses to invest up to 20 million pesos (U.S.$2 million) or 10% of the taxes they owed the previous year (whichever is higher) into Mexican film production, or Brazilian access to subsidies.
In addition, Guadalajara is becoming known as the Silicon Valley of Mexico as its economy is based especially on information technology with a large number of international firms having facilities there. It is also considered to be the home of Mariachi music. The city is named after the Spanish city of Guadalajara with the name originating from the Arabic word meaning "Valley of Stones". It is the highest ranking major Mexican city and has the second strongest economic potential of any major North American city. Only Chicago scores more highly for sheer economic potential (Per a 2007 report in fDi magazine, an English-language news and foreign direct investment publication owned by The Financial Times Ltd and edited in London). The same research calls Guadalajara the "city of the future" due to its youthful population, low unemployment and large number of recent foreign investment deals. It was also ranked the third most business friendly city in North America.
A new digital film studio is going up. The University is an important center of culture and learning.
And sadly, violence over drugs is not far away. This past Friday, Narco gangs appropriated 25 vehicles in 16 separate incidents – 11 of them in the Guadalajara metropolitan zone where they set fire to them in retaliation for action taken against them in a military action to capture two Mexican drug cartel members. At the Centro Magno festival venue, festival transport staff stopped filmgoers leaving a screening of Andres Wood's Violeta Went to Heaven as they sought to return to the festival's central Expo Center venue, acknowledging concerns for safety. A truck was set on fire not far (but not too close either: at Calzada Lázaro Cárdenas and Mezquite, at la Colonia de El Fresno) from the Expo where the festival was still being held, but there was no disruption of the festival.
Our friend, Hebe Tabachnik, Iberoamerican programmer for the Palm Springs Film Festival is on the jury and writes from there:
Dear friends, in spite of the disruptive and unfortunately deadly incidents in Guadalajara today, all the attendees to the Ficg Guadalajara are OK. We are sorry this beautiful city and specially its amazing people have to experience this kind of criminal acts. The festival is going ahead with its schedule events, as it should be. Celebrating the arts and show no fear is the best way to manifest against the non sense violence. Viva Guadalajara. Viva Mexico!!!!
The activities of the industry, with meetings about Iberoamerican coproductions with its well presented professional projects, the film market itself with films available to watch up to 2 weeks after the closing, the Cannes Marche Producers Network, Works in Progress, Berlinale's Talent Campus and Doculab, and of course, the festival itself with galas every night, a Focus on U.K. and Mike Leigh, Homages, Mexican and Iberoamerican Competition, Sounds of Cinema, Children's Cinema, LGBT prizes, Open Air Screenings - all defy easy decision making on how best to spend one's time there.
The prize winners:
“Todo el mundo tiene alguien menos yo” (México) Dir. Raúl Fuentes
Premio del Público Milenio
Mejor Cortometraje de Animación - Premio Rigo Mora
Mejor Cortometraje Iberoamericano
Mejor Cortometraje Mexicano
Largometraje Iberoamericano Documental
“El salvavidas“ (Chile) Dir. Maite Alberdi
Mejor Documental Iberoamericano
Largometraje Mexicano Documental
“Carrière, 250 metros” Dir. Juan Carlos Rulfo y Natalia Gil
“El paciente interno” Dir. Alejandro Solar
Mejor Documental Mexicano
Largometraje de Ficción Iberoamericana
Premio Especial del Jurado
Mejor Opera Prima
Mejor Película Iberoamericana
Largometraje de Ficción Mexicana
Música Original de "Días de gracia"
Mejor Opera Prima
Premio de los Niños
“No hay lugar lejano” (México) Dir. Michelle Ibaven
“Oro Colombiano: 400 años de música del alma” (Colombia) Dir. Sanjay Agarwal e Iván Higa
Guerrero de la Prensa
Academia Jalisciense de Cinematografía
No sooner does this festival and market wrap when a new Mexican festival, the Riviera Maya Film Festival, begins March 20 - 25 which will play in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel and Holbox. The industry component Rivieralab, a coproduction event will take place in Quintana Roo March 22-25 and will host 158 projects from Latin America and Europe. 10 projects will be showcased to financiers, fund representatives, producers and sales agents, 3 will receive 200,000 pesos or approximately US$15,500. 8 international works in progress at post-production stage from a pool of 40 will be selected to receive support.