Probably the most buzzed about Mexican director of late, Naranjo’s fourth feature Miss Bala (ISA:TCF) premiered at Cannes, went on to play festivals in Toronto and Los Angeles and was selected as Mexico’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Loosely inspired by real events it tells the story of Laura, a young woman who aspires to compete in the Miss Baja beauty pageant. Instead she finds herself amidst narcos as an unwilling participant in Mexico’s drug war. Using long takes and very few cuts Naranjo accomplishes the difficult, a melancholy thriller and pensive allegory punctuated by intense moments of violent but often quiet action. 20th Century Fox released the film in limited theaters late last year. In his previous films Voy a explotar (I’m Gonna Explode) (ISA:Elle Driver), Drama/Mex, and Malachance he experimented stylistically but they all reflect his signature, emotionally resonant and sensitive depictions of characters on the edge.
Having only recently graduated from the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), one of the two major film schools in Mexico, she has already directed three feature-length films. Her thesis project, the award-winning documentary Intimidades de Shakespeare y Victor Hugo (Intimacies of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo) (ISA:Interior13 Cine) traces her grandmother Rosa's friendship with Jorge Riosse, her young, troubled tenant. Paraísos Artificiales (Artificial Paradises) (ISA: Interior13 Cine), named after an anthology by the 19th century French poet Baudelaire, was her impressive fiction debut. It’s dreamy, serene, and breathtaking landscapes of the lush seaside hills of Veracruz, Mexico provide the backdrop, as a young woman addicted to heroin tries to free herself from the compulsive need for a fix while staying at a beach resort. Her newest film Fogo is days away from its world premiere at The Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. In a departure from her previous projects, she chose to make a film in English focusing on the deterioration of a small community in Fogo Island, located off the coast Canada.
In an effort to create an intimate environment for his second film Alamar (ISA: MK2 Diffusion), he wrote, directed, shot and edited the picture himself. Set in a small house on stilts that sits above the crystal-clear blue waters of the Yucatan Peninsula, it explores the bond between a father and son as they share a fishing trip together. When asked whether Alamar is a documentary or fiction at a festival screening he defiantly answered, “It’s a film.” Having invented parts of the story but documenting real events, he seamlessly blends reality and fiction in a picturesque and introspective cinematic meditation that at times almost becomes a photographic essay. Film Movement acquired the theatrical and DVD rights in North America. His directorial debut, Toro Negro, an unflinching look at an alcoholic bullfighter, won prizes at Havana, San Sebastian and Morelia Film Festivals.
He had film festivals, critics and distributors clamoring for his attention after his black-and-white directorial debut, Temporada de Patos (Duck Season) (ISA: Traction Media) premiered at Cannes in 2004. It won prizes at AFI Fest and Guadalajara Film Festival and later several Ariel Awards (the Mexican equivalent of the Oscars.) The comedy-drama about two teenage boys who must entertain themselves after a power outage went on to play more than 70 festivals and was sold in more than 30 countries. He followed up this smashing success with Lake Tahoe, a minimalist quiet film in which teenaged Juan crashes his family's car into a pole and then scours the streets searching for someone to help him fix it. Eimbcke studied film in Mexico City at the Centro Universitario de Estudios Cinematográficos (CUEC).