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Women in film and television

Film is a medium, a language, but above all a very personal view of the world, a window that offers with every movie, a glance with which we can appreciate the director’s individuality, that who tells stories through images, sound and metaphors of life. Therefore, in a society where women have a leading role, the cinematic interpretation of the feminine view becomes crucial. Because of these shift in values, Women in Film and Television arose in 2002 with the purpose of recognizing and promoting the work of Mexican and international women who live in this country in cinema, television and other audiovisual media. For us at GIFF it’s important and significant, because this is where Women in Film and Television was born and our presence has becomes a tradition thanks to Sarah Hoch and the dinner she organizes for the women we pay tribute to for excelling in their respective medium. Women in Film and Television strengthens the promotion and diffusion of the work done by women in audiovisual media, through programs that promote equality and diversity in topics with the purpose of increasing production, distribution and diffusion. This is why each year the Association gives The Muse award, a beautiful statuette created by sculptor Elena Somonte, to the best short film directed by a woman in the festival’s competition and we recognize two women with a renowned career in their respective professions. In the year 2016, we pay a deserving tribute to Evangelina Elizondo, who has participated in more than 80 feature-length films as well as great works of the stage, television series and soap operas. She, who has delivered a unique actor’s legacy for more than six decades, portrays a big part of the history of Mexican cinema. We also pay tribute to Patricia Reyes Spíndola, premiere actress for more than 40 years who has work with great personalities like José Luis Ibañez, Héctor Mendoza and Adriana Roel, or the filmography of Felipe Cazals, Jaime Humberto Hermosillo and Arturo Ripstein. Congratulation to our two great Muses, Evangelina Elizondo and Patricia Reyes Spíndola, and thank you to Sarah Hoch for opening up this space where the work, creativity and talent of women in the audiovisual world is recognized every year within the Guanajuato International Film Festival.

Evangelina

EVANGELINA

ELIZONDO

The first time I saw Evangelina Elizondo was in a Mexican black-and-white western on television: Los fugitivos, pueblo de proscritos. It amazed me to see her in such an unusual role for Mexican cinema, a happy, audacious, likable woman who can fend for herself, surrounded by men. She escaped from prison near Plaza de San Roque, in Guanajuato, to create a new society. Film is not better than life: It is life.

Director Fernando Méndez made seven films with Evangelina. He was a good friend of her father and I’m sure that during his get-togethers with her family when she was little, he heard her sing. I later found out that she was the Latin American voice of Disney’s Cinderella; an interesting contrast to her artistic personality. From there on she has participated in more than 80 feature films and a great variety of plays, television shows and soap operas. In her first film, Gilberto Martínez Solares’ Las locuras de Tin-Tan, she played an apparently crazy woman who sings opera. When she walks into the bar “El Huarachazo”, her friend tells her the place has a reputation for being a place of “pachucos and gangsters” and Paloma (Evangelina) answers: “I like strong emotions”. From the very beginning, Evangelina showed a great versatility. She’s also the apparently candid girl in Frontera Norte, also by Fernando Méndez, or the bastonera at the University City stadium in Viva la juventud, directed by Fernando Cortés. From then on she’s worked the gamut from comedies, with actors such as Clavillazo, Resortes, Tin Tan and Mauricio Garcés, to tragedies, with Pina Pellicer and Ignacio López Tarso.

Her clear highlight from the 1960’s is her performance in Días de otoño, directed by Roberto Gavaldón, which earned her a Silver Goddess for Best Supporting Actress. In the 1990’s, Alfonso Arau tapped her for A Walk in the Clouds, where she plays an Italian matron with Anthony Quinn and the granddaughter: Aitana Sánchez-Gijón. A few years later, Epigmenio Ibarra brought out the gamut of her talents as an actor and launched her in Mirada de Mujer, as Mamalena. People saw the soap opera not only for its protagonist Angélica Aragón, but also for Evangelina, who achieved a memorable sympathy, despite being an antagonist to her own daughter. Her gifts have allowed her to take a substantial leap to the 21st Century XXI. In 2005, we made Pozos, Guanajuato. The coloring in Evangelina’s performance in Las Buenrostro was astounding. She asked me to let her build her own character and she very generously shared her process with me. We also shot in Mexico City in an estate in Tlalpan. Her discipline is exemplary. I will always thank her for fully offering her versatility in her character, a nice woman who killed old men who had been abandoned to their suffering. With this film we went back to Guanajuato, to Cervantino. Evangelina was present when the film was screened at the steps of the University of Guanajuato.

It’s been very significant for me to make this journey with her, for my Guanajuato blood perhaps, because she makes me relive my days with my endearing aunts from Pastita 53. On this third occasion, we at Women in Film and Television at the Guanajuato International Film Festival, pay a deserved tribute to her work and this unmovable footprint she has left in film and television, a woman who’s been able to combine with her 60-year career in cinema, her deep and fully embraced religious studies.

Patricia

PATRICIA REYES

SPÍNDOLA

There are people who discover their calling at a very young age. Such is the case with Patricia, who has dreamt about acting since she was a little girl: “I did miniature theater where I placed my dolls to be the audience, that’s where my acting career started”. Born in Oaxaca on July 11, 1953 Patricia arrived in Mexico City as a teenager and immediately began her film acting career whilst she worked as a secretary at an orthodontist’s office. She began with small parts, but a few years after she began acting she won an Ariel for Actas de Marusia (1976), directed by Chilean Miguel Littín. Her career took off quickly and she kept working year in and year out until she reached almost fifty films. Under the wings of greats such as Roberto Gavaldón, Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, Alberto Isaac, Felipe Cazals, and especially Arturo Ripstein, who calls her his Muse, Patricia is an irreplaceable presence in the history of our cinema.

Anecdotes from her life include when Emilio Fernández asked her to operate on her ear lobes to attach them to her skin, or else she wouldn’t get the part in his second version of Pueblerina. She also remembers vividly that in 1994, thanks to her collaboration with Ripstein in La Reina de la Noche, she was nominated for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival. Of course, Television knocked on her door and she’s had an intense and fruitful career in soap operas for which she’s won several awards. She remembers her parts in El extraño retorno de Diana Salazar, El Maleficio, La antorcha encendida, among many others. She also had a stint in theater with plays like La Hiedra directed by Nancy Cárdenas, and in Madrid she shared the stage with Carmen Sevilla, both unforgettable experiences. As if that weren’t enough, Patricia has directed soap operas and she founded an Academy for actors in which she teaches workshops. Patricia Reyes Spíndola not only has an impressive professional career, she has a great sense of humor, which is probably why she finishes a Stand-Up Comedy routine she does in Madrid with: –based on the stereotype of Mexican “culebrones”- “I’m happy to play a maid, but I’ll be charging like a mistress”.