This year celebrates eight successful years since the start of our partnership between the Guanajuato International Film Festival, and Cinefondation LA RESIDENCE, created by the Cannes Film Festival, and our popular MexiCannes Summer Residence Program in Guanajuato, Mexico.
Cinéfondation LA RÉSIDENCE selects a dozen of the best young filmmakers in the world, bringing them to Paris to offer them a platform and the advice needed to propel their careers.
With this mission in mind, GIFF offers the 12 filmmakers an opportunity to participate in workshops and Master’s Classes with renowned national and international figures in the film industry invited to the festival. Past participants have been Spike Lee, Deepa Mehta, Spike Jonze, Shyam Benegal, Peter Greenaway, Chan-Wook Park, Alejandro González Iñárrritu, Danny Boyle and Darren Aronofsky.
Every year, the MexiCannes also pitch their projects in development to international producers, distributors and film financing institutions during the International Pitching Market in Guanajuato, making the trip to Mexico productive, as well as a blast!
This year, the MexiCannes program brings together laureates from the 29th and 30th sessions of Cinefondation LA RESIDENCE, as well as two Mexican directors, invited by GIFF to participate as a Summer Residency.
Una Gunjak was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She finished her BA in Film Studies at the Universita’ degli Studi di Torino, Italy, and obtained an MA in Film Editing at the National Film and TV School, UK. Una has edited dramas and documentaries and directed commercials. Her short film, The Chicken, has won 23 awards in several international festivals. Alfa is her first feature film.
Twelve years after escaping the Bosnian War, Azra and her son still live in the place that gave them shelter, a drug rehab commune named Alfa, in the desolate and socially depressed Italian countryside. When the commune faces closure, Azra is tasked to find new addicts in order to save it and keep its mission alive. On this journey, she meets doubts and prejudices about her ‘home’ but also discovers the normal Italian life she was denied all these years.
POEMAS MALOS / BAD POEMS
Gábor Reisz was born in Budapest, Hungary. He went to Eötvös Lóránd University to study Film Theory and Film History. He completed his study at the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest as a film and television director. He wrote and directed several short films. His first feature, For Some Inexplicable Reason, premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the East of the West competition.
“Tamás Merthner, 23, water polo player” -This is how he would introduce himself if anyone was interested. He actually makes a living as a swimming instructor and plays in a third-league team with athletes well past their glory. He is a follower of his own religion, worshipping water and swimming through his self-penned naive prayers and cheesy poems, dreaming about making it in the big league. One day he meets Anna, a married woman 20 years his senior, who completely upsets his life.
APROBADO POR EL CENSOR / PASSED BY CENSOR
Serhat Karaaslan was born in Varto, Turkey. He studied Pharmacology at Istanbul University and was later accepted to the Master’s Program for Directors of Film & Drama at Kadir Has University in Istanbul. His thesis shorts were Bicycle (2010) and Musa (2012). His most recent short, Ice Cream, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival Short Cuts Competition in 2014. His shorts have won more than 50 awards.
Zakir (32), a censor in an Istanbul prison, reads convicts’ letters, blacks out any objectionable content and stamps them “Passed”. He lives with his elderly mother on the poor outskirts of the city, where he has spent his entire life. He is engaged to a girl chosen for him by his family. Inside one of the letters, Zakir finds a photograph of an attractive woman, Selma (30), and cannot resist stealing it. He carries the photograph everywhere, and his crush on the woman develops into an obsession.
EL CAVADOR DE TUMBAS / THE GRAVE DIGGER
Khadar emigrated with his family as a refugee from Somalia to Finland at the age of 16. Nine years later, the self-taught filmmaker won a short screenplay contest in 2007 with his script “Citizens”, which was screened and awarded at numerous film festivals including second prize at the Locarno Film Festival, and best short film at Helsinki Short Film Festival.
Set in Djibouti, Africa, The Grave Digger tells a love story of a middle aged grave digger, Yusuf, and his wife Halima who suffers from a chronic kidney disease. One day, a kidney is found but the donor is wants 5000 US dollars for it. That kind of money is not even something that Yusuf can earn in a million years. The grave digger is facing a hopeless situation. The screenplay was among the six finalists of Shasha Grant 2011, Abu Dhabi Film Commission’s international screenplay competition
EL HOMBRE DE LA MANCHA
Born in San José, Costa Rica in 1979, he graduated in Sociology before studying at Centre d’Estudis Cinematogràfics of Catalunya in Barcelona. He wrote and directed several short films, among them 100 al Este and Jasón. His first feature Por las Plumas won the Miami International Film Festival Work in Progress prize and premiered at Discovery in Toronto International Film Festival.
Mancha is part of a motorcycle messengers group working for a local company. His nickname was given to him due to the large birthmark that covers his face. Nowadays he is not ashamed of this singularity and assumes it even with a bit of a sense of humor. When his company fires all of the motorcycle messengers, Mancha assumes the leadership of the group. Day by day they manage to overcome both the usual and unusual obstacles that come along with their profession.
LAS GRUESAS PESTAÑAS DE LAURI MÄNTYVAARA /
THICK LASHES OF LAURI MÄNTYVAARA
Hauru graduated from two Finnish Film Schools: ELO Helsinki and TTVO Tampere, yet she considers NISI MASA European Network of Young Cinema and the KINO Movement her real film schools. Hannaleena’s shorts have been making waves in Berlinale Generations, Oberhausen, Cannes Critics’ week, Uppsala and Tampere with their precise, poetic atmosphere and strong inner world of characters.
There’s this hot ice hockey guy called Lauri Mäntyvaara. Satu has promised she’ll do her best, so that her best friend Heidi will get him. You’d think that the picturesque Finnish Archipelago would be the perfect place to discover your first love (and get rid of your virginity), but it will not be easy, if a cynical protein-shake-slurping ice hockey team thinks the target of your desire should focus only on the European Championship.
Born in Beer-Sheva, Israel in 1982, she graduated with honours from Sam Spiegel Film School in 2012. During her studies she received a scholarship from “The America-Israel Cultural foundation” for promising director. Her diploma film Last Calls was screened and awarded at numerous festivals including Montreal, Créteil and Biarritz. She is also an editor on both fiction and documentary films.
Asia is a rootless immigrant, struggling to make ends-meet. Her biggest concern though is for her teenage daughter Vika, who has been diagnosed with an incurable progressive disease. The two go through life as if nothing’s wrong, quarreling over Vika’s studies and friends; but when Vika’s health starts deteriorating, life ultimately changes. Vika’s illness turns out to be an opportunity to reveal the great love within this small family unit.
ENTRE TANTO LAS GOLONDRINAS / EN ATTENDANT LES HIRONDELLES
He’s an active member in Chrysalis, one of Algeria’s most important independent film associations. He worked on a number of plays and films including “Paloma Delight” with Nadir Mokneche. In 2006 he made his first short, Ce qu’on doit faire (What We Must Do), based on a short story by Charles Bukowsky. In 2011, he met Virginie Legeay, with whom he co-wrote Les Jours d’avant (2013).
Six main characters are revealed through three different narratives. Mourad is focused on his own life; his work, his family. He will do anything to avoid trouble, even at the risk of making immoral choices. Yamina tries to forget her past by marrying a decent man. On the way to her new home, she starts having second thoughts. Dahman is a doctor, also hoping to start a new life. He is waiting patiently for a promotion that will improve his social position and his chance to get married.
Edgar graduated as a Film Director from the CCC in Mexico. His short film ‘Y Volveré” debuted in 2010 at the Fantasy Film Festival at SITGES, in Spain, as well as earning an honorable mention at the LEBU film festival in Chile. He won the first prize for a documentary at the Guanajuato International Film Festival 2011, as well as best Sound Track, Best Narrative Short at Garden State Film Festival, and many others.
A couple of teens trek deep into the Mexican desert in search of a Shaman who will initiate them into the world of Peyote, connect them to the Love and Spirituality around them, and help them find a mystical solution to their problems. What they don’t know is that once they’re in the desert, the situation and the peyote will turn this into a confusing, bloody trip which brings out their truly selfish human nature.
Ricardo Soto studied filmmaking at CCC, Mexico. His short “Last passengers”, competed alongside Apichatpong Weerasethakul on Vladivostok, Rusia (2010). He was selected for programs like Berlinale Talents and the Filmmakers Academy in Locarno. As producer, he made the winning short “Of this world” for GIFF’s 2011 edition and his first feature “Plastic” won a grant by FONCA.
Michel, a famous conductor, unexpectedly falls into a coma. His wife Andrea, his young son Theo, and everything he knows, starts disappearing from his mind. Deprived of memories, he wakes up sometime later in an old clinic. One day, after Andrea’s death, an adult Theo decides to bring the now aged Michel out of the clinic. They both embark on one last journey, as Theo learns to love his father and, at times, Michel believes he has found a strange companion.