The 21st edition of the Guanajuato International Film Festival has come to an end after nine days of intense activities that brought us the best of cinema in San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato City.
The emotional Opening Gala ceremony in San Miguel de Allende featured the screening of Mamacita, a documentary feature by José Pablo Estrada Torrescano that tells the story of the matriarch of his family.
This year, Lebanon was the Spotlight Country. Their delegation and extensive collection of films demonstrated a nation filled with culture, with a vibrant cinema that has a life of its own and voices that are heard all over the world.
Such is the case of Ghassan Salhab, a Lebanese director who is recognized for his innovations in film language and a vision that brings together different identities to take on the most crucial topics that face his environment. Places (particularly the city of Beirut) in his film are not just a background, but are considered characters that mark the spirit of the story. The filmmaker was granted the Silver Cross, a sculpture by Fel Barbosa that the festival grants to great personalities of world cinema every year.
This edition featured a first-class selection made up of more than 340 films, 154 of which were in the official competition. Special showings like Music + Films, A Summer with Bergman and the commemoration of 50 years since the movements that nurtured the year 1968, further fed the sensibilities of our guests and audiences.
For the first time, El Fin de la Crítica came about, an encounter that brought together the experiences of professionals and fans in a cycle of discussion forums, conferences and workshops. GIFF bet on —along with several institutions and industry professionals— building new talents for the next generation of film critics in Mexico. This cycle of chats and conferences featured notable personalities from the world of journalism and film criticism, who widened our understanding of their profession and paved the way for younger professionals to make a living of this in the best way.
The Inaugural Gala of our Guanajuato phase began with the screening of PAraguayan film Las Herederas, from director Marcelo Martinessi. This is what launched what would be a stay in the streets of the capital that would be worth remembering.
The cycles of conferences and panels continued in Guanajuato, including the book presentation of Lebanese in Mexican Cinema, an analysis of Wild Strawberries with Perla Schwartz and a discussion forum on new technologies and the preservation of film archives.
The Identity and Belonging competition of this edition was made up of the films Nostalgia, Buscando el Green, Bastardos Desterrados, Judas en el Rincón, Anita and Macehua. These young university students of Guanajuato showed an enormous capacity and talent for telling stories that belong to all of us. Their effort is an example and a note of hope for the culture of our country.
The 10th Annual Collegiate Rally featured 6 teams from 6 different states of Mexico. Through an exhaustive months-long preparation process, these teams shot their shorts in 48 hours and featured the unparalleled spaces that this Human Heritage city offers.
Actor Damián Alcázar received a deserved tribute and the Silver Cross as well as the Silver Medal from the UNAM Filmoteca in recognition of his career committed to art and social causes which have made him one of the most renowned and beloved Latin American actors. Moved, he reiterated affection as the essential ingredient of his daily success.
After long journeys and a shared enthusiasm for cinema, this memorable edition of GIFF closes with its head held high. Memories, contacts, emotions and passion will all be renewed next year. We thank everyone who attended, guests and organizers that made this cinematic party possible.