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[eltdf_dropcaps type=”normal” color=”” background_color=””]A[/eltdf_dropcaps]s it has every year for the last 19 years, ever since it was called “Expresión en Corto”, the Guanajuato International Film Festival has opened its doors to the people of its two host cities, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato City; especially for everyone who came from abroad to enjoy national and international cinema by filmmakers who risk evertything to develop withing the film industry. GIFF offers a space to feed the passion for cinema with film screenings and many other surrounding activities (including concerts, conferences, master classes by special guests, etc.) free of charge. Today is the end of its 19th edition and here’s a glimpse of what happened.
Activities began in San Miguel de Allende on July 22 where the inauguration took place in the Main Garden with tributes paid to premiere Mexican actress Dolores Heredia, Japanese premiere actress Kaori Momoi and the screening of the inaugural film Mr. Pig. This same venue saw concerts by several bands, including Camilo Séptimo and URSS bajo el Árbol. Despite the constant threat of rain, these concerts took place with large audiences. Other events included two nights of Movies with Mummy at the San Miguel de Allende Municipal Cemetery, a Master Class by Dolores Heredia celebrating the 70 years of AMACC, the Utopia: Apocalyptic and Integrated conference, as well as screening for all the participants of the Official Selection and Special Screenings from our Spotlight Country: Japan.
On Wednesday July 27 the activities moved to Guanajuato City, which kicked off with the screening of the documentary shorts participating in the Identity and Belonging Un iversity Documentary Contest (a staple of GIFF) and the kick-off for the 8th Annual 48-Hour Collegiate Rally, where six selected teams have 48 hours to shoot and edit a short film which was screened at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas. These two programs stimulate the growth of the film industry in Mexico by encouraging university students who want to be a part of it.
Guanajuato City also saw the arrival of Japanese filmmakers Naomi Kawase and Masato Harada and Mexican actor Demián Bichir, each of whom were paid a deserving tributeand offered a Master Class so each of them could talk about their career. They were enthusiastically recieved and in their honor there were screenings of Still the Water and Sweet Bean by Naomi Kawase; The Emperor in August by Masato Harada and the world premier of 7:19, starring Demián Bichir and directed by Jorge Michel Grau. Another very warmly recieved celebrity was Yoshiki, the leader of the band X Japan who, along with director Stephen Kijak, presented the Latin American premier of the documentary We Are X at the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, followed by a spectacular concert by Yoshiki himself.
The Music + Cinema program continued in Guanajuato City with bands such as Tokyo Brass Style, HH Botellita de Jerez, Terr Monsta, among many others, and the premier of the documentary Panoramas about the band Zoé’s first international tour. Children had their place in the festival with the Kids in Action Red Carpet which was followed by a screening of Elephant the Horse and the Túnel del Sol welcomed fans of Japanese Horror Cinema for a very special Movies with Mummy. The memories of Prince and David Bowie were honored with screenings of Purple Rain and The Man Who Fell to Earth at the Steps of the University of Guanajuato as well as the world premier of El Tamaño Sí Importa and our closing film which made a lot of noise at Sundance, Swiss Army Man.
Next year, GIFF will close out its second decade of existence and watching cinema grow in Mexico and so many Mexican filmmakers recieving worldwide recognition tell us those two decades have been worth it.
Thank you for everything and we’ll see you next year for “More Cinema Please”!