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Edén movie debuts in the filmmaker’s hometown of San Miguel de Allende

By Melanie Harris de Maycotte

Edén is a beautiful, poetic and deeply personal film about cultural identity and finding out where you belong. It is also a film about family ties, love and grief.” – Johan Blomqvist, Göteborg International Film Festival

Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF)
Sat, Jul 26, 6pm
Cines Aldama
San Francisco 4

Making a movie is the most challenging art form that exists and perhaps even filmmakers underappreciate this fact until they are neck-deep in their storytelling venture. For the making of Edén, seasoned film editor Elise DuRant found out just how challenging of a process and proposition it is to be a first time feature director and how it truly took a village to make her film – that village being San Miguel – her hometown and inspiration for her film. To debut her beloved first feature at the theater where she saw her first film as a young child, Cines Aldama, this Saturday in the company of her family, friends, crew and the community who helped make her dream come true is an event that made all of the countless hours, blood, sweat, tears and grey hairs all worth it.

The story for Edén is one that can only be lived, a storyline inspired by her upbringing in San Miguel that spans DuRant’s lifetime beginning in the ‘80s. The writing of the script began nearly a decade ago and the shopping of the script gained much traction at the Expression En Corto Pitching Market in Guanajuato in 2007 where it garnered positive attention from indie distribution houses. The script also was popular in Hollywood when the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s brother Gordy Hoffman gave it a great critique in his BlueCat Screenplay Competition where it was selected as a semifinalist. With much encouragement for the script, DuRant embarked on the lofty task of fundraising with her first San Miguel event happening at the Restaurant in 2008. After many hurdles and disappointments chasing funds from “fiscal stimulus grants” offered by the government and learning the hard way about  bureaucracy in obtaining support for her endeavor in Mexico that is too long to discuss in this article, instead, here, we chose to focus on the extraordinary support that came directly from the amazingly generous community in San Miguel. When the time for filming finally came in the fall of 2012, it was the members of this community who opened their hearts and wallets, who patiently allowed streets to be closed, who gave generously of their own time and talents, and who offered their homes to strangers in need of housing and locations during the filming.

Elise DuRant came up with a list of close to 500 people from San Miguel to thank in her credits, so please excuse us for not naming you all here. Most importantly she would like to thank Sarah Hoch who walks the walk and who without hesitation found time in her busy schedule to help DuRant put together a local team from her own stable of talents to do line production and made invaluable calls to her contacts statewide and locally to the Trejo government for help in the streets. Also Dave and Caren Cross who for years offered their home during scouting, brainstorming and when DuRant just needed to get out of Mexico City and focus on her script. Later during filming Caren Cross spent hours reaching out to friends and calling in many favors to help make production happen and sets sing; to Kathy Sulkes who lent her experience and time on set as production aide. All of the people who lent their locations – La Fragua, La Cucaracha, La Mansion del Bosque – just to name a few; to Whitney Hyder for her extreme generosity in lending Casa Hyder for crew housing and shooting location; to many other people who lent rooms and food – The Restaurant, El Pegaso, La Senda Ecovilla; to many of you who helped on set for a day or two as extras and volunteers or who brought props for sets; to  Heidi and Bill Levasseur who lent masks from their collection; to the Atención San Miguel for running so many articles over the year to spread the word about the project!

Do join us tomorrow, Saturday, July 26, at Cines Aldama at 6pm to cheer for the home team and bring some tissues because the story is heartbreaking and beautiful and there will be many proud tears that will be streaming from all of our faces.


The show still isn’t over!

So, yes, the movie has been made and is beginning to be shared, thanks in part to all of you, The New York State Council and Elise DuRant’s boss, Woody Allen (a major contributor), but the onerous task for fundraising for the post-production is still underway even today with the movie debuting at GIFF this weekend. The Gabriel Figueroa Film Fund got the team through most of post-production, but in order to have a mastered final cut, DuRant still needs US$5,500 and US$5,000 more to get it out into the world. If you missed out being part of the crew, this is your opportunity to help get a moving story about San Miguel, made in San Miguel by the community of San Miguel out into the world. For more information on how to make a tax-deductible contribution via the New York Foundation for the Arts, please contact Elise DuRant at But most importantly, join us to celebrate this feat and share links about the film with your friends and family and on social media.

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