Personality of the month
By Jade Arroyo
Damián Alcazar is a renowned Mexican actor who often spends time in San Miguel de Allende and is a part of our community. He has performed in 28 Mexican films and six foreign films. He was awarded the Ariel in 1999 and 2004 for the films Bajo California: El límite del tiempo, by Carlos Bolado, and Crónicas de Sebástian Cordero. He also won the best actor award at the Festival of Valladolid.
He has been nominated for the same award on four occasions. He received the Ariel Award for Best Actor for El Anzuelo directed by Ernesto Rimoch and for Lolo, directed by Francisco Athie, and also El Crimen del Padre Amaro directed by Carlos Carrera.
He won the award for Best Actor at the Cartagena Festival for the film Dos Crímenes, directed by Roberto Sneider. He has also worked in telenovelas, most recently Secretos del Corazón, produced by TV Azteca. In April 2013 he was awarded the Prize of Honor of the Lleida Latin American Film Festival along with José Coronado.
Damián Alcazar is recognized by Sanmiguelenses as one of the local celebrities, who often can be seen walking in the streets wearing a hat, hugging his girlfriend (who lives here), getting a coffee at La Ventana coffee shop, and chatting with the local group of theatergoers. He never refuses a request to sign an autograph.
His relationship with SMA began 22 years ago when he came to do some scenes for the movie Dos Crimenes in San Miguel, then a play. Later, he came to do another movie, And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself with Antonio Banderas. This time he took the opportunity to stay and enjoy San Miguel. After one month, he decided it was a place where he wanted to put an anchor.
He is a man who must travel a lot for work. This situation, rather than causing uprooting, provides a lot of freedom. Damián comes across as someone strong, but also kind, with a loud laugh and lively eyes. Constantly being on the move seems to have come to him from early childhood. Born in Michoacán, he moved to Guadalajara, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz, where he was educated and began to develop as an actor, and then Mexico City, spending long periods there for his work. He loves to participate in theater projects in San Miguel, but cannot participate in as many as he would like because of lack of time. The last play he was in was a political pastorela (Nativity scene play) a satire called Dios nos coja confesados (God Have Mercy on Us), written and directed by him. A project that he has always wanted to do is a pastorela for the people of San Miguel in Spanish, possibly translated into English.
At the local level, Damián admires the work of people struggling to make a change. He has the courage to point out those who should be noted. One is César Arias, for example, who through the incredible Charco del Ingenio project, seeks to perpetuate the magic and the natural values of San Miguel. Another is Jesusa Rodríguez, a creator who cannot stop creating and who, through her work and dramaturgy, does a lot of social criticism. In both his personal and professional life, Damián is recognized as a person known for political activism and social commitment to the country.
“From a young age I recognized injustice in the country and inequality. I knew the reality of the poor, the workers who are paid a miserable salary and work long hours to support their families. For my work I have been able to travel around the country, and that has made me see the reality of my country, especially in the economy. In Mexico City he is very committed to the development of the city through his citizen voice, often associated with the left wing of Mexican politics. Although he says he is not interested in being a career politician, he considers himself an observer and stresses the importance of giving voice to the problems, giving visibility, speaking for those who cannot, and representing them. “Sometimes I succeed; sometimes I can.”
Damián talks about how it’s important to see a film done in Mexico and recognize it. In Mexico 70 to 80 films are made yearly, but two or three see the light and only for a week. “The country really needs to support culture, where the public can recognize and support art, not just making art for the wealthy. It’s not about making films for festivals; it is making films for people,” he concluded.