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The Best of Cinema Returns to San Miguel de Allende with GIFF 2018


By Margarita Ortega

On July 20 to 24, San Miguel de Allende will host filmmakers, film critics, journalists, actors and several figures from the film industry to celebrate the 21st edition of the Guanajuato International Film Festival (GIFF), featuring activities for film lovers as well as those who would like to spend five days watching films and attending workshops, conferences, red carpets and discussion forums.

The varied program that GIFF offers this year includes the feature film Terra Incognita (2002), about several people trapped in Beirut’s demolished present, and Al-Wadi (The Valley, 2014), about an amnesiac in an isolated ground where drugs are sold; both by Lebanese director Ghassan Salhab, to whom the festival will pay tribute.

Other international filmmakers will share their work, such as documentary filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman who will present Roll Red Roll (2018), about the famous case of a young girl who was raped by football players in Steubenville, Ohio, and the part that social media played in the development of this incident. Colombian filmmaker Santiago Caicedo brings Virus Tropical (2018), his adaptation of the celebrated graphic novel Powerpaola, about the upbringing and maturing of a strip cartoonist in a family of strong-willed women who travels from Quito to Cali. Iranian director Babak Jalali presents Land (2017), which premiered at Berlinale, about a Native American family in a New Mexico reservation that reacts to the death of one of their sons in Afghanistan. Mapplethorpe (2018), the narrative debut of documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner, about controversial photographer Robert Mapplethorpe during two decades of his brief artistic career.

The festival will have a wide selection of Mexican films having their world premiere, such as En tiempos de lluvia (2017), by Itandehui Jansen, about a healer from Oaxaca who takes care of her grandson while she waits for her daughter who went to study in the city; and Noches de Julio (2018), by Axel Muñoz, in which Julio and Mara connect through their hobby of trespassing houses only to question whether they have met their better half or if all of it is a fantasy.

As always, the festival has a wide selection of documentaries, which include Patrimonio (2018), directed by Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale, about a group of fishermen and an activist lawyer that resisted the expansion of a transnational corporation; and América (2018), by Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside, which follows three siblings who argue as they struggle to care for América, their 93-year-old grandmother. From Mexican director we’ll see Ayotzinapa, el paso de la tortuga (2018), by Enrique García Meza, a documentary that allows us to look into the pain, the lack of justice and the hope that the families of the 43 disappeared students from Iguala, Guerrero, live through; and Hasta los dientes (2017), by Alberto Arnaut Estrada, which tells the story about how authorities tried to cover up the news about two university students who were murdered by the Military and buried in a common pit.

For fun and a dose of preciousness, we recommend Cats Just Wanna Have Fun!, dedicated to the most entertaining feline celebrities, as well as music videos, home videos from all over the world and short films (about cats) that have been screened at international film festivals.

To bring film criticism to the forefront, create a tighter relationship between critics and the festival, and seeking to bring the audience closer to the trade of a film critic, GIFF presents, for the first time, “El Fin de la Crítica”, an encounter among outstanding Mexican film critics in discussion forums, workshops and conferences.

During the first edition of “El Fin de la Crítica”, topics most relevant to film critics and specialized journalists will be discussed and will be complimented with useful opinions from distributors and industry personalities. These events, such as workshops on writing and the use of digital tools, will be open to the public.

The critics in attendance will discuss topics that concern their business, such as journalistic ethics, the irruption of new media, the use of social networks and the boom of influencers, as well as the working scope for critics and specialized press. Participants include Arturo Aguilar, Manuel Almazán, Rafael Aviña, Carlos Bonfil, Jesús Chavarría, Alonso Díaz de la Vega, Leonardo García Tsao, Carlos Gómez Iniesta, Krzysztof Raczyñski, Sonia Riquer, Fernanda Solórzano and Luis Tovar.

Don’t miss the screenings and activities of GIFF 2018. They are free of charge and they offer something for every taste. San Miguel de Allende becomes the Capital of Cinema once more.


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