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Guillermo del Toro Mourns Three Film Students 'Killed and Dissolved in Acid' by a Mexican Cartel

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Guillermo del Toro is offering his condolences after three film students from his hometown were brutally murdered by members of a Mexican cartel.

“Words are not enough to understand the dimension of this madness,” del Toro, 53, wrote in Spanish on Twitter on Wednesday. “Three students are killed and dissolved in acid. The ‘why’ is unthinkable, the ‘as’ is frightening.”

Aspiring directors Javier Salomón Aceves Gastélum, Daniel Díaz and Marco Ávalo, all from Guadalajara, Mexico, went missing in late March while on vacation near the city of Tonala.

According to authorities, the students were kidnapped by at least six people who tortured and murdered them after their car broke down, Business Insider reports.

“Subsequently their bodies were dissolved in acid so that no trace of them remained,” the state prosecutors office told the outlet, noting that their killers likely confused the students with members of a rival gang.

Del Toro, who was born and raised in Guadalajara, had been raising awareness about the missing students via his social media platform.

Just days ago, he retweeted a post by Duncan Tucker, a British journalist based in Mexico, who wrote, “Apparently the film students were shooting a homework project at a property in Guadalajara, which, unbeknownst to them, was a cartel safe house. It seems that’s all it takes to get you killed and dissolved in acid in Mexico today.”

Del Toro has worked hard to help aspiring filmmakers from his hometown. A week after taking home the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for the critically acclaimed film The Shape of Water, del Toro went back to Guadalajara to offer Masterclasses and scholarships to aspiring moviemakers in his country.

Every year at the Guadalajara International Film Festival, the Jenkins-Del Toro International Grant will offer up to $60,000 to hopeful filmmakers for the opportunity to study abroad at a renowned film school.

Inspiring younger generations of artists is important to the director, who dedicated his Oscar win for Best Picture to “every young filmmaker” watching. “[Those] who are showing us how things are done in every country in the world. I was a kid enamored with movies,” he said during his acceptance speech.

“I thought that this could never happen. It happened. And I want to tell you, everyone that is dreaming of using the genre of fantasy to tell the stories about the things that are real in the world today, you can do it! This is a door. Kick it open and come in!”

Following the ceremony on March 4, Del Toro revealed he was heading home to Mexico to see his parents “with these two babies,” he said, gesturing to his Academy Awards. Since then, the director has fulfilled a longtime promise to return to Mexico to open a theater in his name and offer a free masterclass, which filled immediately with 30,000 requests for entry in less than 30 minutes. “If we change a life, if we change a history, we change a generation,” the Oscar-winner said during his masterclass.