MEXICO CITY — “Santa & Andrés,” “Devil’s Freedom” and “Woodpeckers” divvied up many of the top awards at a 32nd edition of Mexico’s Guadalajara Film Festival, the country’s biggest film event, which registered the full impact of two global phenomena: Indignation at the strictures of U.S. President Donald Trump against immigrants; the energizing force of digital platforms.
The first feature to be picked up by a sales agent at last October’s Morelia Festival, where it screened in rough-cut, Everardo Gonzalez’s “Devil’s Freedom” confirmed buzz and strong critical support from the Berlin Festival by taking pretty well every major plaudit it was eligible for, including the Mezcal Prize for best Mexican film and best Ibero-American documentary.
A harrowing documentary account of the devastating psychological and emotional damage of Mexico’s drug wars via interviews with masked victims and victimizers, “Devil’s Freedom” typified at the highest level a festival whose standout titles in selection, some prizes, turned on the devastating challenges, social, political and civil, still facing Latin America.
Carlos Lechuga’s “Santa & Andres,” a fiction feature about the gradual binding across the political divide between a gay novelist under house arrest and the revolutionary peasant woman sent to make sure he didn’t stray out of line, won both Best Ibero-American Fiction Feature and actress. Prizes prove a show of support, whether intended or not, for a movie which has been yanked from competition at the Havana Film Festival New York after pressure from Cuba’s ICAIC Film Institute.
An ode to the resilience of the human spirit, and a terrible indictment of the horrific conditions in Dominican jails, Jose Maria Cabrales’ “Woodpeckers,” acquired in a bidding war at Ventana Sur by Film Factory, won a Special Jury Prize and best actor in the Ibero-American section for Jean Jean.
Selected for Sundance, “Woodpeckers” goes far beyond social issue drama in a penitentiary-set romance play out against a background of psychotic machismo and God-awful corrective facilities: “Welcome to Vietnam,” says one con of the most notorious penitentiary.
Best actor in Ibero-American Fiction Feature went to “I Dream in Another Language,” Ernesto Contreras’ thought-provoking Sundance Audience winner, “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” a depiction of a family at breaking point from Mexican film school CCC alum José Ramón Chávez and most notably, perhaps, Sofía Gómez Córdoba’s “The Blue Years,” the flagship for a building Guadalajara film scene which already boasts a strong animation output.
32ND GUADALAJARA FESTIVAL, MARCH 10-17, 2017
IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE AWARDS:
BEST IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE
“Santa y Andrés,” (Carlos Lechuga, Cuba, Colombia, France)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE
“Woodpeckers,” ( José María Cabral, Dominican Republic, United States)
BEST DIRECTOR , IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE
Joel Calero, (“One Last Afternoon”)
BEST ACTRESS, IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE
Lola Amores, (“Santa y Andrés”)
BEST ACTOR, IBERO-AMERICAN FICTION FEATURE
Jean Jean, (“Woodpeckers”)
MEZCAL PRIZE, BEST MEXICAN FILM
“Devil’s Freedom,” (Everardo González)
“Help Me Make it Through the Night,” (José Ramón Chávez, Mexico)
MEZCAL PRIZE, BEST DIRECTOR
Sofía Gómez Córdoba, (“The Blue Years”)
MEZCAL PRIZE, BEST ACTOR
José Manuel Poncelis and Eligio Meléndez, (“I Dream in Another Language”)
MEZCAL PRIZE, BEST ACTRESS
Paloma Domínguez, (“The Blue Years”)
MEZCAL PRIZE, CINEMATOGRAPHY
María Secco (“Devil’s Freedom”)
Carlos Lechuga (“Santa & Andrés”)
BEST FILM, MAGUEY PRIZE
“Body Electric,” (Marcelo Caetano, Brasil)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, MAGUEY PRIZE
“Santa y Andrés,” (Carlos Lechug, Cuba, Colombia, France)
MAGUEY PRIZE, BEST ACTING
Jella Haase, (“Looping”)
“Devil’s Freedom,” (Everardo González)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, IBERO-AMERICAN DOCUMENTARY
“Adriana’s Pact,” (Lissette Orozco, Chile)
RIGO MORA PRIZE. BEST MEXICAN ANIMATION SHORT
“Cerulia,” (Sofía Carrillo)
“Aya,” (Francesca Canepa Sarmiento)
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, IBERO-AMERICAN SHORT
“Lucha: Fight, Wrestle, Struggle,” (Eddie Rubio, Mexico)