Mexico City Film Festival in danger
Mexico City Film Festival in danger, PR rep says February/March event is off.
The seventh edition of the popular Mexico City Contemporary Film Festival, dubbed Ficco, has been canceled only weeks before it was set to bow, according to a PR firm that works with the fest, Burson-Marsteller Mexico.
With the capital plastered in posters promoting the event, rumors began to flurry mid-to-late last week that the festival was in hot water as staffers were quietly told they were going to be out of a job. Then last Friday, the festival contacted BM Mexico to tell them it was over and to expect an official announcement this upcoming Friday.
Although festival’s organizers have yet to respond to calls, Alberto Diaz, a rep for BM Mexico, confirmed those details Monday night.
Heavy on international pics that have no local distrib, the festival tended to please crowds but be light on industry impact — ultimately unable to attract many buyers or foster major deals, despite noble if uneven efforts to build it up as a major venue for new indie Mexican cinema.
Ficco has faced a number of further challenges in recent years, most notably the departure of much of its original executive and programming staff in September 2008, following the lead of then-director Paula Astorga.
At that time, Astorga spoke to the local media citing creative differences with chief sponsor Cinemex, a leading Mexican exhibition chain.
Ficco’s new director Raquel Cajiga managed to pull off the sixth edition last year, but with a marked decline from the fest’s 2008 peak of 263 films and 80,000 ticket buyers, to 180 pics and only 10,000 spectators last year.
Last November, Cajiga held a presser to count a litany of events scheduled for the festival to take place between February 24 and March 7, including: unspooling 150 features, holding a retrospective to indie Mexican filmmaking from the 60s and 70s, presenting workshops run by the Mexican Film Institute, Imcine, and later taking the shows on the road to 10 states in Mexico — much like the road show that thesps Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal have put on with their doc fest Ambulante, which also runs next month.
While the list for features and documentaries in competition were not released, the festival received entries from July to October and listed prizes available in a number of categories, consisting largely of film transfer, editing equipment and gear rental — a step down from the larger cash prizes seen in past editions.
With what may be the demise of Ficco, Mexico City’s 20 million or so residents are left without a large, competitive film festival to call their own with the exception of doc-only Ambulante.
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