RiverRun Film Fest starts tomorrow with Mexican flavour

20/04/2010 at 11:24 pm Leave a comment

This year’s RiverRun International Film Festival – which starts Tomorrow in Winston-Salem — will live up to the “international” part of its title by putting a spotlight on Mexican movies.

Andrew Rodgers, the festival’s director, said that for the 2010 festival, organizers wanted to include a “curated sidebar,” with experts introducing each of the films and discussing their importance.

“We’ve had a longstanding connection to the Mexican filmmaking community,” Rodgers said, “and we’ve had a number of Mexican directors come through here.”

Thanks to those connections, he said, festival organizers “realized that we knew enough people in the Mexican film industry to provide a lot of curatorial assistance in selecting the films.”

What cinched the deal was the fact that 2010 is the Año de la Patria (Year of the Nation) for Mexico, celebrating both the 200th anniversary of Mexican Independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.

Organizers consulted with filmmakers and film historians both in the United States and Mexico. They also reached out to such groups as the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington and IMCINE, a film organization in Mexico, and sent a representative to last year’s Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico.

“We ended up with a lot of lists that we used as a starting point, then started trying to find 35 mm prints for all the films we wanted,” Rodgers said.

They selected six classics, from 1944’s Maria Candelaria to 2001’s Y Tu Mama Tambien, to be part of a “Spotlight on Mexican Cinema” during the festival.

One of the films in the spotlight is 1950’s Los Olvidados from director Luis Bunuel, which has gained acclaim for its unflinching portrayal of children struggling to survive in the slums of Mexico City. “It was very daring for its time,” Suarez said. “It carries so much historic value…. It keeps its value regardless of how much the city changes.”

The festival will also include a more recent Mexican film, 2009’s Norteado, as part of its narrative-feature competition, as well as some short films.

“All the films we are showing this year are exemplary in their own ways,” Rodgers said, “and each film has a story about its particular significance to Mexican film culture…. There is a real vibrancy and life to Mexican cinema, and a real ability to deal with difficult or taboo subjects in a compelling way.”

Rodgers said that the festival has worked with members of the Mexican community here (including Flores Vizcarra) and in Mexico to promote the festival and bring it to the attention of the local Mexican population.

One of the people involved in that promotion is Maria Sanchez-Boudy, the executive director of the Hispanic Arts Initiative in Winston-Salem. This organization helps the film festival and other funded members of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County attract more of the Hispanic community to their events. And it acts as a kind of clearinghouse for Hispanic artists whom funded members can employ at various functions.

Sourced from: http://www.journalnow.com


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