Did you know Mexico is currently one of the hotspots of global film production? While American audiences have probably heard of big shots like Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro, few are aware that the country continually represents in some of the most important film festivals in both Europe and North America. In fact, when local filmmakers took home back-to-back Best Director awards at Cannes in 2012 and 2013, Mexico entered an elite club that includes only the U.S., France, and the USSR.

While Mexico has always been a cultural powerhouse, some of the credit for this success must be given to the country’s world-class film school, the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC), which was recently rated by the Hollywood Reporter as one of the 25 best films school in the world. With two Student Academy Awards and a Cannes Palme D’Or to its credit, it seems there’s something in the water over at the CCC campus. For those of us wanting to know what they’re doing so right, the CCC has done us the favor of making some of their students’ award-winning short films available for streaming on their Youtube channel.

Here’s a roundup of the highlights.


 

Don Sabás
Juan Manuel Zúñiga, 2012

A touching, simple story about an old widower who finds himself caring for a neighbor’s son when she leaves suddenly to the United States. A tender relationship develops between the two, but when the the child’s mother unexpectedly returns to town their idyll is abruptly cut short. The short’s breathtaking landscape cinematography is of particular note.


 

La madre
Ernesto Martínez Bucio, 2012

How far will a mother go to protect her children? La madre kicks off in high gear when a mother discovers her adolescent children desperately washing blood from their clothes. Upon learning that they’ve killed a man, she goes to great lengths to ensure they have enough money to flee town. But when she discovers that they are harboring a secret, La madre makes a difficult choice that draws the line on exactly how far she will go.


 

La habitación
Sebastián Quintanilla, 2011

A wonderfully economic short that packs in a lot of heavy emotions, La habitación tells the story of young woman who beats her dog in an uncharacteristic fit of rage, leaving her wracked with guilt. When her husband leaves for a business trip, she is left alone to face the weight of her decision.


 

Al fondo
Pablo Giles, 2012

A depressed widower lives an aimless existence on his rural estate. When his daughter comes to visit and proposes he sell the house, he must decide between his own suffering and his love for his family.