These Are the Must-See Movies at FICG in LA, the Guadalajara Film Festival’s Hollywood Takeover

Lead Photo: 'Santa y Andres' still courtesy of Toronto Film Festival
'Santa y Andres' still courtesy of Toronto Film Festival
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Growing consistently every year since its inception, the Guadalajara International Film Festival in Los Angeles (FICG in LA) returns to the TCL Chinese theatres in the heart of Hollywood for its seventh edition this month. The 4-day showcase continues to be one of the premier presenters of Latin American cinema in the city, and this year the lineup features star-studded movies in genres across the board.

Salma Hayek will inaugurate the festivities as the lead in the Opening Night short film 11th Hour from Irish filmmaker Jim Sheridan, set on 9/11. The Oscar-nominated actress plays a bar owner who shelters panicked New Yorkers as the tragic day unfolds. Stuck, the feature presentation, stars Mexican comedian Omar Chaparro, as one of five strangers whose paths intertwine, alongside Ashanti and Giancarlo Esposito.

Late documentarian Eugenio Polgovsky, who passed away in August, will be honored for his acclaimed body of work and contributions to non-fiction storytelling. Kate del Castillo, Voces inocentes director Luis Mandoki, and Cuban-born actress Maria Conchita Alonso will also receive awards for their significant careers in entertainment.

Controversial Cuban drama Santa y Andres by Carlos Lechuga – which was banned on the island for its critical political views – will screen on Friday, November 3. The Argentine immigrant story Nobody’s Watching, directed by Julia Solomonoff, will have its LA Premiere during the festival following a successful theatrical run in New York earlier this year. Closing out the second night, Everardo González’s solemn and haunting doc, Devil’s Freedom offers first-hand accounts, from both victims and perpetrators, of the horrors that have plagued Mexico due to the drug war.

Danny Trejo, always game for whatever random narrative is thrown his way, brings campy horror to the FICG in LA in Luis Iga’s Murder in Woods. Teenagers, dark secrets, a cabin the woods, and Trejo himself are the key ingredients in this indie bloodbath.

Proving the ample variety of tones included in this outpost of Guadalajara’s most important film event, the highly anticipated animated vision, Ana and Bruno by Carlos Carrera (whose film El crimen del padre Amaro was nominated for an Oscar) will also screen on Saturday, November 4. It took a lot of persistence from Carreras to being this project about a young girl and his fantastical friend to fruition. This CG production is one of the most ambitious animated projects ever made in Mexico.

FICG in LA runs November 2 – 5, 2017.