After finishing up a world tour with stops in New York, Panama and Havana, Central America’s prestigious Festival Ícaro is finally back in its home territory of Guatemala and gearing up for its upcoming 2014 edition. With announced venues is Guatemala City, Antigua and Quetzaltenango, the festival will run from November 19-20 and feature a highly anticipated lineup of locally produced features, shorts and documentaries. The festival’s biggest announcement came just yesterday when the folks at Ícaro revealed their opening night film, OVNIS en Zacapa.
Made by the eccentric filmmaking collective Best Picture System — who made waves around the region a few years back with Puro Mula — OVNIS en Zacapa stands out for its unusual genre mash up that’s been concisely summed up as “Sci-Fi Comedy Narco Thriller.” It follows a frustrated college professor who teams up with the TV crew of a sensationalist reality show in order to find out why a small town in northeastern Guatemala has been reporting UFO sightings. The trailer gives us a good sense of the feature’s over-the-top aesthetic, popular comedy, and tongue-in-cheek genre appropriations, all of which hark back to the tight-knit collective’s stated mission of making films for the enjoyment of Latin American audiences.
It’s a bold stance in a region whose films tend to favor the tastes of international film festivals over that of local audiences. Now we’ll have to wait and see if that same international festival circuit likes OVNIS enough to bring this gem of regionalist filmmaking up to El Norte for us to enjoy sometime soon.