In Case You Missed It, Recap of the Morelia Film Festival

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Twitter: @infoCinelandia

For the eleventh year in a row the colonial city of Morelia in the Mexican state of Michoacan played host to a world class film festival, the Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia (FICM). More than just a showcase of local cineastes the fest brings premieres of big international films to Mexican audiences.

The festival opened with the box office hit Gravity, highlighting Mexico’s infiltration of Hollywood and closed with Ridley Scott‘s The Counselor. Like all things in vogue, the ten day celebration continues to draw star power. Celebrity sightings in Morelia this year included Alfonso Cuaron, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Danny Trejo, Edward James Olmos, Diego Luna, John Sayles, and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

If you are like us and couldn’t attend FICM this year here is the next best thing: behind the scenes stories and celebrity run-ins from a few of our friends who were actually there.

Film critic and blogger Michael Guillen attended FICM for the first time. He shares his red carpet observations:

I’m not really a party kind of guy at film festivals, but did enjoy the opening night red carpet for Gravity and was impressed with Alfonso Cuarón’s generosity to his fanbase. He willingly signed autographs and allowed himself to be photobombed a hundred times with no reluctance or complaint.

And his popcorn observations:

I’ve noted that — whereas American movie theaters smell of buttered popcorn — Morelia’s Cinépolis smells of pickled jalapeño peppers and enchilada-flavored popcorn (I kid you not).

Jim Mendiola, Director of CineFestival and Artist in Residence at University of Texas at Austin was also at FICM for the first time. He explains the festival venue set up:

The setting for the festival takes place all within a 10 block radius of the main plaza in Morelia, giving you an intimate and convenient access to the films, venues, and filmmakers.

And how the intimate setting can lead to a Diego Luna sighting:

One morning I was enjoying a relaxing breakfast at a cafe under the 200 year old portales overlooking the plaza. There I was sipping coffee, eating my huevos a la mexicana and reading the film reviews from the night’s previous films in the Michoacan section of La Jornada. All of a sudden Diego Luna and his entourage sit at the table to my left. Next thing you know people started coming up to him with abrazos and handshakes, fans suddenly appear with iPhone cameras posing with the star, cars are stopping in the street to see what’s up. My relaxing morning was over. But it was OK. Diego was great with everyone. Smiles all around. People laughing. Talking about movies. Just another typical moment at Morelia 2013.

Claudia Norman, Founder and Director of the New York-based Mexican art and culture festival Celebrate México Now had her own run-in with a celebrity: Quentin Tarantino.

The first day that Tarantino went to the theater in Morelia it turned into a huge commotion. I was walking and all of a sudden on the corner, he gets out of a car and everyone went running towards him. I was able to pass by without a problem and went into the theater but didn’t know which screening room I was supposed to be in. I was standing in a totally empty hallway and heard a huge commotion, behind me they were holding back thousands of journalists and fans. All off a sudden I bump into Tarantino himself, with a huge smile, and his bodyguards. Together we all walked to screening room number 5 at Cinepolis in Morelia (which now carries his name). The movie we saw was La Zandunga (1937) by Fernando de Fuentes.

The Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia sounds like it was tons of fun. But, let’s not forget the films. Closing night was a chance to hand out awards, here are the winners…

Best Film: Workers, José Luis Valle

Best Documentary: El cuarto desnudo, Nuria Ibáñez

Audience Award and Best First Film: La jaula de oro, Diego Quemada-Diez