This is without a doubt one of the glorious times for Mexican cinema. Film production is at its highest point since the years of what is known as the Golden Age of Mexican cinema (1936 - 1959), with the creation of around 120 films per year in all different genres and recognition in the most prestigious film festivals around the world. Even though Mexican audiences have not yet fully embraced their cinema (the attendance for Mexican films is not even near that of Hollywood productions), there have been exceptions and some Mexican films have broken box office records.


The support from the Mexican government through Mexico’s Film Institute (IMCINE) to produce and promote films is outstanding in comparison to most film institutes in the region. Mexican cinema is largely produced with financial support from the State (around 80% of feature-length films have received some sort of support), and IMCINE undertakes the important role of promoting the films they help to produce.


The selection of Mexican cinema at the festival this year is varied and substantial, and is representative of what Mexican cinema is today and a sample of how it has evolved over the last decades. The highly acclaimed film Güeros (winning top prizes at the Berlin and San Sebastián film festivals, as well as the prize for Best Film at the Mexican Academy Awards) will be the Opening Night Film. The Mexico-Dominican Republic co-production, Sand Dollars (Dólares de arena), for which Geraldine Chaplin has won numerous Best Actress awards, will be the Closing Night Film.


Along with the five Mexican films in competition (two features and three shorts), VLAFF will present several special screenings. Monica del Carmen will be in attendance to introduce Leap Year (Año bisiesto), for which she won the Mexican Academy Award for Best Actress in 2011. Director Luis Urquiza and producer Lourdes García will be in attendance to present their dramatic feature, Perfect Obedience (Obediencia perfecta), which provoked much controversy when it was released in theatres in Mexico last year. We are also presenting two films that two of the greatest film artists of the past century—Canadian-born cinematographer Alex Phillips and Spanish-born director Luis Buñuel—made together in Mexico in the 1950s.


As part of the Indigenous Film from BC & Beyond program, we will showcase short films from Indigenous filmmakers from Mexico alongside films from Aboriginal filmmakers from Canada. This program is organized in partnership with the Campamento Audiovisual Itinerante (CAI) in Oaxaca and the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto.


To top off the Mexico Guest Country programming, we are happy to present a retrospective of three of the iconic films of director Juan Antonio de la Riva, best known for films that represent the life and customs of the people living in the Sierra Mountains of Durango in northern Mexico. In addition to an extensive film career as a director, Juan Antonio de la Riva has also served as president of the Mexican Film Academy of Motion Pictures and is an expert in the history of Mexican cinema.


The Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is honoured to welcome Mexico as the Guest Country for 2015.


Opening Night Film

Güeros (Mexico) – dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios


Closing Night Film

Sand Dollars (Dólares de arena) (Dominican Republic-Mexico) – dir. Laura Amelia Guzmán & Israel Cárdenas


New Directors Competition

I Stay with You (Me quedo contigo) (Mexico) – dir. Artemio

Natural Philosophy of Love (Filosofía natural del amor) (Mexico) – dir. Sebastián Hiriart


Shorts in Competition

Ulterior – dir. Sabrina Muhate

Trembling (Trémulo) – dir. Roberto Fiesco

Take the gun and finish off (Tome la pistola y comience a despachar) – dir. Eduardo Sabugal


Panorama of Latin American Cinema

González: The False Prophet (González: Falsos profetas) (Mexico) – dir. Christian Díaz

The Hamsters (Los Hámsters) (Mexico) – dir. Gil González


Mexico Guest Country: Special Presentations

Retrospective: Juan Antonio de la Riva (Mexico)


Luis Buñuel and Alex Phillips in Mexico

Perfect Obedience (Obediencia perfecta) (Mexico) – dir. Luis Urquiza
Leap Year (Año bisiesto) (Mexico) – dir. Michael Rowe

Canada Looks South
Juanicas (Canada/Mexico) dir. Karina García Casanova

Indigenous Film from Mexico

Ca Dxi rididi (Time Goes By)

The following five shorts were completed during the first, second and third editions of the Campamento Audiovisual Itinerante in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Greetings from a Magical Village (Saludos desde un Pueblo Mágico)
Tawä’äktäjk (For Walking) (Para el andar)
Medicine (Jarabe)
Take 20 (Rodada 20)
Glances (Miradas)