Morelia Film Festival Highlights Mexican Indigenous Women Filmmakers

Jamie Lang

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This year’s Morelia Intl. Film Festival (FICM), with support from a FilmWatch scholarship awarded by the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will host a Mexican Indigenous Filmmakers: Identity and New Narratives forum for women directors.

Issues such as diversity, identity, gender equity, inclusion and broader topics such as the challenges of film production, perspective, theme and narrative forms will be discussed over the forum’s two-day program, running Oct 22 and 23.

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The forum also received support from the Metropolitan Autonomous University – Cuajimalpa Unit and the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (Imcine).

Each morning will kick off with conversations dedicated to analysis and collective reflection, followed by afternoon exhibitions of relevant work from or about indigenous peoples, attended by the filmmakers.

“We want to encourage reflection on what it means to be an indigenous filmmaker today in Mexico,” said event coordinator and screenwriter Marina Stavenhagen. “What are the stories they tell? What access do they have to the means of production, to the screens, to the public? What is their role as creative women in the context of their community?”

“We have invited contemporary filmmakers who work in close contact with their communities, and whose cinematographic proposals have to do with those worlds. They are women with distinct voices whose works demonstrate a clear intention,” she added.

Four features and six shorts make up the slate of films participating at the event, all from the last decade and many of which played in competition at past editions of FICM. Three of the four features were showcased by itinerant doc festival Ambulante.

Ingrid Eunice Fabián González will screen her 2016 feature “People of Wind and Sea,” the story of two communities of the Tehuantepec Isthmus: Álvaro Obregón – a fishing community, and La Venta – a farming community, both of which are threatened by large wind power enterprises. Fabián González studied at the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) as part of the Imágenes en movimiento (Moving Images) project.

Dinazar Urbina Mata studied Social Communication at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, and in 2017 released her feature documentary “We are Always Walking,” which will screen Tuesday. The film follows Alberta, Julia and Catalina, three Chatina women forced to move to the coast of Oaxaca to find work. There they experience intense discrimination.

María Sojob is a Tsotsil filmmaker who has been working in AV production for a decade. She studied at the Autonomous University of Chiapas before enrolling in a master’s program at the University of Chile’s Institute of Communications and Image. In addition to the indigenous filmmakers’ sidebar, her feature “Tote/Abuelo” plays in the documentary competition. In it, Sojob reflects on the generational and cultural gaps within her own family.

Another film in competition, Luna Maran’s debut feature “Tio Yim” (“Uncle Yim”) is the story of her father, Jaime Martínez Luna, a singer-songwriter and philosopher from the Sierra de Juárez region who has, since the ‘80s, worked to educate outsiders on the the ways of life of Mexico’s indigenous communities. Originally from Guelatao, Oaxaca, and a graduate of the University of Guadalajara, Maran is a producer, director, cinematographer, exhibitor and cultural manager who, since 2011, has worked to establish her native Guelatao as an important national reference for audiovisual training and exhibition from a community and social perspective.

Several filmmakers will bring shorts, many of which have participated in various sections in past editions of the fest. Actress-turned-filmmaker Ángeles Cruz brings “Arcángel,” Yolanda Cruz will screen her 2009 documentary short “Reencuentros: 2501 migrantes,” Magda Cacari – “Kárapani Tsínharhini,” María Candelaria Palma Marcelino – “Rojo,” Dolores Santiz “Pox, la bebida sagrada” and Iris Belén Villalpando López – “Yolem Jammut.”

 

2019 Mexican Indigenous Filmmakers: Identity and New Narratives Titles

Feature Films

“Tote/Abuelo,” (2019, María Sojob)

“Tío Yim,” (2019, Luna Marán)

“We Are Always Walking,” (2017, Dinazar Urbina Mata)

“People of Wind and Sea,” (2016, Ingrid Eunice Fabián González)

Short Films

“Arcángel,” (2018, Ángeles Cruz)

“Reencuentros: 2051 migrantes,” (2009, Yolanda Cruz)

“Kárapani Tsínharhini,” (2018, Magda Cacari)

“Rojo,” (2019, María Candelaria Palma Marcelino)

“Pox, la bebida sagrada” (Dolores Santiz)

“Yolem Jammut,” (2017, Iris Belén Villalpando López)

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