5th Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival

México, February 19 - March 2 2008

Awarded films

In its fifth year, the Mexico International Contemporary Film Festival (FICCO) has forged an important sponsorship relationship with Mexico’s theatre chain, Cinemex, allowing for a doubling of the number of film programs from previous years (several hundred choices) and for the Festival to spread across huge Mexico City. The Festival is now called FICCO Cinemex, and films were shown in four different Cinemex multiplexes, including the flagship theatres within Mexico City’s World Trade Center.

The ambitiousness of FICCO paid off in 2008. There was a thorough, very impressive selection of recent Latin American documentaries and features. Thinking locally, FICCO offered a Mexican digital section of young, talented filmmakers. Conceiving globally, FICCO provided an extraordinary group of retrospectives, almost too much for enthusiastic cinephiles to take in. Mexico City audiences were treated to major showings of the oeuvres of Frederick Wiseman, Aki Kaurismäki, Maurice Pialat, Carl Theodor Dreyer. And let’s not forget an important section featuring the movies of the New Philippine Cinema.

Special guests of the Festival, Harmony Korine and the Armenian team of Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, were happily surprised with books about their works commissioned, and paid for, by FICCO. (The editor of the two volumes is Chiara Arroyo Cella, a member of this year’s FIPRESCI jury.)

All in all: a very fine (and very friendly) festival, a tribute to director Paula Astorgo Riestra, also the founder of FICCO, and her energetic, very youthful programmers, Michel Lipkes and Maximiliano Cruz. And for visitors to Mexico City, there are countless things to do outside of the fest, from seeing Diego Rivers murals, to the homes of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky, to visiting Aztec pyramids.

At FICCO 2008, FIPRESCI provided a three-person jury: Chiara Arroyo Cella, Spain/Mexico; Diego Trerotola, Argentina; Gerald Peary, USA. The jury chose winners in two categories. Santa Fe Street (Calle Santa Fe) (Chile-France-Belgium), directed by Carmen Castillo, was Best Latin American Documentary. Intimates of Shakespeare and Victor Hugo (Intimades de Shakespeare y Victor Hugo, Mexico), directed by Yulene Olaizola, was Best Mexican Documentary. (Gerald Peary)