Tucson Cine Mexico, a partnership between The University of Arizona Hanson FilmTV Institute and New York-based Cinema Tropical, has announced the 2019 festival program. Highlights include the U.S. Premiere of Beto Gómez’ romantic comedy Cinderelo and this year’s Jaguar Award-winning La camarista (The Chambermaid), from director-actor-dramatist Lila Avilés. The festival will run from March 27-31, with an Opening Night Party and talks at the Tucson Museum of Art, and screenings at the Center for Creative Photography and Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18. All films are in Spanish with English subtitles. As always, Tucson Cine Mexico events are free.
More than half of the films in this year’s festival lineup are directed by women. Alejandra Márquez Abella directs Las niñas bien (The Good Girls), making its Arizona Premiere at the festival on March 29. Hailed by Variety as one of this year’s “10 Directors to Watch” alongside Bradley Cooper and Alonso Ruizpalacios (Güeros), Márquez Abella’s film stars Ilse Salas (Güeros, Cantinflas) in a portrait of a wealthy woman’s social decay. Lila Avilés makes her acclaimed film debut with La camarista (The Chambermaid), based on her own play La Camarera. Focusing on a maid (Gabriela Cartol) working in a luxury Mexico City hotel, La camarista is the winner of the Tucson Cine Mexico 2019 Jaguar Award for Outstanding Directorial Debut. Internationally acclaimed photographer Maya Goded directs her first documentary Plaza de la Soledad, screening March 28 at the Center for Creative Photography. And Mexico’s best-known woman director María Novaro directs Tesoros(Treasures), a sweet children’s story closing the festival at the family-friendly time of 2pm on Sunday March 31.
This year for the first time, Tucson Cine Mexico committee members will bestow the Ocelot Award for Outstanding Documentary. The Award will be announced during the festival.
Co-director/Co-programmer Vicky Westover: “Over the past 15 years we have built a mixed, diverse and enthusiastic audience, and our eclectic selection of films this year, which includes documentaries, dramas, a romantic comedy, and a family film, serves that audience. Several of the films this year, including Mamacita, Las niñas bien/The Good Girls; Xquip’ Guie’dani/Guie’dani’s Navel; and La camarista/The Chambermaid, reflect a concern with class in Mexican society, and these films further the conversation about servitude that Roma moved to the forefront, but they deal with the issue of class in a significantly different way. In addition to programming films that show the great variety of work being made in Mexico, Tucson Cine Mexico includes indigenous people and stories on the screen to more fully reflect Mexican society. One of the films in this year’s line-up that does this in a powerful way in Guie’dani’s Navel, and we are delighted that director Xavi Sala will be with us to engage in what we expect will be a vibrant post screening discussion with the audience.”
The festival’s full event schedule is outlined below. All events are free. All films are in Spanish or Indigenous languages with English subtitles.
WEDNESDAY MARCH 27, 6pm-9pm, Tucson Museum of Art
OPENING NIGHT PARTY and A CONVERSATION WITH PRODUCER MARTHA SOSA ELIZONDO
In person: Producer Martha Sosa Elizondo
The 16th edition of Tucson Cine Mexico, the United States’ longest-running festival of Mexican film, kicks off at 6pm at the Tucson Museum of Art with fiesta food and drinks. At 6:45pm in the lobby area, Festival Co-Director Carlos Gutiérrez moderates “Nurturing New Film Talent,” a conversation with guest filmmaker Martha Sosa Elizondo. Martha, an Emmy-winning producer of such trailblazing films as Alejandro González Iñarritu’s Amores Perros and the multiple award-winning documentary Presumed Guilty, recently produced Plaza de la Soledad – screening for the first time in Arizona at Tucson Cine Mexico on March 28. After the Conversation, head to the patio for music by guest DJ Humblelianess and dance the night away. While there, attendees also have the option to view the cosmic works of contemporary Cuban artist Carlos Estévez, the Museum’s feature exhibition.
THURSDAY MARCH 28, 5:30pm, Center for Creative Photography
Arizona Premiere: MAMACITA
Director José Pablo Estrada Torrescano unearths family secrets in his debut feature Mamacita. When the aspiring director went to study film abroad, his grandmother made him promise to return to Mexico one day to make a film about her life. Little did he know that his film would unearth secrets, lies and deceptions affecting five generations of a high society Mexican family. Mamacita, José Pablo’s grandmother, is an extravagant Mexican beauty queen living in her own kingdom with her loyal servants: gardener, chauffeur, chef, housekeeper and nurses. The 95-year-old lady has turned her house into a castle, hiding the open wounds of a prominent Mexican upper class family behind its stone walls. José Pablo conquers his granny’s empire like a Trojan horse, discovering the haunted spirits of his own past and the reason for the lack of love that his entire clan has suffered from for generations.
THURSDAY MARCH 28, 7:30pm, Center for Creative Photography
Arizona Premiere: PLAZA DE LA SOLEDAD
In person: Producer Martha Sosa Elizondo
Internationally acclaimed photographer Maya Goded makes a promising film debut with Plaza de la Soledad, a moving continuation of her photography work in La Merced neighborhood in Mexico City, where prostitution has been present since the days of the Aztecs. “Beautiful, respectful, and celebratory” (Film Comment) and winner of the Cinema Tropical Award for Best Latin American Documentary, the film follows four strong women—middle-aged and older—who want to break a vicious circle that began with abuse and abandonment suffered from an early age. Carmen, Lety, Raquel, and Esther aspire for a better life, and Goded’s poignant lens follows their quest to find true love, their capacity to transform themselves, and above all, their resilience and solidarity.
FRIDAY MARCH 29, 6:00pm, Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18
Arizona Premiere: XQUIPI’ GUIE’DANI / GUIE’DANI’S NAVEL
In person: Director Xavi Sala
Directed by Catalan-born filmmaker Xavi Sala, this incisive portrait of racism and classism follows young Zapotec Guie’dani, who moves from her Oaxacan village to Mexico City when her mother takes a job as a live-in maid for a wealthy family. Defiant and morose, Guie’dani abhors their new roles in service. Everything changes when she meets Claudia, a rebellious girl with whom she becomes close friends. Newcomer Sótera Cruz brings razor-sharp intensity to her portrayal of a girl determined to fight for her dignity.
FRIDAY MARCH 29, 9:15PM, Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18
Arizona Premiere: LAS NIÑAS BIEN / THE GOOD GIRLS
Based on Guadalupe Loaeza’s satiric and iconic 1985 bestseller of the same name, Alejandra Márquez Abella’s second film is a portrait of the always charming, perfect and spoiled Sofia, the queen bee of her group of friends, who faces the unimaginable – her social decay. It’s 1982 and a big economic crisis is hitting Mexico. Sofia will have to maintain appearances but her fall is not only inevitable, it will acknowledge what is lost when the money is gone. Starring an impressive ensemble cast including Ilse Salas (Güeros, Museo), Cassandra Ciangherotti (Time Share, Cantinflas), and Paulina Gaitán (Sin Nombre), The Good Girls is a poignant snapshot of the decadent Mexican bourgeoisie of the early eighties.
SATURDAY MARCH 30, 6:00pm, HARKINS TUCSON SPECTRUM 18
Arizona Premiere ahead of U.S. Theatrical Release: LA CAMARISTA / THE CHAMBERMAID
In person: Cinematographer and Executive Producer Carlos Rossini
A poignant and delicate class portrait, The Chambermaid follows Eve—played by the wonderful Gabriela Cartol (I Dream in Another Language)—a young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City, who confronts the monotony of long workdays with quiet examinations of forgotten belongings and budding friendships that nourish her newfound and determined dream for a better life. Inspired by the filmmaker’s own theater play of the same name—in turn inspired by Sophie Calle’s 1980 artistic project “The Hotel,” in which the French artist worked as a chambermaid in a Venice hotel—The Chambermaid is a standout among a thriving new generation of Mexican and Latin American women filmmakers. With impeccable cinematography, a near-documentary eye, and a humanistic gaze, the film signals director Lila Avilés as a talent to watch.
SATURDAY MARCH 30, 9:00pm, HARKINS TUCSON SPECTRUM 18
U.S. Premiere: CINDERELO
In person: Director Beto Gómez
Beto Gómez’ screwball comedy Cinderelo follows Marlon Flores (the wonderful Miguel Rodarte), a talented photographer with an amazing ability to highlight anyone’s inner beauty, but not his own. His ugliness attracts the rejection and ridicule of all women, except his assistant Maria, who can see him for what he really is. Tired of constant contempt, he unexpectedly encounters his fairy godfather (Joaquín Cosío, Narcos: Mexico, Me gusta pero me asusta, The Thin Yellow Line), a mysterious man who casts a spell on him, transforming him into an irresistible hunk named Brando (William Levy). The catch? It’s only in effect at night. With the help of his best friend Felix, Marlon turns the handsome Brando into the most coveted man in the city. But can you find true love with a double identity?
SUNDAY MARCH 31, 11:00am, TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART
Mexican Cinema Under Neoliberalism: A Conversation with Filmmaker Carlos Rossini on the Intersection of Film and Politics in the 21st Century
Mexico is currently going through a profound political transformation. Last year’s crushing electoral win of Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the new president of Mexico signaled the end of an era marked by neoliberalism policies that were implanted in Mexico since the eighties. Join us for a conversation with director-producer Carlos Rossini (The Chambermaid, The Mayor) on the intersection of Mexican cinema and politics in the new century, how neoliberalist policies shaped the narratives and modes of production south of the border, and what is currently at stake in Mexican cinema with the change in the federal government.
SUNDAY MARCH 31, 2:00pm, HARKINS TUCSON SPECTRUM 18
Arizona Premiere: TESOROS / TREASURES
Written and directed by veteran filmmaker María Novaro (Danzón, Leaving No Trace) and set in a palm-fringed fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, this tale follows young siblings Dylan and Andrea as they embark on a search for lost pirate treasure left centuries ago by Francis Drake. Guided by their own intelligence and curiosity, the children chart the limestone islands off the coast, and find something much more valuable than a treasure chest. A sweet and optimistic film from Mexico’s best-known woman director.
Tucson Cine Mexico’s website www.tucsoncinemexico.org is the source for all festival event details and free tickets.
Screening Information: The 2019 Tucson Cine Mexico screenings and talk will take place across three venues in Tucson including the Center for Creative Photography (1030 N Olive Rd, Tucson 85719), Harkins Tucson Spectrum 18 (5455 S Calle Santa Cruz, Tucson 85706), and the Tucson Museum of Art & Historic Block. Tickets are free and open to all. Advance tickets are now available at www.tucsoncinemexico.org. Note that tickets do not guarantee seats. Seating will be available to ticket holders on a first-come first-served basis. Patrons are encouraged to arrive early to secure seats. Tickets are not required, but ticket holders will be seated ahead of non ticket-holders.
About our sponsors: Tucson Cine Mexico 2019 acknowledges the support of the following top level sponsors.
GOLD UA College of Fine Arts
SILVER Film Tucson, Topline Entertainment, Rio Nuevo, Tucson Museum of Art
BRONZE Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media, Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, La Estrella Bakery, Pantaya, UA Department of Spanish & Portuguese, UA Center for Latin American Studies, UA Southwest Folklife Alliance, UA College of Humanities, VantageWest, Calle Tepa Mexican Street Grill, Guadalajara Original Grill