Kings of Nowhere / Los reyes del pueblo que no existe, the debut film of Mexican filmmaker Betzabé García, has been nominated for Cinema Eye 9th Annual Nonfiction Film Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Debut Feature Film. The film, which premiered in SXSW Film Festival in March this year, tells the story of three families living in a flooded town in Northwestern Mexico.
García’s film draws draws on a long-time interest in the town of San Marcos, which started when she first visited the village at only 13. Due to the construction of a dam, the town was flooded and the population decreased from 300 families to three. With the support of the community, she first directed the short film Venecia, Sinaloa (2011) inspired by the families which had endured the flood, and later decided to make Kings of Nowhere, looking at the residents that decided to stay their ground in this Mexican village.
The film won the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The jury, Marilyn Ness, Sam Pollard, and Bernardo Ruiz, declared the following about García’s opera prima: "With remarkably assured direction, especially from a first-time filmmaker, Kings of Nowhere delivers artful and thoughtfully paced storytelling. Though Kings of Nowhere on its face appears to be a local story, in fact it speaks to universal themes confronting humanity worldwide: people abandoned by their governments, facing unimaginable violence, and enduring neglect. Kings of Nowhere represents its characters with dignity and depth and it does so at the highest levels of our craft."
Among the thirty-eight feature films nominated for the awards is Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman’s account of violence and vigilantes on both sides of the US-Mexico border, which leads all film with five nomination, including Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature, Direction, Production, Cinematography, and Original Music Score.
Founded in late 2007, Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking “recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film,” as per Cinema Eye’s website. Winners will be announced at the 9th Annual Honors Ceremony on January 13, 2016 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.