Tucson Cine Mexico, a Vital Platform for Mexican Cinema in the U.S., Announces Lineup for its 16th Edition


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 The Chambermaid, based on her own play La camarera.

Focusing on a maid (Gabriela Cartol) working in a luxury Mexico City hotel, The Chambermaid 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, The Good Girls; Guie’dani’s Navel; and 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 lineup is completed by the debut documentary film Mamacita by José Pablo Estrada Torrescano, a portrait of the filmmaker’s grandmother, 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.