Tucson Cine Mexico, a partnership between the Hanson Film Institute, New York-based Cinema Tropical, and Mexico City’s Ambulante, has announced its 2017 dates, taking place March 22 – 26, and the Arizona premiere of María José Cuevas' Bellas de Noche / Beauties of the Night as its opening night. Now in its 14th year, the festival is the longest-running showcase of contemporary Mexican cinema in the United States. The free festival is known for bringing together audiences of diverse backgrounds and ages.
The award-winning new documentary, directed by Cuevas, charts the past and present lives of Rossy Mendoza, Olga Breeskin, Wanda Seux, Lyn May and Princesa Yamal, the Mexico City showgirls who were propelled beyond their cabaret stages to national fame in the 1970s and 80s. Cuevas’ directorial debut, an intimate portrait of fame and post-fame life, collected the awards for Best Documentary, Best Documentary by a Woman, and the Guerrero Press Award at the recent Morelia International Film Festival. The Tucson Cine Mexico screening on March 24 will mark the film’s Arizona Premiere.
In addition to the film lineup, the full list of which will be announced on March 1, the 2017 Festival will include an Artist/Filmmaker Talk and continue its Jaguar Award, given in person to a filmmaker for his/her outstanding directorial debut. Launched in 2013, the Jaguar Award is named for El Jefe, the jaguar from Sonora, Mexico, currently living in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson. Previous winners include Kyzza Terrazas, for his critically acclaimed drama El lenguaje de los machetes / Machette Language, and Celso García for La delgada línea amarilla / The Thin Yellow Line.
Festival founder, Hanson Film Institute director Vicky Westover said, “We are delighted to celebrate the outstanding cinema being made by Mexican filmmakers. We remain committed to offering film screenings to our diverse audience at no charge. We are able to do this because of our sponsors, and we are very grateful to them for their generosity.”
Also announced is the promotion of Carlos Gutiérrez to Festival co-director, alongside Westover. A long-time co-programmer of the festival, Gutiérrez is based in New York, where he runs Cinema Tropical, the media arts organization dedicated to promoting, programming and distributing Latin American cinema in the United States. As a guest curator, Gutiérrez has presented several film/video series at cultural institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and BAMcinématek. He has served as a member of the jury and the selection committees for various film festivals including the Morelia Film Festival, Margaret Mead Film Festival, SANFIC - Santiago Film Festival, and DocsMX, among others.
“I’m thrilled to join Vicky Westover as co-director of Tucson Cine Mexico. Having worked as a guest programmer since the beginning of the festival, it’s been great to see how it’s become such an important platform for the promotion of Mexican cinema in the United States, and how it’s developed a dedicated and mixed film audience in Southern Arizona,” said Gutiérrez.
In 2017, Tucson Cine Mexico will continue its partnership with Ambulante, the touring documentary film festival in Mexico founded by Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Elena Fortes. Committed to promoting documentary films as a tool for social and cultural change, and devoted to fostering cultural exchanges, Ambulante will co-present the documentary portion of Tucson Cine Mexico.
Ambulante’s director, Paulina Suárez said “Collaborative projects that forge creative links across borders are particularly urgent right now. I celebrate Tucson Cine México’s dedication over the years to building an audience as an active public sphere that fosters relevant cross-cultural encounters. Cuevas’ intimate portrait of show business women, though not explicitly political, gets at the heart of documentary cinema’s most necessary and vibrant vocation: to expand our affection for otherness, for lives lived differently, for bodies that defy normative expectations. I hope it will resonate with local audiences,” said Ambulante director Paulina Suárez.
Tucson Cine Mexico has a new online hub, www.tucsoncinemexico.org will be the source for all film screening and other festival event details, free tickets, a comprehensive archive and more.