Cinema caliente!

A new sidebar showcases emerging Mexican talent.

One need only to look back at last year's critics "best of" lists to understand why CineVegas Film Festival director of programming Trevor Groth decided to add the new La Proxima Ola section, highlighting the next wave of Mexican films and directors, to its lineup.

"I think that with the success of people like Guillermo del Toro, Alejandro (Gonzalez) Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron, there's a real groundswell happening in Mexico for emerging filmmakers with more resources available and more funding available," Groth says. "The crop of films I saw this year out of Mexico was really stellar, so I thought it was a great year to start up this new section."

La Proxima Ola will feature two U.S. premieres -- "Malos Habitos" (Bad Habits), an exploration of family, faith and religion helmed by veteran commercial director Simon Bross, and Jesus Magana Vazquez's erotic odyssey "Eros una vez Maria" (Once Upon a Time Maria).

"'Bad Habits' is the first feature that Bross has done, but it has a very confident visual aesthetic that I think really works well with the content that he's dealing with," Groth says. "'Once Upon a Time Maria' has got an interesting and elaborate script, sort of inspired by the works of Charlie Kaufman. It's a psychosexual exploration of this man and his obsession with this woman. It's really smart, and I think (Vazquez) is a very talented young filmmaker."

The section also will feature Daniel Gruener's dark comedy "Morirse en Domingo" (Never on a Sunday), "Chavez," a feature-length documentary about Mexican boxer Julio Cesar Chavez directed by actor Diego Luna, and Gerardo Naranjo's ensemble piece "Drama/Mex."

Naranjo, whose film "Malachance" had its U.S. premiere at the 2004 CineVegas festival, doesn't believe the recent spate of good movies from Mexican filmmakers constitutes a unified artistic movement or wave, but he feels the success of Cuaron, del Toro and Inarritu is an inspiration, nonetheless.

"When I went to film school (in Mexico), the feeling was that the only way we had to get close to cinema was to watch movies," Naranjo says. "People were making very bad movies, but no one was thinking about doing personal expression. I think people are now starting to believe that it's possible. For me, that's the most important thing -- the change in the spirit of the people."

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