'Hell' Reigns Supreme at Mexico's Ariel Awards

 

Mexico City -- Luis Estrada's narco-themed satire El Infierno (Hell) swept the 53rd annual Ariel Awards on Saturday, winning nine of Mexico's top film prizes, including best picture and director. 

Produced, directed and co-written by Estrada, Hell is a dark comedy that revolves around a migrant worker who returns to Mexico after laboring for 20 years in the U.S., only to find that his small town is overrun with drug traffickers. 

"It's a theme that has taken on a dimension that nobody had imagined three or four years ago," said Estrada in reference to Mexico's ongoing drug war.

Hell grossed $7.1 million, making it last year's No. 2 box office earner. Damian Alcazar, who plays a good guy-turned-mafioso, won best actor for his performance in Hell. Best actress went to Monica del Carmen for Ano Bisiesto (Leap Year), which nabbed the Cannes Film Festival Camera d'Or last year. Written and directed by freshman helmer Michael Rowe, Leap Year also got the nod for best first work.

Two films tied for best Ibero-American picture: the Cuba-Spain co-production Jose Marti, El Ojo del Canario and Spain's Tambien la Lluvia (Even the Rain)

Diego Luna's feature debut Abel took home best original screenplay. The film made its world premiere last year at Sundance. 

Hell was the favorite going into Saturday night's ceremony. But many industry people here found it inexplicable that the Mexican film academy submitted Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Biutiful as Mexico's foreign-language Oscar submission, yet the Academy Award nominee failed to land Ariel noms in the best picture and director categories. 

The vote for the Ariel nominees had a typically poor turnout with only 86 of 788 academy members casting ballots to honor the best in Mexican cinema. Adding insult to injury, the film academy is teetering on the brink of extinction due to lack of funds, said academy president Carlos Carrera. 

 

A complete winners list follows:

 

Best Picture

El Infierno, Bandidos Films

 

Director

Luis Estrada, El Infierno

 

Actress

Monica del Carmen, Ano Bisiesto

 

Actor

Damian Alcazar, El Infierno

 

Supporting Actress

Ofelia Medina, Las Buenas Hierbas

 

Supporting Actor

Joaquin Cosio, El Infierno

 

Newcomer Actor

Christopher Ruiz-Esparza, Abel

 

Original Screenplay

Abel, Augusto Mendoza & Diego Luna

 

Cinematography

Biutiful, Rodrigo Prieto

 

Editing

El Infierno, Mariana Rodriguez

 

Original Score

Hidalgo, la Historia Jamas Contada, Alejandro Giocoman

 

Sound

El Infierno, Pablo Lach

 

Art Design

El Infierno, Salvador Parra & Maria Jose Pizarro

 

Costume

El Atentado, Gilda Navarro & Adolfo Ramirez

 

Makeup

El Infierno, Roberto Ortiz

 

Visual Effects

Las Buenas Hierbas, Alejandro Valle

 

Special Effects

El Infierno, Alejandro Vazquez

 

First Work

Ano Bisiesto

 

Feature-length Documentary

La Historia en la Mirada

 

Short Fiction Work

El Ultimo Canto del Pajaro Cu

 

Short Documentary Work

Rio Lerma

 

Short Animation Work

Luna

 

Ibero-American Picture

Jose Marti, El Ojo del CanarioTambien la Lluvia (Tie)

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