'Labyrinth' sweeps Mexico's Ariels

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MEXICO CITY -- Guillermo del Toro's anti-fascist fable "Pan's Labyrinth" swept the 49th edition of the Ariel Awards, winning nine of Mexico's top film prizes, including best picture and director.

"Labyrinth," a Mexico-Spain co-production, was the favorite going into Tuesday evening's ceremony at Mexico City's Palace of Fine Arts. Nominated for 12 Ariels, it also received awards for Maribel Verdu as best actress, cinematography, art direction, original score, makeup, costume design and special effects.

Del Toro, who lives in the U.S., enjoyed a fitting celebration on his native soil. He received statuettes for best director and picture from his close friends and collaborators, Mexican helmers Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

After having met with Mexico's president this week to urge more support for the nation's ailing film industry, del Toro dedicated the director's award "to the new generation of (Mexican) filmmakers."

"Labyrinth" has fared particularly well this awards season. It won Oscars for cinematography, art direction and makeup. It also picked up best foreign picture at the BAFA Awards and took home seven of Spain's Goyas.

Del Toro is preparing Universal Pictures' "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army."

Other multiple winners Tuesday evening were Francisco Vargas' feature debut, "El Violin" (The Violin), and Juan Carlos Rulfo's documentary "En El Hoyo" (In the Pit). "Violin," a drama shot in black and white, took nods for best first work, original screenplay and supporting actor. The film has been received well on the festival circuit but has struggled to land a distribution deal in Mexico.

After the ceremony, Vargas said that del Toro and Canana Films, the shingle run by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, have secured distribution for "El Violin." The tentative Mexico release date is April 27.

"Pit," which won Sundance's 2006 world docu award, walked away with Ariels for best documentary, editing and sound.

The Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences gave the award for best Ibero-American film to Spain's "La Vida Secreta De Las Palabras" (The Secret Life of Words). Lifetime achievement awards went to veteran cinematographer Rosalio Solano and actor Ignacio Lopez Tarso, best known for his performances during Mexico's golden age of cinema.

A complete list of winners follows:

Best picture
Pan's Labyrinth (A Tequila Gang, Estudios Picasso, Fabrica de Ficcion co-production)

Director
Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth)

Actress (tie)
Maribel Verdu (Pan's Labyrinth)
Elizabeth Cervantes (Mas Que A Nada En El Mundo)

Actor
Damian Alcazar (Cronicas)

Supporting actress
Isela Vega (Fuera Del Cielo)

Supporting actor
Gerardo Taracena (El Violin)

Original screenplay
Francisco Vargas (El Violin)

Cinematography
Guillermo Navarro (Pan's Labyrinth)

Editing
Valentina Leduc (En El Hoyo)

Original score
Javier Navarrete (Pan's Labyrinth)

Sound
Samuel Larson, Jaime Baksht, Natalia Bruschtein, Mauricio Santos, Jesus Sanchez (En El Hoyo)

Art direction
Eugenio Caballero, Pilar Revuelta, Ramon Moya (Pan's Labyrinth)

Special effects
Reyes Abades, Angel Alonso, David Marti, Montse Ribe (Pan's Labyrinth)

Costume design
Lala Huete (Pan's Labyrinth)

Makeup
Jose Quetglas and Blanca Sanchez (Pan's Labyrinth)

First work (fiction)
El Violin (directo: Francisco Vargas)

Full-length documentary
En el Hoyo (director: Juan Carlos Rulfo)

Animated feature
Una Pelicula De Huevos (directors: Rodolfo Riva Palacio Alatriste and Gabriel Riva Palacio Alatriste)

Ibero-American picture
La Vida Secreta De Las Palabras (director: Isabel Coixet, Spain)

Short film (fiction)
Dime Lo Que Sientes (director: Iria Gomez)

Animated short
Berlitad (director: Pablo Angeles Zuman)

Short film (documentary)
Ser Isla (director: Eun-Hee Ihm)
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