'Natural Sciences' Tops Guadalajara Film Fest

"Natural Sciences"
"Natural Sciences"
 

MEXICO CITY -- The coming-of-age drama Natural Sciences (Ciencias Naturales) came up big on Saturday at the 29th Guadalajara International Film Festival, winning best picture, screenplay and actress.

The feature debut of writer-director Matias Lucchesi centers on a teen determined to find the father she never knew. The film's stars, Paula Hertzog and Paola Barrientos, shared honors for Guadalajara's best actress nod. Natural Sciences had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Generation Kplus Grand Prix. Urban Distribution handles international sales.

Guadalajara's best director award went to Brazilian helmer Fernando Coimbra for his dark thriller A Wolf at the Door, which nabbed the Horizons Award in San Sebastian as well as the top prize at the recent edition of the Miami International Film Festival.

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Las Horas Contigo (The Hours With You), the feature-film debut from AFI alum Catalina Aguilar, walked away with the FIPRESCI international critics prize, while the Brazilian gay-themed drama The Way He Looks scored the audience award. The documentary Eco de la Montana, a portrait of an indigenous Huichol artist, took home best Mexican picture.

Writer-director Damian John Harper won best first work for Los Angeles, a drama centering on gang culture. His film recently bowed in Berlin.

La Ultima Estacion (The Last Station), a moving portrait about the difficult living conditions in Chilean nursing homes, landed the best documentary prize.

This year's guests in Guadalajara included writer-director Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father), Cannes-winning director Amat Escalante (Heli) and Eva Longoria, who appears in the immigrant-themed drama Frontera alongside Michael Pena and Ed Harris. Overall, though, Mexico's largest and oldest festival was noticeably lacking in star power.

Italy will be guest country of honor next year when Guadalajara celebrates its 30th anniversary.

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