'Orphanage' to open Mexico's Morelia fest

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MEXICO CITY -- Juan Antonio Bayona's horror film "The Orphanage" and Christopher Zalla's immigrant drama "Padre Nuestro" will bookend the fifth edition of the Morelia International Film Festival, one of Mexico's top movie showcases.

In all, 76 films will unspool in official competition at the Oct. 5-14 festival, organizers said Wednesday.

Opener "The Orphanage" is produced by Guillermo del Toro, Spain's Telecinco and Rodar y Rodar, with the participation of Warner Bros. Prods. Spain. Picturehouse is handling U.S. distribution for the film, which was recently tabbed for an English-language remake by New Line.

Closing the festival is "Padre Nuestro," winner of the Sundance grand jury prize for best U.S. drama.

In past editions, only documentaries and shorts were permitted to enter competition at Morelia. This year, however, the festival has added a feature-length fiction section for first- and second-time Mexican directors.

Among the features in competition are "Cochochi," which bowed at the Venice Film Festival, and "La Zona," winner of the International Critics' Award at the recent Toronto International Film Festival.

In all, more than 50 national and foreign pictures will make their Mexico debuts in Morelia, including Ricardo Arnaiz's animated feature "La Leyenda de la Nahuala" and Cannes Palm d'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days."

Guests of honor include directors Stephen Frears, Arthur Penn and French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier. Among the jury members are Sundance programmer Trevor Groth, Tribeca film festival director Peter Scarlet and "Jesus Camp" co-director Heidi Ewing.

Mexican director Carlos Reygadas, whose latest picture "Silent Light" grabbed the jury prize at Cannes, will receive a $10,000 prize to finance his next film.

The festival also features a selection of films that ran during the International Critics' Week in Cannes, including Lucia Puenzo's award-winning "XXY."
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