'Devil's Freedom,' 'Santa & Andres' Win Top Honors at Guadalajara Film Fest

Devil's Freedom_La libertad del diablo_Still - Publicity - H 2017
Courtesy of Berlinale

Everardo Gonzalez's 'Devil's Freedom' ('La Libertad del Diablo') walked away with three prizes, including best Mexican film.

Devil’s Freedom, an eerie reflection on Mexico’s drug war victims, scored wins for best Mexican picture, Ibero-American documentary and cinematography at the 32nd Guadalajara Film Festival, which concluded Friday.

Produced by Animal de Luz Films and directed by acclaimed doc filmmaker Everardo Gonzalez, Devil’s Freedom (La Libertad del Diablo) had its world premiere at Cannes earlier this year. The doc features a series of chilling interviews with masked victims and perpetrators of Mexico’s ongoing drug war, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 2006.

Carlos Lechuga’s political drama Santa & Andres, which explores the profound effects of life under former Cuban President Fidel Castro, also nabbed multiple awards. Lechuga’s sophomore feature film, which bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival, earned prizes for best Ibero-American picture, screenplay and actress (for Lola Amores), as well as the Jury Prize.

Best actor honors were shared between Jose Manuel Poncelis and Eligio Menendez for their stirring performances in the Sundance audience award winner I Dream in Another Language (Sueno en otro idioma). FilmRise acquired North American distribution rights to the film in February, shortly after the festival.

Guadalajara’s audience award went to first-timer Jose Ramon Chavez’s Help Me Get Through the Night (Ayudame a pasar la noche), a dramedy about a Mexican family that finds itself at an emotional crossroads.

Special guests at this year's Guadalajara fest, one of Mexico’s top film event, included Willem Dafoe and Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan (In the Name of the Father).

A list of winners is below.

Best Ibero-American Picture
Santa & Andres

Best Ibero-American Director
Joel Calero for One Last Afternoon

Best Actress, Ibero-American Fiction Feature
Lola Amores for Santa & Andres

Best Actor, Ibero-American Fiction Feature
Jean Jean for Woodpeckers

Best Mexican Picture
Devil’s Freedom

Best Mexican Director
Sofia Gomez for The Blue Years

Best Documentary
Devil’s Freedom

Special Jury Prizes
Santa & Andres, Woodpeckers

Audience Award
Help Me Get Through the Night

Best First Work
Fabio Meira for Two Irenes

Best Screenplay
Santa & Andres

Best Cinematography
Devil’s Freedom (Maria Secco)

The Blue Years