Five filmmakers who are reshaping the Mexican film scene


Mexico's new wave of filmmakers has made quite a splash on the international festival circuit. More than 50 films garnered prizes at various events in 2009, and the list of up-and-comers is growing as talented newcomers ride the production boom. Here are just a few of the contemporary directors generating buzz these days:

Carlos Reygadas
Known for his austere and protracted style, indie auteur Reygadas acknowledges that his work has fared much better in Europe than in his native Mexico. All three of his features have competed in Cannes, including the Mennonite drama "Silent Light," which grabbed the jury prize in 2007. Reygadas and longtime partner Jaime Romandia produce and distribute films under their Mexico City-based shingle Mantarraya and their upstart production label Cadereyta. Reygadas' next film, set to begin shooting this year, is the Mexico-France co-production "Post Tenebras Lux."

Fernando Eimbcke
Discovered at the first edition of the Berlinale Talent Campus, writer-director Eimbcke has since racked up a slew of awards for his features "Duck Season" and "Lake Tahoe," including prizes at AFI, Berlin and Sundance. So impressed was Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron with the freshman feature "Duck Season" that he helped Eimbcke line up a U.S. distribution deal with Warner Independent Pictures. For Eimbcke's next project, a drama titled "The Diary of an Elephant," he received support from the Tribeca Latin America Media Arts Fund. Eimbcke launched his career directing music videos for some of Mexico's top rock bands.

Juan Carlos Rulfo
Hands down one of the nation's best documentary filmmakers, Rulfo stands at the forefront of Mexico's docu revival. "Those Who Remain," his latest film co-directed with Carlos Hagerman, won the Humanitas Award for best documentary for its compelling look at families of migrant workers who are left behind in Mexico. "In the Pit," directed, written and shot by Rulfo, took the jury prize at Sundance in the World Cinema section. Rulfo is the son of renowned Mexican author and photographer Juan Rulfo. His first feature-length documentary, "Juan, I Forgot I Don't Remember," was dedicated to his father.

Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio
A rising star in Mexican cinema, Gonzalez-Rubio recently won the VPRO Tiger Award in Rotterdam and nabbed the jury prize and audience award for his father-son drama "To the Sea." Film Movement acquired U.S. rights to the Mantarraya-produced picture. Gonzalez-Rubio also co-directed the critically acclaimed documentary "Toro Negro," a disturbing portrait of an amateur bullfighter with a drinking problem. Mexican crossover helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu executive-produced "Toro Negro" and later hired Gonzalez-Rubio to co-direct the making of "Babel."

Patricia Riggen
A Guadalajara native, Riggen got off to a great start when her second short "Family Portrait" won a prize in Sundance in 2005. She returned to Sundance in 2007 with her feature debut "Under the Same Moon." Co-released by the Weinstein Co. and Fox Searchlight, the immigration-themed drama set an opening-weekend boxoffice record in the U.S. for a Spanish-language film. Here in Mexico, it surpassed the 100 million peso mark -- a rare feat for a first work. Riggen will begin shooting the biopic "Vivaldi" in the summer in Venice. Italy's Raffaella de Laurentiis is producing the film and Jessica Biel is attached to star.