'Inglourious Basterds' to open Morelia fest

Quentin Tarantino to attend Mexico festival

MEXICO CITY -- Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" will open the seventh edition of the Morelia International Film Festival, adding a touch of international glory to a key platform for emerging Mexican talent.

Tarantino will present his latest picture in Morelia when the weeklong film fest kicks off Oct. 3. Festival director Daniela Michel said other confirmed guests include French filmmaker Bruno Dumont, newcomer actress Molly Windsor and Michael Fitzgerald, producer of Tommy Lee Jones' "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada."

Romania will be the guest country of honor. "Tales From the Golden Age," a series of five shorts written by Romanian helmer Cristian Mungiu, will make its Mexico debut.

More than 80 films comprising Mexican features, documentaries and shorts will compete at this year's edition. Among the full-length fiction pictures in competition is Miguel Necoechea's boxing film "Chamaco," featuring Martin Sheen. Other notable titles include Rigoberto Perezcano's immigration drama "Norteado" (Northless) and Pedro Gonzalez Rubio's first fiction work, "Alamar" (To the Sea). Both premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Mexican film industry has seen a steady rise in production over the past several years, yet producers here have voiced concern that recent budget cuts to state-financed film funds may reverse the upward trend.

Two years ago, at the Morelia film fest's opening ceremony, President Felipe Calderon vowed to support the industry, which leans heavily on public funding. Since then, however, Mexican cinema has become a lesser priority as the government focuses on a costly war on drugs and fixing the ailing economy.

"It's very unfortunate," Michel said. "It's a very different panorama than when the president came (to Morelia) in 2007."