Mexico's next gen top Ariel noms

Pla's 'Desierto Adentro' leads way minus best pic nom

MEXICO CITY -- Showing a vote of confidence in Mexico's new generation of filmmakers, the film academy here has selected two indie features and two documentaries to vie for best picture at the upcoming 51st Ariel Awards, the nation's top film honors.

Fernando Eimbcke's sophomore drama "Lake Tahoe" and the thriller "Voy a Explotar" (I'm Gonna Explode) from up-and-comer Gerardo Naranjo got nods for best picture. Also competing in the category are the documentaries "Intimidades de Shakespeare y Victor Hugo" and "Los Herederos."

All four of the nominees have performed well on the international festival circuit, but have struggled to secure theatrical releases in Mexico. Eimbcke, Naranjo and "Herederos" helmer Eugenio Poglovsky will battle for best director.

In all, eleven films are in the running for Ariel statuettes. Garnering the most nominations was Rodrigo Pla's period piece "Desierto Adentro" (The Desert Within), which racked up 11, while Carlos Cuaron's first feature, "Rudo y Cursi," grabbed eight.

"Desert," co-written by Pla, was selected for best original screenplay. The soccer-themed "Rudo," starring Mexican heartthrobs Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, received nods in three acting categories.

The ceremony takes place March 31 at Mexico City's National Auditorium.