'Vacation,' 'Elements' bookend Guadalajara fest


MEXICO CITY -- Brazilian dramedy "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation" and Dutch documentary "4 Elements" will bookend the 22nd edition of the Guadalajara International Film Festival, Mexico's top movie showcase.

In all, 220 films will unspool during the nine-day event, which runs March 22-30. Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, whose dark fantasy "Pan's Labyrinth" won three Oscars, will receive a career achievement award at Thursday's opening ceremony. Del Toro is a Guadalajara native.

Vicente Lenero, who penned Mexico's all-time boxoffice champ, "The Crime of Father Amaro," also will be honored with an achievement award.

This year's lineup is heavy on Mexican productions and notably light on U.S. entries. Festival director Jorge Sanchez told reporters at a Friday news conference that the fest will screen "80% more Mexican pictures than it did in the past edition."

In official competition, 16 Ibero-American films will vie for Guadalajara's top prize, with the bulk coming from Mexico and Brazil. In a separate Mexican Fiction category, 12 features will make their Mexican debuts. Of those, eight are first works, including "Ano Una," the first film from Jonas Cuaron, son of helmer Alfonso Cuaron. The festival has opened a new section for Mexican documentaries as well.

Among the guests scheduled this year are Antonio Banderas, who will present "Summer Rain," his second film as a director, and actor Viggo Mortensen, in town with adventure film "Alatriste," billed as Spain's most expensive production ever.

Other notable visitors include French filmmaker Constantin Costa-Gavras, Academy Award-winning art director Eugenio Caballero, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto and Philip Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. Berk will sit on the Ibero-American Fiction jury.

For the first time, the festival will "pre-select" three Ibero-American films and two Mexican features to be considered by members of the HFPA as Golden Globe candidates in the foreign-language picture category.

The festival also will feature the fifth edition of the Ibero-American film market, which is expected to draw about 300 buyers and sellers from all over the world, including various representatives from Hollywood studios. Last year, an estimated 30 films on the market picked up distribution deals, however, the majority consisted of regional home video sales.
In recent years, Guadalajara has strengthened its ties with other important international film fests. This year, the festival will host a two-day Producers' Network in association with the Cannes International Film Festival market. As for programming, Guadalajara is collaborating with the Berlin and San Sebastian film festivals.

Sanchez said cash prizes to be awarded total about $1 million, a considerable increase compared with last year.