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Del cortometraje a la ópera prima

Elisa Miller tenía 24 años cuando compitió por primera vez en el Festival Internacional de Cine de Morelia (FICM). Era octubre de 2006, la cuarta edición del FICM. Miller llevó bajo el brazo su cortometraje Ver llover y muchas postales para promocionarlo. Fue común verla en esos días repartiendo sus tarjetas en las calles, fiestas, universidades o restaurantes. Quiso hacer ruido y lo logró: Ver llover fue el Mejor Cortometraje de Ficción del FICM ese año. Después, haría historia al llevarse la Palma de Oro al Mejor Cortometraje en el Festival de Cannes —la primera mexicana en lograrlo.

Miller regresó al FICM dos años después para competir con Roma, en la Sección de Cortometraje. Volvió a ganar. Esta vez, fue el Premio García Bross para la producción de su siguiente trabajo. No fue un cortometraje, pero sí regresó a Morelia. Vete más lejos, Alicia fue la obra de Miller que compitió en la octava edición del festival en la Sección de Largometraje Mexicano, dedicado a óperas primas y segundas películas.

La historia de Miller es un ejemplo de cómo el FICM crece a la velocidad de una generación de realizadores mexicanos. “Nada nos pudo haber prevenido de los vertiginosos avances de los últimos años: los triunfos artísticos de los directores mexicanos en la escena mundial; el aceleramiento de la coproducción y distribución internacionales; y el resultado de cambios largamente esperados en la política económica que han estimulado un crecimiento sin precedentes en la actividad de cine independiente”, escribió Shannon Kelley, director artístico del festival en 2007 cuando se presentó la primera convocatoria del FICM para largometrajes mexicanos en competencia.

Somos lo que hay, Jorge Michel Grau's first film.

There are several filmmakers who, like Miller, premiered their presence at the festival with a short film and have returned, some years later, to make their feature film debut. We present the directors that traveled the way from the short film to the opera prima with works of fiction in alphabetical order:

Alejandro Gerber was in competition during the first FICM in the Mexican Short Film Section with his work Morada, and in the Mexican Documentary Section with Onces. His debut film, Vaho, was in competition in 2009 and won the Special Mention of the jury. In 2015, he returned to FICM with the short film Luces brillantes.

Alejandro Iglesias Mendizábal competed in the tenth edition of FICM in the Mexican Short Film Section with his short film Contrafabula de una niña disecada. Two years later, in 2014, he returned with the short El humo denso que nos oprime el pecho. In the 2015 edition, he presented his opera prima, La sopladora de hojas.

Álvaro Curiel was present at the second FICM with his short film Si un instante, and returned to compete in 2010, with Acorazado, opera prima that earned him FICM's Audience Award.

Daniel Castro Zimbrón presented his short film Bestiario in competition in 2006. In 2012, he competed with his debut film Táu, which began a trilogy that includes the feature film Las tinieblas, which was part of the official selection of FICM 2016.

Elisa Miller won the award for Best Fiction Short in the fourth edition of FICM with her work Ver llover. In 2008, she returned to the festival to compete with Rome, short film that won the García Bross Award. Vete más lejos, Alicia is her debut film and was in competition for Best Mexican Feature in 2010. In 2015, her film El placer es mío won the award for the First or Second Mexican Feature.

Emiliano Rocha Minter was in competition in 2012 with the short film Dentro, and he returned to FICM four years later with his debut film We Are the Flesh.

Hari Sama participated in the competition in 2005 with his short film Con la cola entre las patas; in 2011, he returned to FICM to compete with his debut film El sueño de Lú, winner of a Special Mention of the jury. Then he returned in 2014 with the short film La tiara vacía; and in 2015, with the feature film Sunka Raku Alegría evanescente.

Jaime Ruiz Ibáñez was in competition during the first FICM with his short film La caja. His debut film, La mitad del mundo, was part of the Mexican Feature Film Section in 2009.

Jorge Michel Grau competed in 2005 in the Mexican Short Film section with his work Mi hermano; a year later, his short film Kalimán was in the competition; and in 2010, he presented his debut feature, Somos lo que hay, in the official competition.

Kyzza Terrazas premiered at FICM with her short film Matapájaros in 2005. Her debut feature, El lenguaje de los machetes, competed in the Mexican Feature Film Section at the ninth edition of the festival. In 2016, she returned to FICM with the documentary Somos lengua.

Mariana Chenillo was in competition in 2004 with her short film Mar adentro. In 2008, she presented her debut film Cinco días sin Nora, which won the Audience Award for Best Mexican Feature. In 2010, she returned to FICM with the feature film Revolución, and three years later, in the eleventh edition of the festival, with Paraíso.

Matías Meyer participated in 2004 with El pasajero, winner of the Best Fiction Short Film Award at FICM, and in 2006 with the short film Verde. In 2008, he presented, out of competition, his documentary Wadley; in 2009, his debut film El calambre was in competition in the Mexican Feature Film Section; in 2011, he returned to FICM with Los últimos cristeros; and in 2015, his film Yo won the Mexican Feature Film Award.

Michel Lipkes was in competition in 2005 with his short documentary Escupir contra el viento. In 2011, he presented his debut film Malaventura, which won a Special Mention of the jury in the category of Best Mexican Feature.

Nicolás Gutiérrez Wenhammar had his first FICM in 2015, when he presented the short film Dona i Ocell and his opera prima Mientras la prisión exista.

Nicolás Pereda has an inverse path in FICM to that of his colleagues. In 2007, he premiered with his debut film ¿Dónde están sus historias? with which he won the festival's award for Best Feature Film. In 2008, he was in competition with his short film Entrevista con la tierra; in 2010, he presented, in a special screening, Verano de Goliat, feature film starring Teresa Sánchez and Gabino Rodríguez; in 2012, he presented the film Los mejores temas; and in 2014, Los austentes.

In 2003, Rigoberto Perezcano won the only award that FICM has granted to a documentary short film with his work XV en Zaachila. In 2009, the Oaxacan filmmaker returned to the festival to compete with the feature film, Norteado. In 2014, his work Carmín tropical won the Best Mexican Feature Film Award.

Santiago Mohar Volkow presented his short film, Sofia de Bucharest, in 2013, and the following year, in 2014, he presented his debut feature film Los muertos.

Sebastián Hiriart directed the short film Perspectiva, with which he entered the competition in the sixth edition of FICM. In 2010, he returned to the festival to participate in the Mexican Feature Film Section with his debut film A tiro de piedra.

Sergio Flores Thorija presented the short Tuga in 2014; in 2015, the short film Bosnian Dream; and in 2016, his debut feature 3 mujeres o (despertando de mi sueño bosnio).

According to the Statistical Yearbook of Mexican Cinema of the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), 162 Mexican feature films were produced IN 2016. Consolidated trajectories and new filmmakers that are part of an industry that requires more exhibition spaces are the ones that keep alive the production of cinema made in Mexico. FICM knows this and has therefore included in its programming, since the first edition, the release of Mexican feature films out of the competition. Little by little the filmmakers who began with short films at the festival, who continued their career presenting their feature films, will be those that are part of this category.

"In analyzing the works received this year, we are surprised by their variety, depth and bill, as well as their willingness to examine a variety of themes and scenarios, and to investigate the Mexican soul," Kelley wrote in 2007, a statement that year after year, continues to define the selection of works in competition of the Mexican Feature section.

* This text was originally published in 2012 for FICM's tenth anniversary. The festival's editorial team updated the information.