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Everything was full of excitement in 2019. A new government brought promises of change and real hope. However, the harsh reality set in with the winner of the Ojo for Feature-Length Documentary at the 17th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM): The Guardian of Memory, by Marcela Arteaga. The documentary focused on a group of Mexicans exiled in the United States, forced to leave Guadalupe de Juárez, Chihuahua, due to the impact of the battle against drug trafficking, where the main people affected are innocent. The residents fled to the border to survive. In El Paso, Texas, Carlos Spector, a lawyer with Jewish-Mexican heritage, and his wife endeavored to assist them. The film depicts the horror of violence and forced disappearances in Mexico, a problem that continues to worsen year after year, rather than being eliminated.

Tote abuelo, by María Sojob, tells a story set in a peaceful and beautiful Tzotzil community. The filmmaker aims to capture the wisdom embodied by her grandfather, who is losing his eyesight. Simultaneously, she navigates her identity as an indigenous woman and the native language discrimination. This documentary is deeply personal and autobiographical, focusing on family dynamics and emotional connections. The documentary received the Ambulante Award and the Association of Women in Film and Television Award. Daniela Alatorre's Retiro shared the Ambulante Award and received a Special Mention in the official competition. The story takes place in León, Guanajuato, where Marina Guadarrama lives. She is an elderly woman who has devotedly followed her family's and town's social and religious traditions with a strong desire for her granddaughter Perla to carry on this heritage. Together, they embark on a retreat, offering a poignant exploration of intergenerational relationships.

Finally, the Audience Award went to Maricarmen by Sergio Morkin.  His protagonist is Maricarmen Graue, a music teacher, writer, sculptor, and marathon runner who lives alone and is blind. She is charismatic and has a steely personality and a peculiar way of embracing life.  It is a simultaneously dramatic, honest, and optimistic testimony, which affects how we reject “the others”. On the other hand, the Guerrero Press Award went to Oblatos: el vuelo que surcó la noche by Acelo Ruiz Villanueva. It was an intriguing narrative proposal with which its director achieves a great docuthriller capable of generating increasing tension.  It is about the guerrilla in Mexico and the story of an escape from the Oblatos prison in Guadalajara in 1976, by some of the members of the September 23rd Communist League.

No one would imagine that the 18th edition of FICM would be marked by the brutal global pandemic that broke out in 2020. In that year nine documentaries would participate, the main winner of which would be Tu'un Savi, the debut feature by Uriel López España, winner of Ojo for Best Mexican Documentary. With a running time of 41 minutes, it narrates how the filmmaker Uriel López left his home in the municipality of Ñuu Savi, in Guerrero at age 15. After traveling to various places and becoming a documentary filmmaker, he confirmed his interest in learning his family's original language, which had been forbidden since childhood. Uriel returns, his father has passed away, and with him, his native language. In 2007, his father urged him to document with photographs some meetings of speakers of that language, so this film focuses on the search for tu'un savi (Mixtec) through those who still speak those idiomatic expressions.

That same year, La Mami directed, written, and photographed by Laura Herrero Garvín won the Special Mention in the official competition. It was entirely filmed in the legendary Barba Azul Cabaret, in the crowded Obrera neighborhood in Mexico City. It is a take on that disenchanted, intimate, supportive and original look at the cabaret and its “ficheras” and companions for drinking and dancing. La Mami is also the nickname of a former Barba Azul's worker. Today she is almost 70 years old, and she cleans and “takes care” of the bathrooms of Barba Azul. She also looks after and comforts the girls who work there.

Finally, the Audience Award went to the entertaining, sensitive and intelligent documentary on sexual diversity, Las flores de la noche by Eduardo Esquivel and Omar Robles. It is focused on the lives of three trans girls: Dulce Gardenia, Violeta Nicole, and Alexa Moreno, the most boisterous young women of Mezcala de la Asunción, a small town located on the coast of Jalisco, very close to Lake Chapala. It is a place that seems comfortable for the uninhibited protagonists. Very early in the morning, they put makeup on, hang out with the neighbors, and are the life of the town's parties. The filmmakers draw an optimistic and cheerful portrait with an agile rhythm and exceptional protagonists.