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Alejandro Pelayo held a talk about the Cineteca Nacional at the 16th FICM

By: Marco Mejía @MiqkelMejia

Alejandro Pelayo, director of the Cineteca Nacional, held a brief talk for young students at the 16th Morelia International Film Festival (FICM). Pelayo gave the attendees a general overview of the history of this institution since its foundation on January 17 of 1974, before it was in Coyoacán, Mexico City.

Alejandro Pelayo

“In the corresponding administration (Luis Echeverría) it was founded and financed by the State, but the project initially started at Estudios Churubusco. That’s where the first Cineteca was, we used the Fernando de Fuentes room and a smaller room we could only fit 100 people in,” said Pelayo.

The director of the Cineteca Nacional also emphasized the reasons that led to a fire in 1982: “Unfortunately, negligence was what caused the fire because there were ribbons with nitrate material, they are the ones with the highest quality and I can tell you this because I was there that day.”

He also gave his point of view on the distinction that exists between the auteur cinema that is screened at the Cineteca and the film industry in Mexico that includes commercial films projected in any theatre of the country and with great profits: “The two types of films are fundamental, I love commercial cinema, I don’t have anything against it, but as a filmmaker you should know what kind of cinema you want to do. The worst thing that can happen to you is to stay in the middle and not be in either one. There is room for all kinds of cinema and in democratic terms, you also need commercial cinema and by itself, there is no specific audience, there is room for both even if we only have auteur cinema at la Cineteca .”

“Auteur cinema is a term used since the French New Wave in the fifties. For them, film direction is the same as writing a novel because of the artistic process, and therefore, the Cineteca is a specialist in that,” he added.

Currently, the Cineteca Nacional has ten rooms, five with capacity for 200 people, three for 400 people and two for 40 people, which are used to teach courses throughout the year.