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In 2017, the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) celebrated its 15th anniversary with the presence of Guillermo del Toro, who premiered The Shape of Water, and with films by established filmmakers such as Andrey ZvyagintsevWoody AllenAki Kaurismaki or Ildikó Enyedi, amongst others. That year, 15 Mexican documentaries (record amount) competed for the Ojo for Mexican Feature-Lenght Documentary award. Rush Hour by Luciana Kaplan was the winner. An emotional exploration focused on those terrible journeys, the long commutes the ordinary citizen has to endure to reach their destinations, the many hours spent in public transportation or the car, and the perspective of a global world congested by this devastating urban phenomenon. The outcome is a disturbing social remark and a harrowing portrait of forced displacement through parallel stories taking place in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Istanbul, edited by the remarkable Yibran Assuad.

Alejandro Ramírez, Daniela Michel, Guillermo del Toro, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel


The Award for Mexican Documentary Made by a Woman went to Eternity Never Surrender, the debut film by journalist Daniela Rea Gómez. It is a heartbreaking and moving film about memories and today's México, where disappearances are part of everyday life. Two women face the fateful moment when their relatives become just another sad statistic. In 2010, organized crime took Liliana's husband away from her. In 1978, Alicia wondered about the whereabouts of her mother, whom the government disappeared during the dark years of the so-called Dirty War.

Meanwhile, one of the surprising things about Potentiae, by Javier Toscano (Ambulante Special Award and Guerrero Press Award), is the rejection of the conventions of the self-help and disability documentary and the commiseration of the subject that abounds in these films. It is a splendid follow-up of the trust and respect established between a group of characters with different abilities, some of them marginalized by the bureaucratic short-sightedness and ignorance of those of us who usually call ourselves "normal." The topic is strong and tough, moving and crushing, and Toscano makes the most of it with sensitivity and intelligence. The Audience Award went to Back to the Origin, by María José Glender, on the isolation of a man in a mountain, and a Special Mention to the medium-length film Artemio, by Sandra Luz López.

Potentiae, (2016, dir. Javier Toscano)


Against the backdrop of Alfonso Cuarón's Roma and Pawel Pawlikowski's Cold War, and other exceptional films from 2018, the 16th edition of the Festival awarded the Ojo for Mexican Feature-Lenght Documentary Award to Nuria Ibáñez's A Wild Stream. It is a beautiful tale of sensuality, solidarity, and friendship. Starring Chilo and Omar, two men who share the solitude of a beach, the daily routine of fishing for survival, and love beyond the skin, where the limits between masculine and feminine get blurred as they deal with the capricious calm of a natural universe far from the hustle and bustle of the city, under the burning sun and the conversation of these two beings devoted to the landscape that shelters them.

On the other hand, The Sower, by Melissa Elizondo, a graduate of ENAC, won the Audience Award, the Guerrero Press Award, and the Award for Documentary Made by a Woman. It is a beautiful and sensitive approach to rural education. Where an enthusiastic young teacher, Bartolomé, manages to awaken the interest and love for education in a group of children who have nothing but still have everything. In an environment where nature embraces them daily, very different from the narrow limits of city schools. It is a simple, poetic, and, at the same time, profound portrait of everything that governments today reject: the culture of love for literature and thinking that would irremediably lead to happiness.

Pawel Pawlikowski, Alfonso Cuarón


Finally, I’m Leaving Now, winner of a Special Mention, a Mexican-American co-production by Lindsey Cordero and Armando Croda. It combines documentary with elements of fiction, bittersweet humor, and a melancholic tone. At the same time, it moves away from the melodrama about the love for the homeland and the condition of immigrants beyond the United States border. It is a reflection between nostalgic and humorous, in which a man walks the streets of Brooklyn thinking about the fate of his life, family, home, loneliness, and love. M, by Eva Villaseñor, won the Ambulante Award. It is the portrait of Miguel Ángel Villaseñor, her brother, who was a famous rapper from Aguascalientes known as Tankeone, his addiction problems, and his musical and violent environments.