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Story LAB

Story LAB

As part of the 21st edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), MORELIA PRO will once again hold its Story Lab.

Story Lab was born out of FICM's efforts, through MORELIA PRO, to create activities for training and professional updating. In recent years, special emphasis has been placed on strengthening workspaces to fine-tune screenplays, one of the foundations upon which the stories we see on the screen are built.

MORELIA PRO is a section of the festival dedicated to training and career-upgrading activities that contribute to strengthening the film industry and filmmaking in the region through initiatives of dialogue and reflection among young creators. Its aim is to contribute to the training and further professional development of Mexican filmmakers, as well as to promote specific areas of the film industry in Mexico. These activities are designed to reinforce the various elements involved in the conception, realization, and distribution of films.


These initiatives are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE), the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo's Cultural Center, the Michoacán Government, the Michoacán Ministries of Tourism and Culture, the Morelia City Hall, Cinépolis, and Netflix.

This year, MORELIA PRO is developing Impulso Morelia, a nine-year-old initiative that has created a space for analysis and dialogue with international film experts on films in progress, a Development Film Lab for Indigenous Filmmakers of Latin America which allows participants to improve their projects in their early stages, and the Story Lab, which returns in 2023 and consists of a workshop to refine screenplays with the help of industry experts.

About Story Lab

Founded by renowned Mexican producer Bertha Navarro (Reed: Mexico Insurgente, Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, Cabeza de Vaca and Cronos, among many other emblematic films of Ibero-American cinema), who pioneered this type of workshop in Mexico with the aim of strengthening the quality of screenplays produced in Spanish. Story Lab has found a space to grow within FICM and has been a part of the festival's activities since 2017.

Combining personalized work sessions with group sessions on key elements in the craft of screenwriting, experts in the film industry will provide their personal insights on the stories, looking to guide and support the writers in improving the proposals that we will surely see materialize in the coming years in a wide variety of high-quality Mexican films.

This year, Story Lab will take place from October 23 to 27, bringing together eight feature-length fiction projects by young Mexican filmmakers:

  • Acapulco, by Natalia García Agraz
  • Canciones para el futuro, by Aura García-Junco y Kyzza Terrazas
  • Dios y la cumbia del Diablo, by Carlos Lenin
  • La dote, by Alejandro Andrade Pease
  • En el camino, by David Pablos
  • En legítima defensa, by Samara Ibrahim y Elisa Miller 
  • Normal, by Santiago Fábregas y Kim Torres
  • Palizada, by Michelle Garza, Abia Castillo y Clyo Mendoza

The film industry experts joining us in this edition of Story Lab are: writer and screenwriter Laura Santullo (La Zona, La demora, Un monstruo de mil cabezas, El otro Tom); playwright, screenwriter and actress María Renée Prudencio (Club Sandwich, Tercera llamada, Los adioses, La caída); director, producer and screenwriter Lucía Carreras (Tamara y la Catarina, Nos vemos papá, Año bisiesto, La jaula de oro, Todo el silencio); screenplay consultant and editor Ruth Atkinson; essayist, professor, and screenwriter Arturo Arango (El libro de la realidad, Lista de espera, Aunque estés lejos, Café amargo, Perejil); director and screenwriter Carlos Cuarón (El misterio del Trinidad, Sólo con tu pareja, Y tu mamá también, Besos de azúcar, Rudo y Cursi, Amalgama); screenwriter Mauricio Katz (Station Eleven, ZeroZeroZero, Perry Mason); and writer, playwright and screenwriter Santiago Roncagliolo (Abril Rojo, Memorias de una dama, La noche de los alfileres, Y líbranos del mal).

The 21st FICM will take place from October 20 to 29 with screenings in Morelia, Michoacán, as well as virtual screenings through Canal 22 and Filmina Latino.


This year's Story LAB features eight full-length fiction scripts created by young Mexican filmmakers:

  • Acapulco, by Natalia García Agraz
  • Canciones para el futuro, by Aura García-Junco y Kyzza Terrazas
  • Dios y la cumbia del Diablo, by Carlos Lenin
  • La dote, by Alejandro Andrade Pease
  • En el camino, by David Pablos
  • En legítima defensa, by Samara Ibrahim y Elisa Miller 
  • Normal, by Santiago Fábregas y Kim Torres
  • Palizada, by Michelle Garza, Abia Castillo y Clyo Mendoza


Arturo Arango

Arturo Arango

Narrator, essayist, film screenwriter, and teacher. Among his books are La Habana elegante, Vimos arder un árbol, Una lección de anatomía, El libro de la realidad, Muerte de nadie, and No me preguntes cuándo. As an essayist, he has mainly dealt with Cuban literature and culture. In 2008, he received the "Virgilio Piñera" Playwriting Award for his play El viaje termina en Elsinore. He is co-author, with Juan Carlos Tabío, of the screenplays for Lista de espera (which won the Coral Award for that category at the Havana Film Festival in 2000), Aunque estés lejos (2003) and El Cuerno de la Abundancia (Third Coral Award and Screenplay Award at the Havana Film Festival in 2008), with Xenia Rivery of Café Amargo (2015), with Álvaro Curiel de Icaza of Marioneta (2019), with José María Cabral and Viceversa of Perejil (2021) and with Gustavo Ramos Perales and Viceversa of Pies en la arena (2023).

From 2008 to 2015, he directed and worked as a consultant for the Latin American Screenwriting Workshop of the New Latin American Film Festival. He has been a consultant for the Plume & Pellicule screenwriting workshop of the Dreamago association from 2008 to date. He has taught screenwriting workshops in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and El Salvador. Since 2005 he has been a guest professor at the Image and Sound Department at the University of Guadalajara. He has been the head of the Screenwriting Department at the International Film and Television School of San Antonio de los Baños, as well as the Master's Degree in Creative Audiovisual Writing.

Carlos Cuarón

Carlos Cuarón

He studied English Literature at the UNAM. He took part in the Sundance Institute's Screenwriters Lab as a fellow writer and advisor in Mexico, the United States, and India. He has written, directed, and produced for film, theater, and television. He wrote and directed Rudo y Cursi, which, at the time, became the third highest-grossing Mexican film in history and garnered 8 Ariel nominations.

He produced, wrote, and directed the film Sugar Kisses, winning the Best Director Award at the Directors Week at Fantasporto Festival in Portugal in 2014. He has written and directed several short films, including Sístole diástole, Mamacita, Noche de bodas (official selection at Critics' Week, Cannes, 2001), You Owe me One, Juego de niños, Amor al Tri, No me digan Hugo, Ofelia, The Second Bakery Attack, Una piedra en el camino, and El sándwich de Mariana. He wrote the screenplays for the films Sólo con tu pareja, Y tu mamá también, El misterio del Trinidad and collaborated in Who the Hell is Juliette? He is also the producer of Desierto, and an associate producer on the films Crónicas and The Assassination of Richard Nixon. He is the co-creator, co-producer, and co-writer of the animated series Poncho Balón va a la final and Poncho Balón va a Sudáfrica. Winner of the Ariel for Best Original Story in 1992 with Love in the Time of Hysteria. Nominated for Best Screenplay in 2004 for El misterio del Trinidad and in 2009 for Best Debut Feature for Rudo y Cursi. The writer won the Silver Lion for Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival in 2001 for Y tu mamá también, which earned him Oscar and BAFTA nominations in 2003 for Best Original Screenplay. His most recent feature film, Amalgama, had its national premiere at the Morelia Film Festival 2020, and its international premiere at the Malaga Film Festival 2021. It won the Best Screenplay Award at the Trieste Ibero-Latin American Film Festival in 2021, and the Alacran Music in Film Award at the Miami International Film Festival in 2022.

Laura Santullo

Laura Santullo

She is a writer and screenwriter. She wrote the feature films Un monstruo de mil cabezas, La demora, Desierto adentro, and La Zona, the last two in collaboration with Rodrigo Plá. Her most recent feature film is El otro Tom, also written and directed by Rodrigo Plá. It premiered at the Venice International Film Festival (2021) and won the Best Director award at the Warsaw International Film Festival and the Morelia Film Festival. In addition, she co-wrote the feature film La caja with Paula Markovitch and Lorenzo Vigas, who also directed the film. This film won Best Screenplay at the Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival in 2021.

She has received several awards for her work, including six Ariel Award nominations from the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences, winning three times (2008, 2013, 2016). She also received the award for Best Screenplay at the 13th Athens International Film Festival (2007), and Best Screenplay at the Lima Festival (2012), among others. She was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the Goya Awards in Spain (2007) and the Fénix Awards (2016) in the Best Screenplay category. She has six published books: El otro lado, honorable mention in the MEC Annual Literature Award in Uruguay (2007); Un globo de Cantoya, winner of the Bartolomé Hidalgo Award for best Children's Book, Uruguay (2013), Un monstruo de mil cabezas, El año de los secretos, Llegaron con el viento and El otro Tom.

Lucía Carreras

Lucía Carreras

Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer. Her work has been presented at prominent festivals such as Toronto, Cannes, Berlin, Karlovy Vary, and Rotterdam. As a director, her credits include Nos vemos, papá (2011), the Spanish-Mexican co-production Tamara y la Catarina (2016), and she is currently in the post-production process of her latest feature film Póstumo, all films in which she is also the creator of the plot and screenplay. She co-directed the Mexican-Guatemalan film La casa más grande del mundo (2015).

As a screenwriter, she has been nominated twice for the Ariel Award for Best Original Screenplay for Año Bisiesto (2010), which also won the Golden Camera at the Cannes Film Festival, and Las Aparicio (2015). She also won the Ariel for Best Original Screenplay for the multi-award-winning La jaula de oro (2013), sharing this recognition with co-screenwriters Diego Quemada-Díez and Gibrán Portela.

Founder of the production company Madrecine, the production company of the feature film Nudo Mixteco (2021), in which Carreras served as producer. The project was part of the selection for the Rotterdam International Film Festival, and in 2022 the film was nominated for eight Ariel awards from the Mexican Academy of Film Arts and Sciences, including Best Film.

In 2017, Carreras joined the National System of Art Creators, a space that allowed her to work on the feature film screenplays La tía de Markin and Póstumo. Among other projects, she is also the creator of the screenplay and original plot of the fiction feature Todo el silencio debut film of director Diego del Río.

She is a founding member of Tinta, Sociedad de Escritores Audiovisuales y Cinematográficos de México, where she was the first President of the Board of Directors.

Mauricio Katz

Mauricio Katz

Mexican screenwriter and producer. In 2010, he wrote the film Miss Bala, which premiered in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival and was subsequently adapted by Sony Pictures. That same year, he co-wrote and played the role of showrunner in the series Niño Santo, which was adapted by Netflix.

In 2013, Katz moved to Los Angeles and worked on various TV shows like The Bridge (FX) and Maniac (Netflix), directed by Cary Fukunaga. This led to nominations for the 2019 PGA Awards and Writers Guild of America Awards. Katz is now under an exclusive contract with HBO, where he is gaining recognition for his contributions to Station Eleven and Perry Mason.

One of the highlights of Katz's career was his role as writer and executive producer on the Amazon original series ZeroZeroZero, which he co-created with Leonardo Fasoli and director Stefano Sollima.

Katz has developed television series for HBO, FX, STARZ, and Amazon. He has collaborated with renowned figures like Martin Scorsese, Benicio Del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón, Pablo Larraín, and Ari Aster.

Katz is currently working on the adaptation of Los detectives salvajes, based on the novel by Roberto Bolaño, in collaboration with El Estudio, a24, and Pastel. Additionally, Katz has several projects in various stages of development.

Ruth Atkinson

Ruth Atkinson

A script consultant and story editor. She has been helping screenwriters, directors, and producers tell their stories for over 20 years.

She has edited and provided guidance for award-winning short films, feature films, and television series. These works have been showcased at prestigious festivals like TIFF, Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, and SXSW, as well as in theaters globally and on various cable channels and streaming platforms in the United States.

In addition to mentoring individual projects, Ruth advises Project Involve, a diversity program by Film Independent. Here, she guides writers in developing their short film scripts. Ruth also serves as a narrative advisor for Film Independent's Screenwriters and Directors Labs, and as a creative advisor for Global Media Makers, a program promoting cultural exchange among filmmakers of Arab, Turkish, African, South African, and South Asian descent. Since its start in 2016, GMM has facilitated the production of over twenty award-winning films.

She is a facilitator and mentor for the prestigious Whistler Film Festival Screenwriters Lab, which takes place every year in Whistler, British Columbia. She is also a screenwriter mentor for the Saint John's International Women's Film Festival / RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award held annually in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Santiago Roncagliolo

Santiago Roncagliolo

He is one of the most widely read novelists of his generation in the Spanish language and a screenwriter with experience in productions in six countries. His novel Abril rojo won the Alfaguara Award and the British Independent Prize of Foreign Fiction. La pena máxima was a finalist for the French Violeta Negra Award. And Líbranos del mal remained the best-selling Peruvian novel for a year. His most recent novel, El año en que nació el demonio, is set in the obscurantist 17th century.

As a screenwriter, he has worked on the series Toda la Sangre (Lionsgate) Sutura (Amazon Brazil) and the documentary Muxes (HBO Max). He also wrote the film La Pena Máxima (Paramount +) based on his novel of the same name. His literary work has also inspired films in Spain (Pudor, directed by Tristán and David Ulloa) and Peru (Tus Amigos Nunca te Harían Daño, coming soon to Vix).

Víctor Medina

Víctor Medina

He studied Dramatic Literature and Theater at the UNAM. He has taught lectures and courses on Literary Criticism, Comparative Literature, Acting, Screenwriting, Dramatic Theory, and Theater History at different universities including UNAM, Universidad Iberoamericana, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Middlebury College in Vermont, USA, International Film and Television School of San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba, and Escuela de Escritores de la Sociedad General de Escritores de México, among others.

His professional experience includes working at the television company Televisa and the film production companies Arau Films, Kinema Films, and the Salvador Toscano Foundation. At the Salvador Toscano Foundation, he has worked as a consultant for television and film projects. Since 1986, he has held roles as an analyst and head of literary analysis at Televisa's Literary Resources Department. Additionally, he has guided the directors of the School of Writers and the Vice President of Production at Televisa.

In 2000, he served as a jury member for screenplays at the New Latin American Film Festival in Havana. He published the book of short novels Aposento vacío: historias de soledad in 1997, and the poetry books Piel de espuma and Palabra abierta in 2008. He co-authored the telenovela El Manantial produced by Televisa in 2001, and Mi pecado, produced in 2009. In 2015, he created the Mexican version of the television series Joan Sebastian: el poeta del pueblo, also produced that year. Additionally, he served as an advisor to screenwriters in the Third and Fourth Screenwriting Lab for Andean countries in the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, in 2015 and 2017. Since 2018, he has been a professor at the School of Dramatic Literature and Theater at UNAM.