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Xavi Sala presented Xquipi’ Guie’dani at the 16th FICM

By: Azul Ramírez @azulartx

Director Xavi Sala presented his first feature film, Xquipi ‘Guie’dani, at a press conference. The movie is part of the Mexican Feature Film Section of the 16th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM). He was accompanied by actresses Sótera Cruz, Valentina Buzurro and Érika López.

The film portrays the story of Guie’dani, a Zapotec indigenous girl, and her mother, who start working for a wealthy family in Mexico City. The little one does not adapt and becomes problematic. Everything changes when she meets Claudia, a rebellious girl with whom she develops an intense relationship.

Sala said that the story came from his full identification with the struggle of our culture and traditions. “I had the need to make a full identity film, and when I got to know the Zapotec community, I connected with them and their fight against taboo subjects that I myself have experienced since I was a child. Many of the phrases that appear in the film were things I was told when I was little, children have been disconnected from the language for fear of rejection”.

Regarding the casting choice, the young actress Sótera Cruz confessed to having attended without her grandmother’s permission: “I lied to her when I attended the casting because I told her I was going to do homework, then they called her and told her that I had the role. My grandmother did not want it because Juchitán, Oaxaca, is a very insecure place and felt unsure, I also had to miss school, but I was able to convince her and my dad”.

Xavi Sala said that when casting, the actors “did not like the idea of having to leave their community, it took me two years to find Sótera, but we worked so hard that an absolute chemistry was created.”

“The work with the actresses was very intuitive. To me, the casting is the most important thing after the script, the actors are part of the great success that you show in your films,” he said.

Érika López, who plays Guie’dani’s mother, said she was thrilled to have acted in the film because they haven’t been recognized in Xadani (Oaxaca), where she is from and where part of the film’s history is developed: “We represent people who day after day fight for our language due to issues of fear or shame to be looked down on”.

Xquipi ‘Guie’dani was part of Impulso Morelia at the 15th FICM, where she won the Cinépolis Distribución Award. She was also selected by the Sundance Laboratory of Oaxaca (Mexico).