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I’m Not Longer Here, a story about migration, an identity that sounds like slower cumbias

By: Gustavo R. Gallardo

I’m Not Longer Here (2019), by Fernando Frías de la Parra, was presented at the 17th edition of the Morelia International Film Festival as part of the Mexican Feature Films Section, with the presence of producers Alberto Muffelmann, Gerry Kim and actor Juan Daniel García.

After a misunderstanding with the owners of a local point of sale, their leader, Ulises, a 17-year-old member of a gang called Los Terkos, is forced to migrate to Jackson Heights, Queens, in New York, where he tries to adapt without sacrificing his cumbiera identity.

The story emerged from a literary contest that awards the Bengala/UANL Award, shortly after it became this story that was filmed in the Monterrey mountains and in New York. Although the common thread is that fragment in Ulises’ life, it makes a serious reflection on identity and migration.

Juan Daniel García, Fernando Frías de la Parra, Alberto Muffelmann

Juan Daniel García, Fernando Frías de la Parra, Alberto Muffelmann

On the musical concept of the film, the filmmaker said that “counterculture is fundamental and it should be respected and valued; in this case, I intend to use the slower cumbia as a sort of metaphor, an analogy between the shortness of youth in a place where there is a lack of opportunities and no social mobility, and with the idea of lengthening a song, of making it eternal.”

The film is located in the Monterrey mountains during the Calderonato, a violent period in Mexico. Frías de la Parra said that the songs that structure the film, “are a bit like a puzzle of which you don’t have a picture of what you’re going to put together and it gradually assembles; in the end you discover it was a hole and, for that, music is a vertebral column.”

Fernando Frías de la Parra

Fernando Frías de la Parra

Later, the red carpet of the film was carried out, where the director and part of the cast pareded, as well as some members of the production team.

Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Batel was in charge of presenting the screening and said he was excited to have Fernando Frías de la Parra back in the selection of the FICM.

During a questions and answers session, Frías said he wanted to reflect how the lack of opportunities can affect the golden age of the youth.

For their part, the actors were grateful to the director for the opportunity to enter this profession and they expressed their desire to continue working as actors.

Fernando Frías de la Parra

Fernando Frías de la Parra

Actor Bernardo Velasco, who was in charge of training the leading roles of the film, said that this was one of the most challenging experiences in his life because of the challenge of being able to find the people who would participate in this film.

Frías added that although they did not know each other, all the time they spent together during the preparation process, served to form this type of family that is reflected on the screen.