Gloomy Mexican mining town chosen for `morbid´ movie festival
Tlalpujahua, Michoacán, October 23 to 26, 2008
Associated Press/The News
Tlalpujahua, a sparsely populated one-time major mining community in the state of Michoacán, is the perfect backdrop for the “Festival Internacional de Cine Fantástico y de Terror, Mórbido” since it has its own legacy of mystery tales, an organizer said this week.
“After a dam broke in 1937, burying the town in mud and minerals, stories began to be told like `The Headless Monk,´ `The Phantom Miner,´ `The Lady in White´ . Every resident of Tlalpujahua has a story to tell,” said festival director Pablo Guisa at a press conference in Mexico City.
He added that he and co-director Miguel Angel Marín chose the mining town for the “Morbid, International Fantastical and Horror Film Festival,” scheduled to run from Oct. 23-26, because they wanted to “offer a new and different setting to viewers who like this kind of cinema.”
With the caveat that this event is not the first of its kind in Mexico since the “Macabre Film Festival” already exists, Guisa said organizers are confident that not only local residents will attend screenings, but that “bit by bit we can build a different kind of festival, since we have everything going for us.”
Guisa said that 14 horror films are planned. Seven are Mexican productions. He added that one Mexican film will be premiering during the event and most of the screenings will be of terror and fantastical movies from the 1950s in Mexico.
The films were important in their time, or later became cult movies, Guisa said, He refrained from providing titles.
“The goal in this first edition of `Mórbido´ is not only to be a serious option for horror film lovers and people who are knowledgeable about the genre, and a meeting point for creators and actors, but also to nurture the curiosity of viewers who are avid to get to know and see other options,” he said.
The director added that the hope is also that the Tlalpujahua event could spark more horror films and organizers have invited as many directors of these kind of movies as possible, including some from Argentina and Spain, so they can share their filmmaking experiences with the audience.
The idea in future Mórbido festivals is to open competitions for features, shorts and videos, and also provide recognition for production work and art, which are crucial elements in horror films, Guisa said. Another contest planned for the following editions of the festival is the “Horror Minute.”
Tlalpujahua, which has been designated a “Puebla Mágica,” or “Magical Town,” by the Tourism Secretariat, is also an entry point for visitors traveling to the monarch butterfly sanctuary in Michoacán.
The festival director said town landmarks will be film-screening venues, such as the Teatro Obrero, the municipal auditorium, the local convent and public plazas, with the intention that filmgoers will be able to truly absorb the dark, gloomy and cold atmosphere of Tlalpujahua.
In remarks to the Associated Press, Guisa said that horror films are the only genre with a real following the world over. “There are no fan clubs, nor as much enthusiasm, for example, for musical comedies, not even for dramatic films as a genre, as happens with terror and fantastical films,” he said.
The fascination with these movies is because they “unleash a gut reaction that does not necessarily have to do with reason, but rather with the purest and deepest human condition: its fears – of dying, of the unknown, of other dimensions,” said Antonio Camarillo, a film critic who is advisor to the festival.
And although there´s a very fine line between a good horror movie and a bad one, Guisa said the selections made for the Tlalpujahua festival will be pleasing to the audience.
The event is being sponsored by the Mexican Institute of Cinematography, the Michoacán government, the National Council for Culture and the Arts and local authorities.
-Translated and edited by Angela Moscarella