Founded in 2000 as the Voladero International Film and Video Festival, the Monterrey International Film Festival (MIFF) not only promotes the film culture in Monterrey but also brings together the viewpoints of a great many filmmakers who meet in Monterrey each year. Each year the festival invites a guest country with an important cinematographic tradition – and this year, that country was Canada.
The MIFF is the most important film festival in Northern Mexico and one of the country’s most important cultural events. Inspired by the idea that film is a medium that reflects the values, traditions and characteristics of cultures around the world, promoting understanding, trust and peace among nations, MIFF has screened more than a thousand films from all five continents and has hosted the active participation of many international filmmakers in festival events.
With an exciting program of recent Canadian films, the MIFF opened to an audience of over 1400 film lovers in Monterrey. In addition to the 96-minute National Film Board showcase of animated shorts, the festival featured Canadian films from a vast range of genres in both English and French.
The roster of English flicks included Bruce McDonald’s Trigger, Sturla Gunnarsson’s David Suzuki documentary Force of Nature, Jeff Prosserman’s Chasing Madoff, and William Phillips’ cowboy comedy Gunless, starring former Due South star Paul Gross. Audiences were also given a taste of the rich tradition of French Canadian films with Sébastien Pilote’s Le Vendeur, Patrick Demers’ psychological thriller Jaloux, and Léa Pool’s La dernière fugue.
Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski was a guest of honour at the MIFF Opening Ceremony, in which Claude Joli-Coeur, Assistant Commisioner of the National Film Board of Canada, received the prestigious Cabrito de Plata (Silver Goat) Award for the NFB’s contribution to film. Other special Canadian guests at the festival were Producer Niv Fichman; Animator Marv Newland; and Counsellor for the Vancouver International Film Festival, Colin Browne. The next evening, the Festival offered a Canada cocktail on the rooftop of the Habita Hotel, to celebrate Canada’s role in the festival with the Consulate General and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Monterrey.
Together with a food festival organized by the Consulate General of Canada in Monterrey, the MIFF highlighted Canada’s rich culture and underlined the fruitful partnership between Canada and the City of Monterrey, Mexico. The food festival featured Canadian Chef Shadi El-Jaouni’s special dishes with Canadian ingredients, which were enjoyed by film and food lovers alike throughout the week.
Afterwards, the NFB’s Canadian Film Showcase travelled to Mexico City, where the films were shown at the Cineteca Nacional (National Cinemathèque) in a special Mexico City edition of the Monterrey International Film Festival – celebrating Canada’s relationship with Mexico and revelling in the love of film shared by Mexicans, Canadians, and individuals all around the world.