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A Community Speaks

A country's revolution as seen by ten of its best filmmakers ― reporting from the Campus' panel "Mexican Filmmakers Joining Forces" with the authors of REVOLUCIÓN.

“This is the first time we’ve had ten people on stage for a panel!”, moderator Mike Goodridge quipped at the start of “Revolución: Mexican Filmmakers Joining Forces.” In the forum, the men and women behind the compilation film REVOLUCIÓN (MEXICO) shared how they worked on the special project and what it means to each of them. Present were producer Pablo Cruz and nine of the filmmakers behind the project, including, Carlos Reygadas, Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo García, Diego Luna and Patricia Riggen.

Goodridge opened the discussion by asking the producer exactly what he required from his ten directors. “I gave each of them an amount of money and told them to make a video that reflects what the revolution in Mexico means to them,” Cruz said. “The only restrictions I gave them was that each movie had to be around ten minutes and that they had to be contemporary.”

Canana, the production house behind the project, is the brainchild of actors and long-time friends Bernal and Luna. “It is a platform and workshop to put our ideas into fruition – just like this one,” Luna shared. “We wanted to celebrate the centenary of the Mexican revolution through a film.” He went on to talk about his segment in REVOLUCIÓN, describing the biggest difficulty he encountered: firing his lead actress who refused to do particular scenes in the script. That forced him to think on his feet on set and create an entirely new story from scratch.

“I tapped into my childhood for mine”, Bernal said of his segment entitled LUCIO – a story of a young boy reflecting on the real meaning of patriotic symbols in Mexico. “In a way, I wanted to draw out how the revolution hindered my own personal awakening.”

Award-winning director Reygadas, whose segment THIS IS MY KINGDOM featured a community celebrating a feast in the countryside, explained the importance of the project on cultural identity. “We never really ask what Mexico is all about”, he said. “I wanted it to be a reflection of who we really are.” When asked to describe Mexico in a single word, Rodrigo García answered: “I cannot answer your question because it’s just impossible to describe Mexico. There’s just too much about it – I can’t even begin to do that.”

“The danger about explaining our work is that we can fall into the trap of demagogy”, Bernal reminded the audience in the latter part. “It’s much better that you have your own interpretations of the film and of Mexico.”

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