Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Michelangelo Antonioni dead at 94

ROME (AP) -- Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, whose depiction of alienation made him a symbol of art-house cinema with movies such as ''Blow-Up'' and ''L'Avventura,'' has died, officials and news reports said Tuesday. He was 94.
The ANSA news agency said that Antonioni died at his home on Monday evening.
''With Antonioni dies not only one of the greatest directors but also a master of modernity,'' Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said in a statement.
Antonioni depicted alienation in the modern world through sparse dialogue and long takes. Along with Federico Fellini, he helped turn post-war Italian film away from the Neorealism movement and toward a personal cinema of imagination.
In 1995, Hollywood honored his career work -- about 25 films and several screenplays -- with a special Oscar for lifetime achievement. By then Antonioni was a physically frail but mentally sharp 82, unable to speak but a few words because of a stroke but still translating his vision into film. The Oscar was stolen from Antonioni's home in 1996, together with several other film prizes.
His slow-moving camera never became synonymous with box-office success, but some of his movies such ''Blow-Up,'' ''Red Desert'' and ''The Passenger'' reached enduring fame.
His exploration of such intellectual themes as alienation and existential malaise led Halliwell's Film Guide to say that ''L'Avventura,'' Antonioni's first critical success, made him ''a hero of the highbrows.''
The critics loved that film, but the audience hissed when ''L'Avventura'' was presented at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. The barest of plots, which wanders through a love affair of a couple, frustrated many viewers for its lack of action and dialogue, characteristically Antonioni.
In one point in the black-and-white film, the camera lingers and lingers on Monica Vitti, one of Antonioni's favorite actresses, as she plays a blond, restless jet-setter.
''In the empty, silent spaces of the world, he has found metaphors that illuminate the silent places our hearts, and found in them, too, a strange and terrible beauty: austere, elegant, enigmatic, haunting,'' Jack Nicholson said in presenting Antonioni with the career Oscar. Nicholson starred in the director's 1975 film ''The Passenger.''
Antonioni was born on Sept. 29, 1912, in the affluent northern city of Ferrara. He received a university degree in economics and soon began writing critiques for cinema magazines.
Antonioni's first feature film, ''Story of a Love Affair'' (1950) was a tale of two lovers unable to cope with the ties binding them to their private lives.
But Antonioni grew more interested in depicting his characters' internal turmoil rather than their daily, down-to-earth troubles. The shift induced critics to call his cinema ''internal Neorealism.''
After the international critical acclaim of ''L'Avventura,'' which became part of a trilogy with ''The Night'' (1961) and ''Eclipse'' (1962), Antonioni's style was established. He steadily co-wrote his films and directed them with the recognizable touch of a painter. His signature was a unique look into people's frustrating inability to communicate and assert themselves in society.
On Oscar award night, his wife, Enrica Fico, 41 years his junior, and ''translator'' for him since his 1985 stroke, said: ''Michelangelo always went beyond words, to meet silence, the mystery and power of silence.''
The first success at the box office came in 1966 with ''Blow Up,'' about London in the swinging '60s and a photographer who accidentally captures a murder on film.
But Antonioni with his hard-to-fathom films generally found it hard to convince Italian producers to back him. By the end of the 1960s, he was looking abroad for funds. American backing helped produce ''Zabriskie Point'' (1970), shot in the bleakly carved landscape of Death Valley, California.
Asked by an Italian magazine in 1980, ''For whom do you make films'' Antonioni replied: ''I do it for it an ideal spectator who is this very director. I could never do something against my tastes to meet the public. Frankly, I can't do it, even if so many directors do so. And then, what public? Italian? American? Japanese? French? British? Australian? They're all different from each other.''
Using sometimes a notepad, sometimes the good communication he had with his wife and sometimes just his very expressive blue eyes, Antonioni astonished the film world in 1994 to make ''Beyond the Clouds,'' when ailing and hampered by the effects of the stroke.
With an international cast -- John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Irene Jacob, and Fanny Ardant -- the movie wove together three episodes based on Antonioni's book of short stories ''Quel Bowling sul Tevere'' (''Bowling on the Tiber'') to explore the usual Antonioni themes.
Worried that Antonioni would be too frail to finish the movie, investors had German director Wim Wenders follow the work, ready to step in if the Italian ''maestro'' couldn't go on. But Wenders wound up watching in awe and letting Antonioni put his vision on film.
Antonioni is survived by his wife. He had no children. ANSA said that a funeral would be held Thursday in Antonioni's hometown of Ferrara in northern Italy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Laszlo Kovacs, Hungarian Cinematographer

Legendary cinematographer Laszlo Kovacs, a Hungarian, has died. He was 74.

His films included Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Paper Moon, Shampoo, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Frances, Mask, and Miss Congeniality. He also worked on The Last Waltz and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Recently he was working on the documentary Torn from the Flag, about the 1956 Hungarian Revolution.

Kovacs died in his sleep at his Beverly Hills home on Sunday. He is survived by his wife, Audrey, Julianna and Nadia; and a granddaughter.

His family and friends are in our thoughts.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This Just In: New DVD Releases

Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures (Cinema, Aspirinas e Urubus), 2005, Mexico
To distance himself from Adolf Hitler and a war he philosophically opposes, a young German (Peter Ketnath) moves halfway around the world to Brazil, where he meets a hitchhiker (João Miguel) with his own motivations to keep moving. Together, they drive across the country making pit stops in various villages to sell the locals a "miracle" drug. Marcelo Gomes directs this multilingual Cannes Film Festival selection.

Django, 1966, Directed by Sergio Corbucci, Mexico/Italy
In a lawless frontier, a master gunman carries a dark secret -- and a coffin filled with chaos. Franco Nero stars as Django, a mysterious stranger caught up in the violent crossfire between Mexican bandits and sadistic vigilantes. This landmark classic is packed with indelible images and some of the most shocking brutality of any Spaghetti Western ever made. Fully restored from original camera negatives.

Morisma, 2006, directed by Edin Alain Martinez, Mexico
Throughout the Mexican states of Zacatecas and Jalisco, the Moors continue to hold traditional and religious celebrations that date back to medieval times; this documentary explores the rich history of these largely unknown Franciscan rituals. Following Moorish leader Hilario Espinosa, the film reveals a spiritual heritage that remains cherished and vital. The presentation also includes two documentary shorts, "Bracho" and "Burrito de Agua-Miel."

Sangre Costena (Coastal Blood ), 2002, directed by Amado Portillo Ortega, Mexico
Obsession and forbidden love spark a series of tragic events in the story of Isabel, a beautiful woman whose passionate nature tempts those who meet her. Having traveled from her small hometown to Mexico City, Isabel finds work as a maid for a powerful politician who soon becomes obsessed with her. The attraction is mutual, and Isabel surrenders herself to an illicit affair that leads to dangerous consequences.

The Guerrilla and the Hope: Lucio Cabanas (La Guerrilla y la esperanza: Lucio Cabañas), 2005 directed by Gerardo Tort, Mexico
Director Gerardo Tort's compelling documentary explores the life of Lucio Cabanas, a guerrilla leader who headed one of the most significant peasant revolts in Mexican history and became a figure of inspiration for the poor of southern Mexico. Revealing interviews from companions, family members, former guerrilla fighters and historians make obvious that Cabanas's story of courage and hope continues to live on.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Film Supporters

Last year when we began talking about launching Filmies, we did so for two reasons. We figured there was a group of film buffs out there that would be interested in getting together regularly, and we figured film was a good way for people to learn about the cultures in and around Fort Worth’s seven international Sister Cities.
I was reading some articles last week on Reuters and the BBC online and it made me think maybe there’s another more important reason we should support the Filmies group and film in general.
Film is an incredible vehicle for freedom of speech and perhaps an even more important spark for debate and discussion.
Reuters reported Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, launched its second film festival. That might be hum drum news in many places. But in Saudi Arabia there are no operating movie theaters due to governmental and religious restrictions. In fact at the festival launch announcement the Jeddah mayor carefully referred to it as the “Festival of Visual Art,” because a “film festival” sounds too risqué.
Meanwhile, the BBC reported that South Africa’s broadcasting entity, SABC, is attempting to block broadcast of a documentary that apparently reflects the South African president in a bad light. SABC is using copyright law as the foundation for the injunction, but critics say it’s because the broadcaster is soft on the administration.
We in the United States are much more used to freedom of speech. That’s not to say there can’t be abuses and rampant propaganda distributed. Many people dislike Michael Moore and view his films, such as “Sicko,” as nothing more than liberal propaganda. It has, however, caused the media and average people to talk about the state of healthcare and insurance in the United States.
Aside from being entertaining, film can be life changing and affirming.
And without the ability to view, educate, learn and discuss, how can we gain other viewpoints and understand other cultures. How can we become better citizens, leaders, families and friends?
How can we become better people?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This Just In: New DVDs

Yo-Yo Girl Cop, 2006, directed by Kenta Fukasaku, Japan
Aya Matsuura stars as K, a teenage delinquent from New York who's recruited by Japan's National Police Agency to thwart a terrorist plot by a group of anarchist private school students. When a credible threat traced back to the school appears on an underground Web site, K has 72 hours to save the day. Directed by Kenta Fukasaku, this action thriller also stars Rika Ishikawa, Shunsuke Kubozuka and Erika Miyoshi.

47 Ronin (Shijushichinin No Shikaku) 1994, directed by Kon Ichikawa, Japan
When their leader commits ritual suicide for dishonoring nobleman Kira (Kô Nishimura), 47 samurai warriors band together, vowing to avenge him. After spending a year preparing themselves for battle, they launch a massive attack against Kira and his army. Ken Takakura and Hisaya Morishige star in director Kon Ichikawa's sweeping version of the classic Japanese tale, inspired by true events.

Basic Tsukamoto, 2003, Japan
Filmmaker and actor Shinya Tsukamoto is one of the most celebrated cult figures in Japanese cinema. Creator of landmark films such as Tetsuo: The Iron Man and Gemini, Tsukamoto is revered not only in his home country, but around the globe as well. Join the renowned director as he recounts the evolution of his impressive career with archival footage of unreleased films, TV commercials and rarely seen recordings of his live shows.

Ciudad Juarez: Tan Infinito Como el Desierto, 2004, Mexico
Over the past decade, hundreds of women have been brutally murdered in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico -- deaths that for the most part remain unsolved. This miniseries dramatizes the tragedy, presenting it through the eyes of a young reporter. Searching the city for her nanny's missing daughter, the journalist and her boyfriend slowly begin to realize the magnitude of the crimes as they're drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery.

Demon Hunting, 2006, Japan
Miho Yabe heads the cast in this spine-chilling Japanese horror flick that follows a private school student whose disturbing visions of satanic activities on campus are blithely dismissed as figments of her imagination. But after one of her dreams gives rise to a gruesome death, she finds herself in a race against the clock -- can she stop the murderous demons before they claim another innocent victim?

Ghost Gate, 2006, Japan

A weekend outing in an old castle turns into a harrowing ordeal for six adventurous students when they unwittingly release a wicked quiescent presence in this hair-raising chiller starring Miho Yabe and Noko Ninomiya. After a succession of bizarre events, the horrifying truth about the spirit's past emerges -- and the petrified youngsters soon come face to face with their biggest fears and nastiest nightmares.

Ghost Train (Otoshimono), 2006, directed by Takeshi Furusawa, Japan
Erika Sawajiri, Chinatsu Wakatsuki and Shun Oguri co-star in this spooky sci-fi thriller based on the urban legend of the haunted train. High schooler Nana has plenty on her plate already -- including a sick mother and a looming graduation -- when her younger sister disappears. Desperate to find her, Nana and her friend Kanae encounter a series of bizarre phenomena during their search -- including a female spirit who inhabits the train platform.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Trippy Spice

Paprika is one trippy movie.
Filmies attended a showing last night at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
The entire movie is a series of crazy dream sequences. It’s a swashbuckling, stream-of-consciousness trippy movie.
Most of us really enjoyed it. It’s not a particularly deep movie, just fun.
Directed by Satoshi Kon, Paprika is based on a book by Yasutaka Tsutsui who also published a collection of short stories called "Salmonella Men on the Planet Porno" – what’s not to like about that title?
The plot summary on Wikipedia goes like this, “In the very near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. A device called the "DC Mini" allows the user to act as a "dream detective" and view inside people's dreams, exploring their unconscious thoughts. The head of the team working on this treatment, Dr. Atsuko Chiba who begins using the machine illegally to help psychiatric patients outside of the research facility, using her alter-ego "Paprika," a persona she assumes in the dream world. Paprika is literally a "dream girl," with her cute face and red hair, she is the more playful half of the serious, though attractive, Chiba. It also seems that Paprika is the most expert of these "dream detectives."
That description is a bit tedious. Check out the Paprika site on MySpace to learn more and hook up with Paprika obsessed fans.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ekskul Awards Revoked

Following months of protest by the Indonesian film community, the Indonesian National Film Advisory Board (BP2N) has withdrawn the Best Film and Best Director awards given to Ekskul and Nayato Fio Nuala.
The board announced its decision to revoke the awards at a June 28 news conference because the musical score was apparently lifted from several Hollywood movies.
The film was generally panned by critics “mainly due to its many plot holes, unrealistic settings and characterizations, overly-flashy editing style.” Still the film won the 2006 Indonesian Film Festival’s Citra Award for Best Picture.
The awards outraged many in the Indonesian film industry leading to protests and past winners returning their trophies.
The movie is about a high school student who is bullied by day and abused by his parents at home. He lashes back by taking students hostage. A 10-minute chunk is available on YouTube.
Nuala’s most recent film is Nagabonar Jadi 2, in which he starred as well as directed.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reggio Film Festival Last Call for Entries

The Reggio Film Festival has announced the theme for the sixth annual fest: Women.
The deadline for entries to the short film festival is July 28. The festival runs Sept. 27-29 held in Reggio, Italy. Reggio Emilia is one of Fort Worth’s seven international Sister Cities.

1. The 6th Reggio Film Festival is dedicated to the theme of Women
2. The competition is open to all short film filmmakers and includes the following sections:

Women - open to short-movies of 8.00' or less

Open Category - not limited to the theme, open to short-movies of 20.00’ or less

3. Movies must be sent in DVD format and will not be returned

4. There is no cost for applying and submit works

5. It's mandatory to send a copy with english or italian subtitles if the movie is not in italian

6. The DVD must be sent along with the application and (optional) a few photos from the movie, no later than the 28th of July (the postal print is a proof) to the following address:


c/o Vincenzo Campi

Centro Postale Operativo

via Piccard 14

42100 Reggio Emilia


7. The festival organizing committee will select the movies that will be shown at the September 2007 Festival, chosing the right section for each movie.

8. The committee reserves the right to use the films for other non-profit and cultural purposes although the copyrights belong to the authors.

9. The movies sent to the committee will not be returned and will be included in the video file of Reggio Film Festival and University of Modena and Reggio. The organizers are committed not to use the works for commercial purposes.

10. The following prizes will be given:

First Prize of 2000 euro for the best short-film about the theme of Women

Zavattini award offered by ARCI-UCCA to the best short-movies made in the style of Cesare Zavattini

People's choice award for the best short-movie in the Open Category section voted by the Reggio Film Festival audience

11. All filmmakers entering the Film Festival will receive the festival program and the awards-winners will be contacted by phone or e-mail. For info about your entry please contact the artistic direction or check the official website.

The acceptance of the whole regulations is mandatory to enter the competition; the final judgment on any controversy is up the Reggio Film Festival direction.

Monday, July 9, 2007

This Just In: New DVD Releases Ziyi Zhang

Princess Raccoon (Operetta tanuki gotten), 2005, directed by Seijun Suzuki, Japan
Love blooms in Seijun Suzuki's dreamlike musical, which chronicles the romance between Prince Amechiyo (Jô Odagiri) and a raccoon spirit (Ziyi Zhang) who's transformed herself into a beautiful woman. Banished by his jealous father, Prince Amechiyo wanders the forest until Princess Raccoon finds the handsome royal and takes him back to her magical castle. Hiroko Yakushimaru and Mikijiro Hira co-star in this joyfully extravagant production.

The Face of Another (Tanin No Kao), 1966, by Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan
A commentary on plastic surgery and self-image, Hiroshi Teshigahara's sci-fi drama centers on a man (Tatsuya Nakadai) who gets a new face after a horrible accident. But he soon learns that the lifelike mask he's donned comes with a terrible price. Meanwhile on the other side of town, a scarred young woman finds her own way of coping with facial disfigurement. Machiko Kyô, Miki Irie and Mikijiro Hira co-star.

Woman in the Dunes (Suna No Onna), 1964, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan
Hiroshi Teshigahara's award-winning drama centers on a bug expert (Eiji Okada) conducting research who's captured by locals. Held captive in a sandpit with a young widow, he struggles with his imprisonment -- and his growing attraction to the woman (Kyôko Kishida). Based on Kobo Abe's novel, the provocatively erotic allegorical film earned the Cannes Special Jury Prize and two Oscar nominations.

Pitfall (Otoshiana), 1962, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, Japan
Hiroshi Teshigahara's crime drama mixes murder, the supernatural and postwar commentary into an eerie tale about a Japanese miner (Hisashi Igawa) who's stalked by a ghostly man in white (Kunie Tanaka) with one intent: to imprison the down-and-out laborer in a ghost town. The plot moves deeper into sociopolitical realms as rival union leaders try to solve a mystery surrounding the miner. Kazou Miyahara co-stars as the miner's son.

Amor Xtremo (Extreme Love) 2006, directed by Chava Cartas, Mexico
Two brothers embark on a life-changing course when Sebastián (Aarón Díaz) persuades his older brother -- who quit bike racing after an accident -- to join him in his quest to become a professional racer. The siblings soon set off for Sin City for a motocross event, where they push themselves to the limit. Irán Castillo, Plutarco Haza and Ximena Sariáana also star in director Chava Cartas' adrenaline-fueled action adventure.

Bodyguard Kiba 2: Combat Apocalypse, 1993, directed by Takashi Mike, Japan
Prolific director Takashi Miike (Audition, Dead or Alive) helms this bloody martial arts thriller. When Naoto Kiba (Hisao Maki) takes on a new security job to earn money for the upkeep of his dojo, he unwittingly finds himself matched up against the Soryu-kai -- the most dangerous gang in all of Okinawa. And to make matters worse, Kiba finds himself falling for his client's beautiful girlfriend, Yoko -- also a target of the Soryu-kai.

Hana & Alice (Hana to Arisu), 2004, directed by Shunji Iwai, Japan
A seemingly innocent scheme to trick a cute boy into believing he has amnesia causes a rift between 15-year-old schoolgirls Hana (Anne Suzuki) and Alice (Yû Aoi). After the boy suffers a bump on the head, the more unconventional-looking Hana succeeds in convincing their confused target that she's his longtime girlfriend. But when he begins to show a preference for the prettier and more popular Alice, the girls' friendship starts to sour.

Mujer Coqueta, 2007, Mexico
A greedy beauty who manipulates men for their money sees her luck run out when she's kidnapped by a rival gang bent on destroying her father's drug ring. The femme fatale's flirty ways won't help this time, and it's up to her husband to rescue her. But the task won't be easy as the husband -- a simple rancher -- must pose as a drug dealer to save his wife. This crime thriller stars Oscar Traven and Abraham Ramos.

Von Donnersmarck Supports Cruise Film

Academy Award-winning director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has joined the chorus of protests against the German government blocking filming of a film about an attempted assassination of Adolph Hitler.

Von Donnersmarck slammed the government in an ad in the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The film, Valkyrie, directed by Bryan Singer, would star Tom Cruise as Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg who was involved in a failed assassination of Hitler.

According to the Deutsche Welle, “While some German politicians have said that Cruise, 44, is unwelcome because of his involvement with the Church of Scientology, officials have said that the decision to prevent filming at the Bendlerblock, now part of the defense ministry, was unconnected with the star's beliefs and was based purely on the disruption it would cause.”

Von Donnersmarck countered that the government for wasting "a golden opportunity," and that the film would promote Germany's image "more than 10 soccer World Cups."

Friday, July 6, 2007

Spikey Italian

Director Spike Lee is scouting locations in Italy for his upcoming movie on African American soldiers fighting in World War II.
The movie is based on the book “Miracle at St. Anna” by James McBride. Lee expects to begin shooting next year at Rome’s Cinecitta Studios with locations in the United States and Tuscany, Italy.
Roberto Cicutto and Luigi Musini, executive producers on Hotel Rwanda, are slated to produce and the film is estimated to cost $45 million.
“This is a wonderful story and what makes it even more wonderful is that it is based upon true incidents,'' Lee told media. “If you look at the history of Hollywood, the black soldiers who fought World War II are invisible”
McBride’s book tells the story of an all-black infantry division trapped in a small Italian village behind enemy lines. The soldiers teamed with locals to fight. Nearly a quarter of the 15,000 African American soldiers died in Italy during the war.
Lee’s movies generally focus on racial themes. Among his most famous are Malcom X and Do The Right Thing.
Casting has not been settled, but there are lead parts for four African American actors, plus German and Italians. Lee said the crew will be largely Italian.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Apply Here for Film Funding

The Global Film Initiative is seeking applicants for the fall feature-film cycle of grants. The GFI, an U.S.-based non-profit, awards grants twice a year to filmmakers whose works “exhibit artistic excellence, authentic self-representation and accomplished storytelling, while contributing to the development of local film industries and offering audiences a variety of cultural perspectives on daily life around the world.”
Grants of up to $10,000 for each applicant are available in this cycle. Application deadline is Sept. 30, 2007.
The Global Film Initiative accepts grant applications from countries in the following regions: Latin America, The Caribbean, Africa, The Middle East, Asia (excluding Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan), and Oceania (excluding Australia and New Zealand).
Of Love and Eggs (Rindu kami padamu), directed by Garin Nugroho of Indonesia, was a recent recipient and is currently showing around the country.
For Applications & Guidelines, please visit:www.globalfilm.org/granting.htm.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

This Just In: New DVDs

The Taste of Tea (Cha No Aji), 2004, directed by Katsuhito Ishii – Japan
Director Katsuhito Ishii's whimsical episodic tale chronicles a summer in the lives of the quirky Haruno clan, who passes the unhurried days trying to realize their ambitions. As Mom (Satomi Tezuka) attempts to revive her career, her hypnotherapist hubby (Tomokazu Miura) practices on the family. Meanwhile, their pubescent son (Takahiro Sato) feels the pangs of love, and their 6-year-old daughter (Maya Banno) grapples with a pesky dopplegänger.

Look to the Sky (Jon ache Visse Nella Balena), 1993, directed by Roberto Faenza – Germany/Italy
A Jewish boy struggles to survive when he and his parents are thrown into a German concentration camp during World War II in this touching drama that explores the Holocaust from the perspective of a young Dutch child. As Jona (played by Luke Petterson and Jenner Del Vecchio) grows up in the midst of horror, he tries to retain his humanity by clinging to his family and to his fading memories of a world where kindness is not a rarity.

Sodom the Killer (Sodomu no Ichi), 2004, directed by Hiroshi Takahashi, Japan
When his bride dies during the wedding, Lord Sodomu Ichibei kills two innocent girls in a vengeful rampage. Fast-forward 300 years to the present-day wedding of Ichibei's descendant Sodomu Ichiro, who will pay dearly for his ancestor's sins. The ghosts of Ichibei's victims return in unexpected places, prompting a matrimonial massacre that will drive Ichiro to unprecedented depths of despair and wrath. Takashi Urai plays both Sodomu men.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Mexico Pursues Major Studios

The Mexican national film institute has dissolved Conafilm – the National Film Commission – and created a new office for promoting Mexican films and developing addtional world-class studios.

A new division of the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografia (Imcine) has been created to provide logistical aid to foreign and domestic producers and will manage a catalog of local film service providers and a photo bank of locations, provide consulting services and act as a liaison with local governments, according to Variety’s Michael O’Boyle.

The Mexican Film Union last year were unhappy with Conafilm’s management and apparently political pressure led to it's elimination.
Imcine is charged with developing the country’s infrastructure and creating new studio facilities within a few years. The country’s film industry relies on Estudios Churubusco Azteca in Mexico City – the only major facility in Mexico – for Hollywood-style productions such as William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.