Friday, 22 February 2008


24 UK Premieres for ¡VIVA!

Debut UK screenings of Gael García Bernal's DÉFICIT, Jonás Cuarón's AÑO UÑA and Ricardo Darín's LA SEÑAL amongst the premieres at the 14th ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, which happens from Thursday 6 to Sunday 16 March 2008 at the Cornerhouse, Manchester.
A grand total of 24 UK Premieres have been announced as part of ¡Viva! Spanish and Latin American Film Festival, a fiesta of film taking place at Cornerhouse, Manchester between Thursday 6 - Sunday 16 March 2008. Brand new productions arrive on British shores featuring the brightest directorial and acting talent from countries including Spain, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia and represent the cutting edge in Hispanic features, documentaries and shorts.
The 14th year of ¡Viva! bursts into life with the UK Premiere of BAJO LAS ESTRELLAS (UNDER THE STARS) (Thu 6 March) with director Félix Viscarret travelling to Manchester to introduce the heart-warming, and in places tragic, tale of Benito (Alberto San Juan), a drink-soaked musician returning to his small home town from a new life in Madrid.  Faced with family tragedy, the most unlikely new relationships start to blossom.
DÉFICIT (Fri 14 & Sun 16 March), the directorial debut from acclaimed Mexican actor Gael García Bernal (THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN) also hits British screens for the first time at ¡Viva!  Bernal explores issues of race, class and privilege via Cristobal, the spoiled son of wealthy parents who have fled corruption charges leaving their son in a hedonistic spiral. Drug problems, interrupted seductions and his friendship with an 'uppity' young gardener threaten to wreck his paradise.
Jonás Cuarón (son of Alfonso Cuarón, director of Y TU MAMA TAMBIÉN) makes a glowing debut with AÑO UÑA (THE YEAR OF THE NAIL) (Sat 15 & Sun 16 March). The director took a year's worth of personal photographs and assembled them into a fictitious narrative and the result is this lively and inventive coming of age tale centred around a young Mexican embarking on his first, doomed seduction. Award-winning actor Ricardo Darín (previously seen in 9 QUEENS) took over the reins to direct Argentine hit LA SEÑAL (Wed 12 & Sun 16 March) after the original director, Eduardo Mignona, died during pre-production. The result of his efforts is a moody, traditional noir. Set during the Peronista era, as Evita's life ebbs, the film recreates fifties Buenos Aires beautifully through colour-drained design and cinematography.
A clutch of Mexican firsts come courtesy of Ambulante, Mexico's annual touring documentary festival programmed by Canana, the production company run by Gael García Bernal, Pablo Cruz, and Diego Luna. From this year's selection of 4 films there is a look at a generation of thieves that were widely successful and equally notorious in 60s Mexico (LOS LADRONES VIEJOS: LAS LEYENDAS DEL ARTEGIO (THE OLD THIEVES: THE LEGENDS OF ARTEGIO) - Thu 13 & Sun 16 March) and an investigation into the murder of hundreds of women in Mexico's Ciudad Juárez through interviews with grieving parents, journalists and, most tellingly, female government officials (BAJO JUÁREZ: LA CUIDAD DEVORANDO A SUS HIJAS (THE CITY DEVOURING ITS DAUGHTERS) - Sun 9 & Wed 12 March). 
Guests confirmed to visit ¡Viva! this year include: 60s music star Dave Berry (theme song - PÁRPADOS AZULES), Ernesto Contreras (director - PÁRPADOS AZULES), Luis Ospina (director - UN TIGRE DEL PAPEL), Sebastián Silva (Director - EL VIAJE DE LA NONNA), Inés Efron (actress - XXY), Martin Piroyansky (actor - XXY),  Jaume Balagueró (director - [Rec]), Néstor Domènech (producer - LO BUENO DE LLORAR)  Eduardo Chapero-Jackson (European Film Awards winner for ALUMBRAMIENTO and associate producer on THE OTHERS), Txema Muñoz (KIMUAK shorts), Jaime Marques Olarreaga (director - LADRONES) and Nacho Vigalondo (director - TIMECRIMES).
For a full list of ¡Viva! films and events including UK Premieres and special guests, a PDF version of the festival brochure is available via this link.