Sarajevo Film Festival Guests Present

Filmoteca Unam and San Cristobal International Film Festival

Filmoteca UNAM –the film archive of the National University of Mexicohas been rescuing, restoring, preserving and promoting Mexican and/or Mexico’s related films over 56 years. It has achieved a status that makes it one of the most important film archives in Latin America.

The San Cristobal International Film Festival is a young and small festival seeking to generate collective dialogue, reflection, discussion and knowledge around key issues such as cultural and ethnic diversity, social inclusion, human rights and the environment. We believe films are a splendid opportunity to encourage debate in a context of deep commitment to our societies’ diverse and urgent issues.

San Cristobal is a small city in the heart of southern Mexico, intensely connected to the world due to its cultural and social turmoil; where intellectuals and creators of various kinds and nationalities, as well as a restless demanding population, all converge.

The presentation is possible thanks to the generous support of the International Federation of Film Archives and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mexico), through the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation.

From Mexico: Music for Eisenstein (Fragments of ¡Que viva México!)

After the Mexican Revolution in the 1930s, intellectuals and artists from all over the world came to Mexico to observe and participate in the Mexican culture, both ancient and emerging; among them were three soviets who arrived from the United States: Sergei Eisenstein, Eduard Tisse and Grigori Aleksandrov.

Due to the prestige of their extraordinary work in film in their country, they had been hired by Paramount Pictures to make a new film in Hollywood, of which only a script was finalized. They came to Mexico on recommendation of Charles Chaplin, funded by the American writer Upton Sinclair. Through 1931 they filmed several sequences that Eisenstein never edited. Sinclair stopped the funding and the three soviets were forced to return to the USSR without fully achieving their goal: a complete film on the Mexican culture, latter called ¡Que Viva Mexico! The footage –over 150,000 feet of film- remained in storage in the New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and was eventually displayed in several films, which were not very successful. It was not until the 1970’s when through a fortunate agreement with Gosfilmofond –the Soviet Union Film Archive- Aleksandrov edited a version of ¡Que Viva México! based on Eisenstein’s writings and, above all, his own memories.

After that, a print of the Aleksandrov’s version was given in donation by the Russian film archive to the Filmoteca UNAM. There, they selected three representative sections: Sandunga, Maguey and Day of the Dead; the resulting edition represents Eisenstein’s perception and vision, impregnated with the poetry, the luminosity, as well as the drama of the Mexican landscape.

Sergei Eisenstein was a common writer over his creative processes. Allusions to sound and music to set what could have been ¡Que Viva México! are described in travel stories, comments on photos, letters and memories that the author kept among his possessions. Inspired by this documents, the research El nacimiento de ¡Que Viva México! by Mexican academic Aurelio de los Reyes, and also considering the various editions of the film made over time, as well as Olivier Debroise’s reflection expressed in his film Un banquete en Tetlapayac, a score proposal was created by Mexican musician José María Serralde and his ensemble, resorting to the imaginary of the Mexican decades of 1920’s and 1930’s. The score integrates traditional music fragments with quotes of passages by Carlos Chávez and Silvestre Revueltas, incorporating resources typical of Miguel Bernal Jiménez and Pablo Moncayo as well, contrasting them with Russian themes by Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev.

The music commissioned for the screening of these extracts of ¡Que Viva México!, edited by Filmoteca UNAM in Sarajevo International Film Festival will be a performance based on this guiding score allowing improvisation and invention by the performers.

The Ensamble Cine Mudo was founded by José María Serralde Ruíz in 1998 and specializes in setting live music to silent films and other multidisciplinary arts, performing at festivals and forums in Mexico, Canada and Italy. It summons musicians and instrumental provisions in accordance with the aesthetics of the era and the nationality of each film, for historically informed performances.

Sergei Mikhaylovich Eisenstein was born in Riga, Latvia in 1898, was one of the most world-renowned filmmakes and film theorists of the first half of the 20th century. His films were revolutionary in their style and content, combining images of immense graphic force with unprecedented editing.

Morelia International Film Festival (FICM)

The Morelia International Film Festival (FICM) has contributed in a sustained and successful way to the dissemination and projection of Mexican cinema on an international level. Impulso Morelia emerged in 2015 as a natural result of the festival’s ongoing effort to increase the visibility of Mexican cinema internationally, to stimulate an exchange of ideas, and to promote the sharing of expertise between Mexican filmmakers and industry professionals.

Impulso Morelia includes a program of films in post-production that are presented exclusively to leading figures from the film industry, offering a unique opportunity for reflection, as well as for the promotion and circulation of projects.

Tempestad, by the extraordinary Mexican director Tatiana Huezo, was one of the films selected at the first ever edition of Impulso Morelia. Since then the film has received widespread critical acclaim, and screened at numerous festivals. We are delighted to be presenting Tempestad as part of our strong and established partnership with the Sarajevo Film Festival, with the assurance that it will be enjoyed and appreciated by the festival’s demanding public.