For the eighth year in a row, the Festival Internacional de Cine en Guadalajara (FICG) presents the Premio Maguey, focusing on LGBTQ themed movies.
Nowadays it’s not uncommon to find international film festivals that recognize movies with the theme of sexuality, (Queer Lion at the Venice international film fest, Teddy at the Berlin International Film Festival, Sebastiane at the San Sebastián International Film Festival). However, it is rare for a Latin American festival to celebrate the genre.
When Premio Maguey began eight years ago it wasn’t as easy to access LGBTQ films as now, with so much content available through online streaming.
The title “Maguey” was chosen because of the play on words, with “gay” being pronounced in the second syllable of the famous plant of Jalisco. The films were well received from the onset and consequently allowed FICG to create alliances with other festivals that show Queer cinema, attracting well-known directors, actors and filmmakers.
This year there are 16 feature films in the race to win the award and narrowing the selection down to that number is not easy, since hundreds of movies are submitted each year.
Premio Maguey Content Director and Programmer Pavel Cortés told the Reporter that the success of this section of the festival is helped by the existence of a large audience demographic in Guadalajara.
A carefully selected international jury is invited to decide the best film and the best performance, Cortés said. “Their expertise is what gives credibility to the award.”
The selection committee tries to include films that reveal every aspect of sexuality – not just stories about gay men, Cortés explained.
The movies chosen this year have diverse themes such as human rights, liberty, friendship and love – highlighting the value of acceptance and being oneself.
Another aspect of this award is that unlike the rest of the festival which focuses mostly on Iberoamerican movies, Premio Maguey is international and includes films from all over the world. This year there are films from 21 countries. Cortés stressed the importance of showing different perspectives of sexuality that can uniquely differ amongst each culture so viewers can “see how sexuality is conceived or accepted depending on the place that it is set in.”
Every year is different because the tone of the award and all the content surrounding it depends on the current climate and what is happening in the world with regards to the LGBTQ community. As society’s perception and definition of sexuality evolves so does the depiction of it in art, culture and film. Thus each edition of the award is different.
This edition of the award begins with the screening on Saturday, March 9 of “Mapplethorpe,” a movie based on the life of the renowned artist Robert Mapplethorpe starring Hari Nef, Matt Smith and Brian Stokes Mitchell. The 30th anniversary of his death falls on the very same date. After learning this, Cortés said he immediately knew this would be the movie at the opening gala. Complimenting the film will be an event called “Fetish” at Teatro Estudio Cavaret, featuring a photo exhibition. Contestants submitted photographs in the artist’s style as an homage to his work.
According to Cortés, the most important thing about the Premio Maguey is that “people make an effort to go and participate.” He’s grateful for all those who have ventured to the festival in the past and welcomes all who want to see this year’s options.
Download the full program at ficg.mx.