The Ambulante Documentary Film Festival is back with an impressive and ambitious eighth edition that will include 1,117 screenings and 1,258 events, 29 open-air screenings and 140 venues.
The festival will tour 11 states, from February 8 to May 9 of 2013: Mexico City (February 8-21), Guerrero (February 22-28), Puebla (March 1-7), Veracruz (March 8-14), Baja California (March 15-21), Nuevo León (March 29- April 4), Coahuila (April 5-11), Jalisco (April 12-18), Michoacán (April 19-25), Chiapas (April 26 – May 2) and Oaxaca (May 3 – 9).
The festival kicks off tonight, February 7, with the open-air screening of Searching for Sugar Man, directed by Malik Bendjelloul, at 7:30 PM at Plaza San Jerónimo (Col. Centro, between 5 de Febrero and Isabel la Católica).
A thoughtful and inspired director’s note by Elena Fortes opens the festival catalogue, setting the tone for what promises to be a mammoth season.
We finally drew the curtain on 2012, a year marked by exhilarating springs and turbulent winters. Since the onset of the Tunisian Revolution in 2010, seasons have entered our political discourse as metaphors to describe the changes in geopolitical configurations. The resulting global “atmosphere,” charged with creative energy and a contagious sense of empowerment, has given rise to a singular form of activism—one that is able to effect a greater impact through a strategic appropriation of interactive resources and alternative forms of protest.
We have chosen to honor this spirit of creative revolution by structuring our program for 2013 around the notion of liberation. The films included in the selection address individual processes and collective actions that transcend a variety of limitations. Many of the films focus on more intimate processes of liberation. Documentary seems to be drifting away from totalizing claims about the world order and the delivery of factual information, and moving toward more personal stories that belong to private realms, and are perhaps more successful in unveiling certain aspects of our nature. It is often through daily rituals and small gestures that we are able to better assimilate our humanity.
Our idea of liberation also celebrates irreverence in documentary. Recent experiments within the nebulous domain of nonfiction defy categorization, not only in terms of form but in terms of the chosen medium of production and exhibition. New platforms are challenging the conventions of storytelling and the ideas of authorship and audience. Interactive documentaries and documentary practice across other cultural expressions, such as theater and performance, have radically reset the possibilities for the future development of the genre.
Highlights of this year’s program include a tribute to Chris Marker and a retrospective of his work. One of the most prolific and enigmatic figures in film history, Marker’s radical approach to cinema and desire to probe film frontiers have inspired countless contemporary filmmakers working in both fiction and nonfiction modes. A publication of collected essays and reflections on his life and work that includes contributions by notable filmmakers, critics, programmers and scholars will serve as a literary counterpart to this retrospective. Our Enfoque section this year will celebrate cinematic introversion, featuring self-reflexive films that draw attention to the medium. Injerto will be devoted to the legacy of Cinema 16—the famous film society that changed the course of independent cinema and brought works of the avant-garde to the big screen.
Ambulante Beyond will feature the ten projects completed throughout the first year of this new initiative. For the third year in a row, Ambulante will participate in the Vive Latino Music Festival, with a program specially curated by a select group of musicians, including Quique Rangel (Café Tacvba), Amandititita, Adanowsky, Rodrigo Guardiola (Zoé), Saúl Hernández (Caifanes) and Julieta Venegas.
Whichever term or form applies to documentary today, at its core, there is always a story built from the real. We sometimes fail to acknowledge that we are ourselves our own story, our own construction. Stories are part of how we interpret ourselves, our past and our future, and are ultimately what transcend us. We thereby encourage you to join us on our eighth journey and partake in the construction of the story of Ambulante. Our heartfelt gratitude goes to all the extraordinary people that have made this journey possible: our generous partners, sponsors, collaborators, volunteers, filmmakers, friends, correspondents, colleagues, and our remarkable audience.