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Michel Franco wins awards, not money

He is the first Mexican to compete in Berlin, Cannes and Venice in the same year.
He is a self-taught filmmaker and devoted 10 years of his career to advertising (Photo: Carlos Mejía/EL UNIVERSAL)
08/08/2015
10:52
César Ortiz Huerta / Mexico City
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The past six months have been quite eventful for Michel Franco. In February, his movie "600 Miles" won the Berlinale; he got the Cannes Palme for Best Screenplay for "Chronic" and last week they announced the participation of "From Beyond," a movie he produced, in the Venice Film Festival.

A Mexican had never managed to be in the three most important festivals in the world with different projects in the same year. Also, and perhaps as important, Franco can say that he lives from cinema, albeit modestly.

For his first films as director, "Daniel and Ana" and "After Lucía," which also won at Cannes, as well as "In the Eyes," to be premiered next year, he was forced to put money from his pockets.

It was until "600 Miles," starring Tim Roth and directed by his partner Gabriel Ripstein (son of Arturo Ripstein), produced in 2014, that he was able to get some money back from their work.

"Everything we have accomplished this year is because I worked more than 10 years, really speeded-up and obsessed with making films.

"I would like to shoot, if I could, one film every year. This 2015 is a result of those 10 years and a great deal of preparation together with Gabriel and Lorenzo (Vigas, the director of "From Beyond"). It is madness," he expressed hours after his arrival in Mexico, after almost three months abroad.

This year, after going from Cannes he went to Tel Aviv, where he received an award. There, he finished writing his next film, again a drama. Returning to Mexico, he began to check that everything is ready for Venice and the premiere of "600 Miles" and "Chronic," both starring Roth.

Not bad for a self-taught filmmaker who barely took a course in the United States, but basically learned moviemaking watching the "making of" features included in DVDs, as he said himself.

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