The LGBT film festival Mix Mexico has returned to Mexico City for its 20th year and with it, a promotional campaign meant to question the lack of queer actors on the country’s silver screen.
Festival director and founder Arturo Castelán has been with Mix for its entire two decades. In an interview, he told The News that visibility and representation is just as important now that gay marriage is a cause championed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.
“Gay sex is something that is not openly tolerated in our society — not even by our own community, which gets more and more infected by the virus of conservatism,” said Castelán.
To that end, the festival’s catalogue and promotional posters feature classic movie scenes acted out by gay actors, a provocation that invites audiences to consider how history could have been different with a more open treatment of sexuality on film.
Each year, the imagination of our invited artists is vast and ferocious.”
—Arturo Castelán, founder of Mix Mexico
This year, audiences will have the chance to check out over 80 films that explore sex and sexuality across the globe.
Screenings will be held in the Cineteca Nacional and the Museo del Chopo — one event even takes place in the Polanco bathhouse Sodome.
Included among the nationally made films is “Quebranto,” a look at the famed child actor known as Fernando García Ortega who transitioned as an adult to become Coral Bonelli.
Mexican director Julián Hernández has a strong entry with “Cielo Dividido” (“Divided Sky”), a film following couple Gerardo and Jonás from their first, shared glance, through the issues that threaten to break their partnership.
Among the international highlights are Brazilian science fiction “La Secta” and the Russian movie exploring homophobic laws “Don’t Accept Dreams From Strangers.”
“Difficult themes are our speciality,” said Castelán. “Youth crime, faith, sexual freedom, political, religious, familial and social manipulation directed towards our community. You find them in films with futuristic plots, science fiction, satires, horror, sexually explicit films, documentaries.”
Mix also hosts talks and visual art events. Among Castelán’s personal highlights of the year include a look at the history of gay actors in Mexican cinema “Novo: Talent Beyond Labels” by photographer Celadon.
The difficulty of portraying a community as diverse as this one has always been a challenge for Mix, one that Castelán says they take seriously but “we represent a point of view, which is the freedom of expression in terms of the representations and readings that a work of cinematographic art represents.”
“We don’t program with quotas of gender or sexuality,” he said. “If that doesn’t work in the House of Representatives, it’s definitely not going to work here.”
“Each year, the imagination of our invited artists is vast and ferocious,” said Castelán.