The 15th Guanajuato International Film Festival, arguably the most important annual film event in Latin America, for me was a life-changing experience. If Short Shorts opened my eyes to the filmmaking global community, GIFF15 convinced me that I wanted so badly to be a part of it. It was also the first time I had mingled with veteran industry professionals and legitimate film producers apart from international filmmakers and actors.
Also, it was mind-blowing that The Apprentice was chosen to be the very first film exhibited during the Opening Ceremony, officially opening the festival. I am not sure about Julie Taymor (Across the Universe), but the Korean maestro himself, Park Chan-Wook (Old Boy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Stoker), was in the audience. I met some amazing people, including Mr. Park; Sarah Hoch, the executive director of the festival; my roommate during GIFF15, Esteban Roel, a Mexican actor-cum-lecturer now based in Madrid and stars in the local TV version of Prison Break; but also Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), the wunderkid who would later pick up 4 Oscar nominations for his film in 2013, whom I had a chance to chat with during some downtime.
I love the Guanajuato spirit. The food, the people, the films, the parties. I am so dying to go back.