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Yucatecan Short Film “Boca De Culebra”nominated For An Ariel Award

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On September 25th, the Mexican Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrated the 64th edition of the Ariel Awards. For the first time, a Yucatecan production was nominated in the category of Best Documentary Short Film.

Boca de Culebra“, directed by Yucatecan filmmaker Adriana Otero Puerto, documents the situation of the Collí Collí family, representative of the inhabitants of Chicán, in Tixméhuac, in the south of Yucatán.

“Boca de Culebra” or Sake’s mouth is the first documentary short film to receive funding from the Institute of Cinematography. Photo: Courtesy

Chicán (Chi ‘kaan, a Mayan word meaning “snake’s mouth”) has been the scene of study by academics and researchers due to its peculiar tradition.

It is said that more than a hundred years ago, three families arrived in the town, and to maintain their lineage they have married and procreated among themselves, so most of their offspring were born with hearing problems. Needing to communicate, the villagers created their own sign language in Mayan.

With the idea of portraying this story in a documentary film piece, in 2018 Otero Puerto and Alberto Palomo Torres, producer of the short film, presented their project in the National Short Film Project Competition of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE), and were chosen for funding. 

This was the first time that IMCINE granted funding to a documentary short film in Yucatán.

During filming, they used the help of family members and friends in order to communicate with the community. Photo: Courtesy

To represent the perspective of the hearing-impaired people who live with the characters, they used sounds that were recorded in the original locations.

Alberto Palomo emphasized that to introduce the viewer to this context, they recreated the sensation of being submerged in a swimming pool, which creates a sound barrier and difficulties in hearing.

Regarding the support and promotion of the film industry in the state, Otero Puerto considers that efforts are being made through workshops and exhibition cycles, “however, in terms of production there is still a lot of work to be done because at the moment there are no mechanisms or resources to support film production in Yucatán,” she said.

Although the documentary lost to the short film “Están en algún sitio”, of Pablo Tamez Sierra, it is a great representative of the unique artistic proposal of the state.

The nominees for documentary short film. The winner was “Están en algún sitio”, of Pablo Tamez Sierra. Photo: Courtesy

The Ariel Award recognizes the most outstanding national and Latin American film production. It could be said to be the equivalent of a Mexican Oscar.

For the moment “Boca de Culebra” continues its journey through its festival circuit. In October it will participate in some national festivals that will make it available through the FilminLatino platform.

In Yucatán Magazine: Yucatán’s nascent film industry is waiting for its closeup

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