Mexico City, April 1st 2019.- After seven years spent consolidating a project whose primary goal was the dissemination of the film cultures of Mexico, Latin America, Spain and Portugal in all their aspects (thinkers, promoters, filmmakers, technicians, distributors and exhibitors), the association Cinema23 has made the difficult decision to cancel the Fénix Film Awards this year due to the lack of support and communication from the new Mexico City and federal governments.
Political and cultural policies have radically changed and non-governmental organizations have been cut off from public funds, while the project is unviable as a purely commercial venture funded by sponsors. The participation of the government and the continuity this provides is necessary for an initiative of this scope. Cinema23 feels that the lack of support by local and federal government for the Fénix Awards, as well as our many other promotion, dissemination and visibility projects, has cut short the opportunity to give continuity not just to a prior government investment that has helped consolidate the image of Mexico City as a leader in cultural and cinematographic terms across Latin America, but also a solid, necessary project with enormous potential that has been developed by film professionals with the goal of creating a regional common market for sharing stories, realities and experiences beyond our borders. This process has brought us together with our peers from across the region, allowing us to understand ourselves as diverse, pluralistic peoples and societies, without a hegemonic reference shaping our audiovisual cultures.
Cinema23, the organizer of the Fénix Awards, was created in 2012 through the hard work of its founders. From the first edition of the awards in 2014 and up through their fifth edition in 2018, they received the support of the Mexico City government, the Mexico City Culture Secretariat, the federal Chamber of Deputies, Conaculta for a time, the federal Culture Secretariat and the Teatro de la Ciudad Esperanza Iris, which hosted the Fénix Awards, as well as that of several important private sponsors.
Over these past five years, the Fénix Film Awards have managed to show the world a curated selection of outstanding films from across the region, creating an unprecedented media impact: over the course of their history, the awards were viewed in four million homes and there were 7,500 articles (both in print and online media) in 30 countries. We have also brought together over 600 Iberoamerican artists in what has undoubtedly been one of our greatest achievements, connecting filmmakers and their works with film students and the audience with the goal of sparking reflections on our cinema and our realities. This has built community and aided in the promotion of quality films without regard to styles, budgets, languages, ideologies and borders, creating publics and contributing to the professionalization of young filmmakers.
Ever since 2012, the members of Cinema23 have built a platform that has gone beyond a mere awards ceremony, creating a space for dialogue, education and collaboration. The association currently has over 1,000 members, including outstanding film industry professionals located across the 22 countries in the region and laypeople who are interested in our cinema, such as Gael García Bernal, Cecilia Suárez, Diego Luna, Paz Vega, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Marina de Tavira, Alfonso Cuarón, Rossy de Palma, Sebastián Lelio, Sonia Braga, Wagner Moura, Bertha Navarro, Pawel Pawlikowski, Alice Braga, Pablo Larraín, Carlos Reygadas, Elena Anaya, Edgar Ramírez, Dolores Fonzi, José María Yazpik, Maribel Verdú, Eugenio Caballero, Fernanda Solórzano, Alfredo Castro, Daniela Vega, Fito Páez, Daniela Michel, Ricardo Darín, Cecilia Roth, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Natalia Reyes, Luis Ospina, Ana de la Reguera, Ciro Guerra, Oona Chaplin, Elia Suleiman, Maria de Medeiros, Miguel Gomes, Karla Souza, Manolo Cardona, Marisa Paredes, Jorge Perugorría, Ilse Salas, Gaz Alazraki, Irene Azuela, Paco León, Angie Cepeda, Manolo Caro, Karina Gidi, Daniel Brühl, Salma Hayek, Jayro Bustamante, Amat Escalante, Martha Higareda, Arturo Ripstein, Patricia Reyes Spíndola, Guillermo del Toro, Kate del Castillo, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Bárbara Mori, Alfonso Herrera, Juana Acosta, Alonso Ruizpalacios, Stephanie Cayo, Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Paulina García, Antonio de la Torre, Ángela Molina, Gregory Nava, María Valverde, Demián Bichir, Dolores Heredia and Alejandro González Iñárritu, as well as critics, promoters, academics, distributors, exhibitors, representatives of some of the most important film festivals and artists in other mediums who have supported this cause.
Cinema23-Fénix Awards platform offers a digital legacy, with 36 free, bilingual publications on contemporary film (the Cinema23 Notebooks), which include essays, dialogues, biographies of outstanding directors and shooting scripts; a collection of nearly 200 interviews with filmmakers conducted over the past five years; videos of conversations between film industry professionals, master classes, workshops and presentations for film students; a blog on the history of film in most of the region’s countries; essays on the connections between film and social movements; a database, currently under construction, of film professionals who belong to Cinema23 that includes photographs, links and filmographies, which we will expand to the furthest extent possible (there you will find your name); and a list of over 3,500 fiction and documentary films that have been eligible for the Fénix Awards from 2014 to the present day.
Cinema23 and the Fénix Iberoamerican Film Awards would like to give thanks to all our members for all their contributions, as well as the previous local and federal administrations and all the other sponsors, media allies, collaborators, institutions, colleagues, friends and filmgoers that have made this project possible, allowing us to organize five awards ceremonies.
Cinema23 advocates for the film community, culture and the arts, despite the government’s lack of clarity regarding promotional strategies and mechanisms, which are key to the development of a nation.
Thank you for being a part of Cinema23 and the Fénix Awards.