A short film by a recent UA graduate is part of a lineup of works by Mexican filmmakers that will be screened at Tucson Cine Mexico this weekend.

The four-day festival, held at the newly renovated Screening Room, includes six feature films, two documentaries and a short film. Most have received international accolades despite not being widely screened in the United States.

“We showcase some of the notable cinematic work being made in Mexico today,” said Victoria Westover, who directs the Hanson Film Institute at the University of Arizona.

Three filmmakers will attend. One of them is Rafael Gómez, who graduated in May from the UA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television.

His short film, “La Graduacion/The Graduation,” will precede two of the feature films, introducing a new generation of Mexican filmmakers.

“His work is really extraordinary,” said Westover, the festival’s director. “He’s definitely a filmmaker to watch in the future.”

A Mexican citizen, Gómez now works as a cinematographer in Los Angeles. He could not be reached for comment.

“It is very important to me that Cine Mexico provides a public screening opportunity to emerging talent along with filmmakers who are already established,” Westover said. “So I am very happy that I can include a work by a young Mexican filmmaker who is starting to make his mark in the U.S.”

Jacob Bricca was one of his instructors for his thesis film. “Rafael’s film is a great example of how the work produced in our program is being recognized on an A-list level,” he said. “Rafael’s film is a strikingly well-observed black comedy that could only have been made by someone who knows the class politics of Mexican society from the inside.”

Cine Mexico is one of the Hanson Film Institute’s signature programs.

According to Westover, past surveys have shown that between 60 percent and 70 percent of the audience is Hispanic, underscoring that the festival reaches a wider audience.

“There are only two ongoing annual festivals of Mexican cinema in the U.S., and ours was the first one,” Westover said. “It is an event Tucson should be proud of.”

Ernesto Portillo

Daniel Burkart is a University of Arizona journalism student apprenticing at the Star.