Art & Culture

The Riviera Maya Film Festival Returns to Playa

For its fifth edition, the RMFF benefitted by a delay in its start date that allowed them to include films recently premiered in Cannes

On Friday, June 24 the Riviera Maya Film Festival returned to Playa del Carmen and Cancun for its fifth edition. Originally scheduled to begin in late April as it has in previous years, the two-month delay has actually benefitted the event, allowing programmers to select films which premiered at the recent Cannes Film Festival in May. The opening night film “Julieta”, which is the latest from acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, is one such film, as is “The Measure of a Man”, for which actor Vincent Lindon won the Best Actor award.

Many other films having been making the rounds on the festival circuit for the past few months, including “I Saw the Light, Bang Gang (A Modern Love Story)” and “Semana Santa”, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September. For those of us who cover festivals throughout the year, it is an opportunity to catch up on what we have missed previously, and to experience films we have seen with a new audience whose film-going habits may be different than ours.

What has impressed me the most, and is the biggest sign of growth for the RMFF,  is the use of the Teatro de la Ciudad as the festival’s main venue. Gala screenings now have a distinct touch of class that elevates the week-long proceedings to a level it deserves. The opening weekend saw the front steps and interior of the theater full of eager cinema goers, enjoying free screenings which were made available to the general public. The remainder of the program could be found at the Cinemex movie theaters in the Centro May shopping mall, which also serves as the headquarters for the festival.

The RMFF may be a young event by comparison to other film festivals around the world, but for this region of Mexico, it is a very important one. The Riviera Maya is a great location to host a cultural gathering of this type, allowing the local public and visitors to discover foreign and independent cinema that they might otherwise not get to see. I´m looking forward to seeing how much this festival will has developed when it celebrates its 10th year.

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