The Renaissance of Mexican Film and Soft Power

October 4, 2013 - October 5, 2013, Varied

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The USC School of Cinematic Arts and USC Latino Student Assembly invite you and a guest to attend a two-day symposium about Mexican Cinema:

The Renaissance of Mexican Film
and Soft Power

Friday, October 4th & Saturday, October 5th, 2013

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007



About the Event

Amores Perros (2000) and Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) sparked a Renaissance in Mexican cinema and set in motion the careers of a new generation of Mexican filmmakers – directors, actors, screenwriters – that Hollywood has embraced. With the global image of Mexico seemingly dominated by drug wars and economic migrants, the popularity of the new Mexican Cinema creates an alternate narrative. Mexican cinema has become a new and powerful tool of Mexican “soft power” in international affairs. The language of film can build understanding across borders and cultures. The Renaissance of Mexican Film and Soft Power event will expose USC students to the work of the new generation of Mexican filmmakers and the vision of public diplomacy experts and academics.

Schedule of Events


Friday, October 4th

7:00 P.M. -- Nosotros Los Nobles, 108 min., followed by a Q&A with Gaz Alazraki,
Moderated by Rafael Fernandez de Castro

Saturday, October 5th

12:00 P.M. -- Instructions Not Included, 122 min.

2:30 P.M. -- Leap Year (Año Bisiesto), 94 min., followed by a Q&A with Michael Rowe, Moderated by Rafael Fernandez de Castro

5:00 P.M. -- After Lucia (Despues de Lucia), 103 min., followed by a Q&A with Michel Franco, Moderated by Rafael Fernandez de Castro

7:30 P.M. -- Panel Discussion with Gaz Alazraki, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Rowe, Michel Franco, Rossana Fuentes-Berain, and Simon Levy-Dabbah, Moderated by Rafael Fernandez de Castro

About the Films

Directed by Gaz Alazraki
, 108 minutes

When successful construction mogul Herman Noble accidentally stumbles onto his children’s credit card statements, he discovers they are spending money beyond control. His oldest son Javier, neglects the family business for his own ridiculous business ideas. His daughter Barbara gets engaged to a 40 year-old gigolo and his youngest son, Charlie, is expelled from college for having sex with a teacher. Herman Noble realizes his children are spoiled beyond redemption and decides to give them a lesson before its too late.

Directed by Eugenio Derbez, 122 minutes

Valentin (Eugenio Derbez) is Acapulco’s resident playboyuntil a former fling leaves a baby on his doorstep and takes off without a trace. Valentin leaves Mexico for Los Angeles to find the baby’s mother, but only ends up finding a new home for himself and his newfound daughter, Maggie (Loreto Peralta). An unlikely father figure, Valentin raises Maggie for six years, while also establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen to pay the bills, with Maggie acting as his on-set coach. As Valentin raises Maggie, she forces him to grow up too. But their unique and offbeat family is threatened when Maggie’s birth mom shows up out of the blue, and Valentin realizes he’s in danger of losing his daughter - and his best friend.

LEAP YEAR (Año Bisiesto, 2010)
Directed by Michael Rowe, 94 minutes

Laura, a young journalist living an isolated life in a cramped Mexico City flat, is not lucky in love. The banality of her daily life stands in stark contrast to her nightly pursuit of sex and love. These short-lived affairs barely take the edge off her isolation, but then she meets the brooding, would-be actor Arturo. Their chemistry ignites feelings in Laura that leave her deeply troubled. The two embark on an increasingly dangerous sadomasochistic relationship in which pleasure, pain and love merge. Their physical relationship seems headed for a very dark place as her secret past resurfaces, pushing Arturo to the limit in this intense, powerful and at times deeply unsettling movie.

AFTER LUCIA (Despues de Lucia, 2012)
Directed by Michel Franco, 103 minutes

Since Roberto lost his wife, he has strayed his attention from his fifteen year old daughter, Alejandra. Drowned in depression he decides to move to Mexico City. At the new school, Alejandra will bear in silence emotional abuse and countless humiliations in order to keep problems away from home. Father and daughter are distancing themselves from each other more and more, while violence keeps showing up in every aspect of their lives.

About the Guests

GAZ ALAZRAKI (Writer/Director/Producer, Nosotros Los Nobles) graduated in 2001 from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He returned to Mexico City where he directed over 200 television commercials. His debut, Nosotros Los Nobles, is a modern adaptation of a Luis Bunuel production and has now become the highest grossing mexican film of all time.

EUGENIO DERBEZ (Co-Writer/Director/Actor, Instructions Not Included)

No doubt, the most renowned, influential and largest audience owning comedian of Mexican TV. Producer, director an star of several TV shows, Eugenio Derbez has conquered the main Spanish spoken TV markets of entertainment, because of his infinite character creation talent, and his fresh, swift and surprising comedy conception.

Since his first participations on Mexican TV, the name Eugenio Derbez has positioned itself as a brand of significant impact on the audience as a warranty of success. Some examples are "Al Derecho y al Derbez", "Derbez en Cuando" and "XHDerbez", some of his most successful shows. They have been exported to all Latin America y today they have several re-runs on Comedy Central, the milestone network of the gender for the Hispanic audience. His picturesque characters have prevailed on the Mexican idiosyncrasy as an undisputable reference.

Eugenio's work on Cinema has not been any smaller. His starring participation on titles like "La Misma Luna"  and "No Eres Tu, Soy Yo" was the key to their success, and on 2011 he got his first role on a Hollywood feature on the film "Jack and Jill", with Adam Sandler, Al Pacino and Katie Holmes, among others.

All this experience as a creator and performer supports his first directing project. INSTRUCCIONS NOT INCLUDED crystalizes the best of his writing, acting and directing talents and, no doubt, will boost his already iconic career into a new stage.

MICHEL FRANCO (Writer/Director/Producer, After Lucia) was born in Mexico City in 1979. His debut, Daniel and Ana, was selected for the Director’s Fortnight at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. With his second film, After Lucia, he won Un Certain Regard at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. He is currently working on the release of his third feature A Los Ojos. Michel has earned critical acclaim in Mexico and abroad.

MICHAEL ROWE (Writer/Director, Leap Year) is an Australian backpacker who arrived in Mexico through an improvised journey in 1994. He settled in the country writing poetry, plays and eventually enrolled in film school. His first debut as a director and screenwriter, Leap Year, earned him numerous international awards including the Camera d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. He has recently taught several screenwriting workshops and nine of his students have won awards. Michael is currently working on the release of his new film Aquifer.

ROSSANA FUENTES-BERAIN (Editorial VP of Grupo Expansion) oversees the editorial content of 17 magazines and  11 websites. She is also responsible for the editorial and transmedia content of the company's brand extensions and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other U.S. media outlets. In addition, she is a former Media Fellow at the yearly World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. She is an alumni of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Rossana Fuentes-Berain believes Mexican soft power has become a new tool to enhance the country's economy and image in international media.

SIMON LEVY-DABBAH (CEO Calidad de Vida - Mexico City) has been named a 2013 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is the first Mexican lawyer to obtain a work permit as to provide services as an attorney in the People's Republic of China. He has worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development and has collaborated with the World Bank. He chaired IdeasiaFund, the first investment fund between Asia and Latin-American. He was also the Chairman of the Board of LatinAsia, a firm that presented Mexican companies to the international market. He has been selected as a Club Member of Mexico's Future Leaders by "Líderes de México" as well as a member of the Mexican Council of International Affairs. He is currently the CEO of "Calidad de Vida, Progreso y Desarrollo para la Ciudad de México, S.A. de C.V.", Mexico City’s state owned company. He is currently developing numerous projects in Mexico City that aim to redefine and improve urban public spaces through culture, soft power and new technologies.

RAFAEL FERNANDEZ DE CASTRO (Event Organizer/Moderator) is an international student from Mexico City, a Senior at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism specializing in media, law and politics and a minor in Screenwriting at the School of Cinematic Arts. He has published for The Huffington Post, Hustler Magazine, Rolling Stone Mexico and several Spanish and English media outlets. He believes cinema can improve Mexico's current public diplomacy approach as well as balance an international image that has been deteriorated by extensive news coverage of the drug war and a heated immigration debate in the United States.

Check-In & Reservations

All screenings and panel discussions are free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC or State ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open 30 minutes prior to each showtime.

All SCA screenings and events are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago