Mexico has a thriving cinema industry and there are a variety of festivals celebrating cinema and film that take place throughout the year. Some of these festivals are large and internationally recognized, and a few others are small, local festivals, but they're all great for movie buffs hoping to include some cinematic adventures in their vacation itinerary. Here are some of the most important film festivals taking place in Mexico throughout the year.
Held end of January / beginning of February
The Festival Sayulita is a gathering for lovers of Mexico, film, tequila, food, music and surf. The idyllic coastal town in Riviera Nayarit provides a scenic, bohemian background for this international festival. Films will be shown in various venues throughout town. Additional events include tequila and food pairings, master tastings, beach-front film screenings, lecture series, and live music.
Website: Festival Sayulita
Guadalajara International Film Festival
Usually held in the month of March
Established in 1986, Guadalajara hosts this, the oldest and most important film festival in Mexico. Offering an excellent selection of Mexican and Latin American films of the year, the festival includes feature-length films, shorts, documentaries and children’s films. There are also training-focused programs designed to support and foster youth that come to the festival, offering them the chance to share experience and knowledge with film-industry professionals.
Website: Guadalajara Film Festival
Festival Internacional de Cine Alamos Magico
Held in the month of March
Alamos Mágico International Film Festival is a not for profit event whose "primary objective is to share positive and educational stories with the world giving emphasis to inspiring documentaries from Sonora and the border regions. Further, we encourage and celebrate the inspirational work of independent filmmakers from all parts of Latin America."
Website: Festival de Cine Alamos Mágico
Todos Santos Film Fest
Todos Santos and La Paz, Baja California
Held in the month of March
"The Todos Santos Film Festival brings to Todos Santos Latin American cinematography of great artistic and educational merit, while celebrating local and national Mexican film culture."
Website: Todos Santos Film Fest
Ambulante Documentary Film Festival
Takes place between March and May
Ambulante is a film festival that seeks to promote documentary film within Mexico and reach a broader audience by screening films in a wide array of venues. The festival makes a two month annual tour across Mexico starting in Mexico City and making stops in several states throughout the country. Festival events include film screenings, workshops, talks, seminars, symposiums, and networking panels.
Riviera Maya Film Festival
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
Usually held in April
Showing films in various theaters and ocean-side venues throughout the State of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, including the destinations of Cancun, Isla Holbox, Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. One of the festival's biggest draws is a competition for Best Mexican Film, "Plataforma Mexicana." Screenings are free to the public.
Guanajuato International Film Festival
Usually held in July
Originally known as Expresión en Corto this festival has been running since 1997 as a state-sponsored, non-profit, film festival with a focus on short films, videos and documentaries. More than 400 films are screened each day in many different venues. All shows and activities are free admission. A different country is honored each year, presenting a showcase of the best of that country's film - past and present.
Website: Guanajuato Film Festival
Monterrey International Film Festival
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon
Usually held in August
Founded in 2000 as the Voladero International Film and Video Festival, this festival not only promotes the film culture in Monterrey but also brings together the viewpoints of a great many filmmakers who meet in Monterrey each year. Each year the festival invites a guest country with an important cinematographic tradition. The Festival's official award, the Cabrito de Plata, is announced at the Awards Ceremony for winners in various categories.
Website: Monterrey Film Festival
Oaxaca Film Fest
Held in October
Filmmakers from each continent compete for nearly $100,000 USD worth of prizes. Designed to be a competitive event, this nine day festival provides a platform for the talents of seasoned filmmakers as well as emerging artists to showcase their work. The festival is equally devoted to expanding the audience for independent film.
Website: Oaxaca Film Festival
Morelia International Film Festival
Held in October
This film festival's goal is to promote the talents of Mexican cinema and provide a forum for international exhibition. There are both theater and open-air screenings of films and the public is invited to attend conferences, round tables and exhibitions where they can meet film industry personalities.
Los Cabos International Film Festival
Los Cabos, Baja California Sur
Usually held in November
Los Cabos International Film Festival welcomes emerging and established filmmakers from around the world who will showcase their film works – commercial, independent, shorts, animated, documentaries, and special tribute to an international audience of industry executives and representatives, celebrities, select guests, and film lovers – to enhance movie making in the U.S., Mexico, and around the world.
Website: Los Cabos International Film Festival
Mexico International Film Festival
The Mexico International Film Festival is founded on the premise that the language of film is universal and a dynamic force in bridging cultural understanding. This festival showcases the best of world film. Awards are given in several categories including Feature, Documentary, Short, Foreign, Animation, Music Video, Student, Direction, Acting, Screenwriting, Television Pilot, and Best of Mexico.
Website: Mexico International Film Fest