Out of Focus

San Fer­nan­do is the most noto­ri­ous juve­nile prison of Mexico City, where the young pris­on­ers serve their sen­tences for seri­ous offens­es. This doc­u­men­tary result­ed from a series of film and pho­tog­ra­phy work­shops inside the prison, which were con­duct­ed by film­mak­ers for inmates aged 15 to 19. During the project, these tough young men were able to express their view of their expe­ri­ences in prison by means of short film and photography.

Keep­ing their faces ‘out of focus’ to pro­tect their iden­ti­ties, the par­tic­i­pants show their new­found pas­sion for the arts. They write short sto­ries, weave, make tra­di­tion­al papier-mâché sculp­tures, paint, shoot films, and make music. Inspired by the project, sev­er­al ques­tions arise: Once they are released from prison after many years, what will life be like? Where will their new inspi­ra­tion lead them? Cholo, a young inmate reflects: “In my com­mu­ni­ty and in all of Mexico, even inter­na­tion­al­ly, I want to be known as an artist, not just as a thief and a failure.”


Pro­duced by Homov­i­dens, Etno­sco­pio and Alas y Raíces de CONACULTA
Script by Adrián Arce, Anto­nio Zirión and Hugo Chávez Carvajal
Edited by Adrián Arce, Anto­nio Zirión and Hugo Chávez Carvajal
Cin­e­matog­ra­phy by Anto­nio Zirión and Adrián Arce
Asso­ciate Pro­duc­er Hugo Chávez Carvajal
Music: Este­ban Chapela
Sound: Pablo Fer­nán­dez

Black girl

In his pio­neer­ing film the great Sene­galese author and direc­tor explores the com­plex dynam­ics of the imme­di­ate post-colo­nial period through the simple, dev­as­tat­ing story of a young woman. Dioua­na lives in Dakar and works as nanny for a rich French family. When her employ­ers move back to France, they take Dioua­na with the. While she looks for­ward to a new cos­mopoli­tan lifestyle, she soon real­izes what it means to be an African. She is like a piece of prop­er­ty in the hands of her employ­ers – the black girl who belongs to…

LA NOIRE DE… is con­sid­ered the first sub-saha­ran film by an African film­mak­er to receive inter­na­tion­al atten­tion. It won the Prix Jean Vigo at Cannes as well as many other awards. While it has its own unique style, it draws much inspi­ra­tion from French New Wave, with bril­liant black & white images and an uncon­ven­tion­al nar­ra­tive. The main actress Thérèse M’Bissine Diop later said that she was social­ly ostra­cized by people in Sene­gal and even her own family for having played in the film.