Mariachi Gringo Takes Top Prize at Guadalajara Film Fest

Martha Higareda at FICG

Guadalajara, Mexico — Tom Gustafson’s musical drama and Mexican co-production Mariachi Gringo pulled off a big upset on Saturday at the Guadalajara Film Festival, winning best Mexican picture here in the nation’s mariachi capital. Rafael Cuervo, Ramiro Ruiz, and Alejandra Cardenas also serve as producers with Ambrose Roche and Isabella Smejda on board as Executive Producers.

Mariachi Gringo The melodrama revolves around a “Gringo” (Shawn Ashmore) who moves to Guadalajara to learn how to play mariachi music.  Mariachi beat out Rodrigo Pla’s La Demora (The Delay) and Garbriel Marino’s Un Mundo Secreto (A Secret World) with Martha Higareda also taking home the Best Actress for her role as Lilia in the film. Songstress Lila Downs also played the role of Sophia.

The film pays tribute to mariachi music, Mexico’s traditional music made up of guitar, string instruments and trumpets, with  a lead vocalist.  The works of the late singer and renown songwriter Jose Alfredo Jimenez are featured prominently in the film  “I’m proud to make films like this, because it shows my country in a positive way,” said Higareda.

Other cast members include Adriana Barraza, Fernando Becerril, Lila Downs, Kate Burton and Tom Wopat.

The idea for the film began ten years ago when Gustafson and co-writer and producer Cory James Krueckeberg found themselves filming in Baja California on a big budget film and fell in love with Mexico.

Annette Fradera, music supervisor considers films music as a projection worthy of mariachi.  “I was sick of those movies, especially Hollywood, which caricatures the mariachi,” he said.  There will be a soundtrack released of selected songs from the film.