The Opening Gala of the 17th PVIFF also awarded Serbian actor Lazar Ristovski

With a great, affectionate and admiring ovation from Puerto Vallarta people, the Grande Dame of Acting Ofelia Medina was awarded "La Iguana de Oro" (The Golden Iguana) as part of the Opening Gala of the 17th Puerto Vallarta International Film Festival organized by the Centro Universitario de la Costa (CUCosta).

"My heart leaps as an iguana here in Vallarta" expressed, moved, the renown Mexican interpreter, after receiving the award from Puerto Vallarta Mayor Arturo Dávalos Peña. She said to be honored to be part of what she described as a "civilizing movement" by the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG).

"This year, this festival has devoted itself to creating bridges; that is its motto this year: no walls, bridges! Germany is the guest of honor and it is a country that knows about walls and how painful it is to have them and how delicious it is to tear them down. Long live life, long live cinema! No walls, bridges!" she exclaimed in her acceptance speech in presence of the President of the Guadalajara International Film Festival Trust, Raúl Padilla López.

Serbian actor Lazar Ristovski was also awarded "La Iguana de Oro" as a recognition to his 40 years of artistic trajectory as a leading actor. Renown worldwide for his work under the direction of Emir Kusturica, the actor expressed his special appreciation for receiving the award in the city filmmaker John Houston chose to film "The Night of the Iguana".

In fact, Ristovski's most recent production, "Train's Driver Diary", was picked as the screening in the Opening Gala of the PVIFF at a totally packed “Dr. Juan Luis Cifuentes Lemus” Auditorium.


Cinema, a medium to disseminate democratic values

In his intervention, the CuCosta Rector, Dr. Marco Antonio Cortés Guardado, emphasized that the 17th edition of the PVIFF is possile thanks mainly to the director of the Guadalajara International Film Festival (GIFF) Ivan Trujillo Bolio, whose support makes possible to show a significant sample of the most recent productions of world cinema, and to host their leading actors and actresses.

Dr. Cortés Guardado also highlighted the solidarity of Raúl Padilla López, president of the GIFF Trust, "who since four years ago has offered all his support, all his solidarity and understanding from the Universidad de Guadalajara Foundation". He also thanked the support by the UdeG Rector, Itzcóatl Tonatiuh Bravo Padilla, MB.

The PVIFF is composed this year by eleven sections, four of them new ones devoted to the Cork Film Festival; to the Elderly People Film; musical cinema; and transborder film. The latter is particularly important because of the relevance that international migration currently has, along with the multicultural citizenship, in contemporary world.

"Currently the world is facing the challenge of reaffirming, in an intelligent manner, the respect for cultural diversity and the tolerance against the new forms of supremacist nationalism, racism and xenophobia" said the CuCosta rector. "Cinema is, in this sense, a privileged medium for providing a correct awareness of the topic based on the dissemination of democratic values".

Finally, Dr. Cortés Guardado invited the attendants to become part of the unique, extraordinary and moving experience that inevitably comes along with the art of watching and enjoying a cinematographic work, during the twelve days of the PVIFF.

After the screening of the opening film, musical project “Big Band CUCBA” entertained the attendants with a jazz jam during the opening cocktail at the esplanade of the “Dr. Juan Luis Cifuentes Lemus” Auditorium.

The Opening Gala was presided also by the Administrative Secretary of CuCosta Judith Araceli Saldate Márquez, the Academic Secretary Dr.Remberto Castro Castañeda, actress Giovanna Zacarías, and the President of the Puerto Vallarta Chamber of Commerce Teresita Marmolejo López.