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The 15th Annual Hola Mexico Film Festival 2023 Audience Award Winners

By: PRLog

LOS ANGELES - Oct. 12, 2023 - PRLog -- Hola Mexico Film Festival presented by Toyota Audience Award 2023
RADICAL by Dir. Christopher Zalla Produced by Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez

Tomorrow's Filmmakers Today Audience Award presented by Fidelity
LA BRUJA by writer / director Manuel Villarreal

The largest Mexican film festival outside of Mexico, Hola México Film Festival presented by Toyota, announced Radical as the 2023 winner of this year's "Audience Award", and La Bruja by writer/director Manuel Villareal as the winner of Tomorrow's Filmmakers Today "Audience Award" presented by Fidelity.

Hola México Film Festival presented by Toyota featured 20+ full length films, and 20 short films from its filmmaker focused program Tomorrows Filmmakers Today.  Held in Los Angeles, the annual HMFF has become a staple in the City of Angels, claiming the title of largest Mexican cinema festival organized outside of Mexico.

Director Christopher Zalla, along with producers Ben Odell and Eugenio Derbez received the most audience votes for the film "Radical." Eugenio Derbez stars in this uplifting story as Sergio Juarez, a dedicated elementary school teacher who takes a job in a small border town where violence has become normalized. With his whimsical teaching methods and a genuine interest in his students' well-being, he earns the kids' trust. The singular educator encourages them not only to think outside the box, but to believe that they can achieve their dreams no matter how far-fetched they may seem. Prepare to be inspired by this unforgettable story based on true events. Winner of the "Festival Favorite" award at the Sundance Film Festival 2023.

"We are so honored to be getting this award from Hola Mexico Film Festival.  We truly appreciate Samuel and his team's support.  For us there is no bigger reward than a satisfied audience and we are so excited to get this in US theaters November 3!, " says Producer Ben Odell.

After receiving the most audience votes, "La Bruja" by writer/director Manuel Villareal took home the festival's Tomorrow's Filmmakers Today award for best short entry. On the night of his eighth birthday, Pablito mourns the loss of his Mother. But when his Abuela tells him a fairytale about the mystical Bruja del Mar, he finds unexpected parallels between his own life and her story. Amidst the tale immigration agents raid the neighborhood, endangering Pablito and Abuela. With themes of resilience and love, "La Bruja" highlights the transformative power of storytelling, reminding us that hope can exist even in the darkest moments.

"I'm extraordinarily honored and humbled to have been recognized with this Tomorrow's Filmmakers Today award for Best Short. La Bruja is a film about family and the power of family. To have found a family within the TFT community is invaluable. Programs and organizations like this are imperative for our gente, because we're incredibly underrepresented. As an LBGTQ+ Mexican-American, who's struggled his whole life to be seen, I am so incredibly grateful. Thank you to the Hola Mexico Film Festival for supporting a person like me and help make his dreams a reality, "shares Manuel Villarreal.

All award winners will receive cash prize & a trophy.

"Through our work with the Hola Mexico Film Festival we continue raising awareness of the important contributions made by Mexican filmmakers. This event provides an avenue for specifically highlighting and recognizing the Mexican cinematic tradition while offering increased exposure to up-and-coming talent and the next wave of influential work," said Samuel Douek, Director of Hola Mexico Film Festival. "I am thrilled to offer the festival experience to our fans and follower. Thanks to all who joined us, and congratulations to this year's winners; and of course a huge thank you to Toyota for their support of our efforts!"

Hola México Film Festival (HMFF) gave its viewers the opportunity to gather during Hispanic Heritage Month by watching a selection of some of the latest and most acclaimed Mexican films. The festival gathered more than 10,000 cinephiles to see 20 + films, many of them making their U.S. or West Coast premiers during red carpet galas with celebrated actors and directors in attendance.

About Hola México Film Festival:
Founded in 2008, Hola Mexico Film Festival, the largest Mexican Film Festival outside of Mexico, strives to highlight the best and brightest talents in Mexican cinematography. Spanning comedies, dramas, horror films and documentaries, the festival showcases high quality films in a festive atmosphere in conjunction with exclusive parties and outdoor concerts. Sponsors include: Toyota, Delta, Aeroméxico, and LA Plaza de Cultura Y Artes.

Samuel Douek, Founder & Director of the HMFF earned his bachelor's degree in marketing from Mexico City's Anahuac University and his master's degree in Event Management in Sydney, Australia, where he founded Hola Mexico Film Festival. The festival has since grown into the largest of its kind outside of Mexico and is now a celebrated, yearly tradition held in the capital of the worldwide film industry, Los Angeles, CA.

About Toyota:
Toyota, creator of the Prius hybrid and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota and Lexus brands, and directly employs more than 63,000 people in North America (more than 49,000 in the U.S.).

Over the past 65 years, Toyota has assembled nearly 45 million cars and trucks in North America at the company's 13 manufacturing plants. By 2025, the company's 14th plant in North Carolina will begin to manufacture automotive batteries for electrified vehicles.

Through our more than 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.), Toyota sold more than 2.4 million cars and trucks (more than 2.1 million in the U.S.) in 2022, of which, nearly one  quarter were electrified vehicles (full battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell).

Mariluz Gonzalez

Photos: (Click photo to enlarge)

Winner 02 Winner 01

Source: Hola Mexico Film Festival

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