Demián Bichir to be honored by film fest
While he may not be a household name in American homes, Demián Bichir established his place in the world of films with a striking performance as Fidel Castro opposite Benicio del Toro in Steven Soderbergh’s 2008 two-part epic “Ché.” And the subtle power he brought to his starring role as an immigrant trying to make it in the U.S. in “A Better Life” earned him not only critical praise, but also a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 84th annual Academy Awards. Next up, the Mexico City native heads to Sonoma to be honored at the 16th annual Sonoma International Film Festival, which will run from April 10 to 14.
Bichir was born into a life in the limelight – his mother is a noted Mexican stage actress while his father is an award-winning theater director. He began acting at age 3, and joined the National Theater Company of Mexico at 13. He came to New York City as a young man seeking a career on the silver screen, eventually moving to Los Angeles, but he found limited success. He headed back to Mexico, where he swept the cinematic scene after his breakthrough role in “Sexo, Pudor y Lágrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears)” in 1999, which made history as Mexico’s biggest box office success at the time, and earned him a Silver Ariel nomination (Mexico’s equivalent to the Academy Awards).
Sonoma movie audiences might remember Bichir from his title role in “Hidalgo – La Historia Jamás Contada (Hidalgo: The Untold Story),” which screened at last year’s Sonoma International Film Festival and earned the jury prize for Best Very Independent Feature.
Officials with the film festival are busy finalizing the lineup of the 16th annual event, which will include at least 85 short and feature films from around the globe, including many films submitted by their country of origin for consideration in the Oscar’s Best Foreign Film category, including “Caught in the Web” (China), “The Deep” (Iceland) and “Sister” (Switzerland). The “cinema spotlight” series will each bring a different focus of films, such as movies with an environmental motif like “A Fierce Green Fire,” culinary cinema such as “Soufflé au Chocolat” or Spanish language films like “Piedra, Papel o Tijera (Rock, Paper, Scissors).”
Film festival packages are on sale now, ranging from $60 for a single day pass to $810 for a star pass complete with VIP access to the entire festival. Volunteers are also needed to help with everything, from pouring wine in the hospitality tent to housing visiting filmmakers. Get the latest details of the upcoming 2013 festival at sonomafilmfest.org or call 933-2600.