Amat Escalante (born 28 February 1979) is a Mexican film director, producer and screenwriter. He is most well known for directing the controversial Mexican crime thriller Heli for which he was awarded the best director prize award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and for directing the 2016 Mexican drama The Untamed for which he received the Silver Lion for best director at the 2016 Venice Film Festival.
Amat Escalante (center) with Andrea Vergara (left) and Armando Espitia (right) in 2013
|Born||28 February 1979|
|Occupation||Film director, producer and screenwriter|
|Years active||2002 - present|
Escalante was incidentally born in Barcelona, Spain while his parents — a Mexican father and an American mother — had been living in Norway. He spent most of his early years in Guanajuato, Mexico, but moved to Spain in 2001 to study film editing and sound at the Center for Cinematographic Studies of Catalonia (Centre d'Estudis Cinematogràfics de Catalunya, CECC) and apply for Spanish citizenship; which he failed to secure.
After his stint in Barcelona, he joined the International School of Film and Television (EICTV) in Havana, Cuba an institution founded by Nobel prize-winner Gabriel García Márquez, Fernando Birri and the Julio García Espinosa "to support the development of national audio-visual industries" in non-aligned countries. Back in Mexico, he directed a short film (Amarrados, 2002) that received an award at the 2003 Berlin International Film Festival.
He worked as an assistant of Carlos Reygadas in Batalla en el cielo (2005), which entered the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. During the filming of the movie, both became close friends, and Reygadas ended up co-producing some of Escalante's first films. One of those films, Sangre (2005), filmed in November 2004 with a budget of US$60,000, was included in Un Certain Regard (a section of the same festival) and in both Rotterdam and San Sebastián.
His film Heli was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and was awarded the prize for Best Director by a jury presided by U.S. film director Steven Spielberg. Escalante won the Silver Lion for Best Direction for his film.
- Amarrados (2002), producer
- The Legend of Pete Jones (2005), cinematographer
- Sangre (2005), director, producer, screenwriter, For which he won the "Film Critics and Press Award"
- Los bastardos (2008), director, producer, screenwriter
- Heli (2013), director, associate producer, screenwriter
- The Untamed (2016), director, producer, screenwriter
- Narcos: Mexico (2020), director
- Mandelbaum, Jacques (13 May 2013). "'Heli' : l'horreur au Mexique vue droit dans les yeux" [Heli: the horror in Mexico seen face-to-face]. Le Monde (in French). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Amat Escalante gana premio al mejor director en Cannes por 'Heli'" [Amat Escalante wins best director prize at Cannes for 'Heli']. La Jornada (in Spanish). 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.[permanent dead link]
- "Mexico's Amat Escalante wins Cannes best director". France 24. AFP. 26 May 2013. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Calderón, Verónica (27 May 2013). "Amat Escalante revalida en Cannes al cine mexicano" [Amat Escalante re-validates Mexican cinema in Cannes]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "'Heli' retrata la violencia: Escalante" ['Heli' portraits the violence: Escalante]. Excélsior (in Spanish). 13 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
Nacido en Barcelona por pura casualidad -una semana antes, sus padres estaban en Noruega-, Escalante es mexicano, criado en Guanajuato y, a pesar de que intentó conseguir la nacionalidad española, no la pudo conseguir. 'Pero Cataluña es un bonito lugar y regresé a conocerlo en 2001', afirmó sonriente.
- "Cannes premia a Escalante por un retrato sin concesiones de la violencia" [Cannes recognizes Escalante for an uncompromising portrait of violence] (in Spanish). EFE. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Amherst College to Host Screening, Director's Discussion of Mexican Film Revolución on April 28". Amherst College. 25 April 2011.
- Nehru, Meesha (6 January 2011). "Acclaimed Cuban film school trains its focus on 'cinema and life'". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
- Pérez, Mónica Isabel (27 May 2013). "Amat Escalante: Tres de tres en Cannes" [Amat Escalate: Three out of three in Cannes]. Forbes México (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Sistema de Información Cultural (24 May 2013). "Carlos Reygadas". Cineastas y profesionales (in Spanish). Conaculta. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Awards 2013". Cannes Film Festival. 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Dargis, Manohla (26 May 2013). "Story of Young Woman's Awakening Is Top Winner". New York Times. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
In the only real shock of the evening, the best director award went to the Mexican filmmaker Amat Escalante for his turgid, violent shocker “Heli,” which, among other staged atrocities, features a scene of a man having his groin lighted afire. “I wasn’t expecting this,” said Mr. Escalante, a sentiment shared by some critics.
- "Venice Film Festival: Golden Lion To 'The Woman Who Left'; Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals', Emma Stone Take Major Prizes – Full List". Deadline. 11 September 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.