Photo provided by David Montes Bernal


Artists of MNFF: Meet David Montes Bernal

The Mighty Niagara Film Fest is again ready to set sail and explore the ever-expanding ocean of the moving image. The festival launches on August 16th, and continues until August 19th. It’s keenly focused on films made about, or in Niagara and by filmmakers with connections to the region. The festival uniquely makes space for the experimental and the extraordinary. For more information about the festival, click here. Here, we invite you to meet the artists of MNFF.

Meet David Montes Bernal; Director of Maxete

Instagram: @davidmontesbernal

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m just Bernal, an absolute beginner in the filmmaking world, who lives in Mexico City.

What inspires you?

I find a lot of inspiration in the sexuality and gender expressions of the human being; I love to learn how every culture has different perspectives about sex and gender.

Tell us the story behind how you got into your craft?

I wrote — in collaboration with my friend Diego — the screenplay of this film when I was living in Zipolite, a nudist beach in the southern state of Oaxaca. This small new resort is always fun with visitors and residents from all over the world, which provides the town a very cosmopolitan yet laidback lifestyle. Curiously, it wasn’t the glamourous visitors that captivated Diego’s and my attention: it was the workers who came from other regions of Oaxaca, speakers of native languages such as Zapotec, who seemed more genuinely amazed at the hedonism that their eyes were beholding. This is how we ended up creating a story that would tell the adventure of a person, the coming-of-an-age of an indigenous boy from the remote mountains, who upon coming into contact with nudism and the sexual freedom of Zipolite, finds the reaffirmation of his desires and his own body.

Photo provided by David Montes Bernal

What drew you to participating in this specific piece of work?

As a storyteller, I really wanted to develop a filmic project which intersects sexuality and indigenous identity, so when my friends Diego James Campbell and Jan Huygens offered to finance the screenplay we already made up, I could not say not to direct Maxete.

What do you love most about MNFF?

I find it very plausible that the festival focuses on issues that intersect the interests of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe peoples and their territory. It’s an honor to be part of such an event.

What does 2023 hold for you?

By the end of this year, I hope to be editing a new documentary about my dad’s comeback to his homeland, El Salvador; the man spent most of his life out of his country, and now wants to try to cross borders to see his mother again, maybe for the last time. I also expect to start with the preproduction of the screenplay of a feature about an ecocide in the coastal area of Pinotepa and Corralero, a mestizo and an afromexican communities of Oaxaca affected by the pollution of their water bodies.

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