David Illescas appears Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
David Illescas appears Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Claudia Bercerril.

Fernanda Valadez’s striking debut feature Identifying Features (Sin señas particulares), is set to have its world premiere in the World Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival taking place January 23 – February 2 in Park City, Utah.

The film stars Mercedes Hernández, David Illescas, Juan Jesús Varela, Ana Laura Rodríguez, Laura Elena Ibarra, and Xicoténcatl Ulloa

An alumna of Mexico’s prestigious Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (CCC) film school, Guanajuato-born director Valadez’s poignant drama is set in the current humanitarian crisis that has been affecting Mexico for many years now, fomented by the country’s failed war on drug cartels, and deals with the disappearances of migrants on their way to the U.S. and the odyssey of those looking for missing family members.

Mercedes Hernández appears Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Mercedes Hernández appears Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Claudia Bercerril.

Identifying Features tells the story of Magdalena, who sets out on a journey in search of her disappeared son en route to the U.S. border. Traveling through desolate towns and landscapes she meets Miguel, a young man recently deported from the U.S. who is making his way home. The two accompany one another: Magdalena, looking for her son, and Miguel, eager to see his mother again, in a region where victims and aggressors ramble together.

A co-production between Astrid Rondero’s Corpulenta Producciones and Jack Zagha’s Avanti Pictures, Identifying Features took home the top award at the San Sebastian Film Festival’s prestigious Films in Progress section. With impeccable cinematography and a mostly female crew, Identifying Features deftly delivers a lyrical narrative of two characters longing for hope and justice in the midst of a real-world humanitarian crisis, and announces Valadez as a talent to watch.

Juan Jesús Varela appears Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Juan Jesús Varela appears Sin Señas Particulares by Fernanda Valadez, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Claudia Bercerril.

Director and producer Fernanda Valadez’s short 400 Maletas was nominated for a Silver Ariel and was a finalist for a Student Academy Award. She produced Astrid Rondero’s The Darkest Days of Us, a film supported by Tribeca Film Institute, Berlinale Talents, and Women in Film, which was nominated for two Silver Ariels. As a producer, she is preparing Sujo, a new collaboration with Rondero.

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