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.

The gripping Mexican border thriller, Identifying Features from debut filmmaker Fernanda Valadez will open January 22 on Kino Marquee and virtual cinemas nationwide including in New York at Film at Lincoln Center along with BAM; and in Los Angeles at Laemmle.

Identifying Features starring Mercedes Hernández, David Illescas, Juan Jesús Varela, Ana Laura Rodríguez, Laura Elena Ibarra, and Xicoténcatl Ulloa has won multiple awards including Audience Award and Best Screenplay, World Cinema Dramatic at Sundance Film Festival Winner; Best Film, Audience Award, Best Actress at Morelia International Film Festival; and Golden Alexander at Thessaloniki Film Festival. The film was also nominated for Best International Feature at Gotham Awards

In the film, middle-aged Magdalena (Mercedes Hernandez) has lost contact with her son after he took off with a friend from their town of Guanajuato to cross the border into the U.S., hopeful to find work. Desperate to find out what happened to him—and to know whether or not he’s even alive—she embarks on an ever-expanding and increasingly dangerous journey to discover the truth. At the same time, a young man named Miguel (David Illescas) has returned to Mexico after being deported from the U.S., and eventually his path converges with Magdalena’s.

From this simple but urgent premise, director Fernanda Valadez has crafted a lyrical, suspenseful slow burn, equally constructed of moments of beauty and horror, and which leads to a startling, shattering conclusion.

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