Archive for February, 2007

It’s Official: Chichen Itza in the Top 21

February 28th, 2007 by ejalbright

For months people all over the world have been casting votes for their favorite monument to be named one of the new seven Wonders of the World. Yesterday it was made official, Chichén Itzá is on the list.

Although it is unclear whether it is the pyramid El Castillo or all of Chichén Itzá that is up for nomination to be a wonder of the world, the organizers behind the campaign to name the new seven wonders came to Yucatan to formally include this city of the ancient Maya in the list of 21 finalists.

Bernard Weber, the Swiss organizer behind the campaign, said, “This pyramid contains information of great importance and is one of the privileged sites that must be preserved to celebrate and to honor the memory of a great culture.”

There were speeches aplenty yesterday. Yucatan Goveror Patricio Patron said, “Chichén was constructed in Yucatan and this great city represents not only a great civilization but also a center of knowledge-gathering that the inheriting yucatecos of this race today are justly proud.”

“This archaeological zone is one of the biggest sources of pride in Mexico,” said regional INAH director Federica Sodi. “We take great pride in the knowledge that people worldwide want to come to know this place.”

Yucatan’s tourism secretary, Jorge Torre Loría, indicated that “if Chichén Itzá is named one of the seven, it is going to be very important for the tourism in Mexico and the five states that comprise the Mayan world.”

You can vote for Chichén Itzá at The results will be announced on July 7, 2007 (7/7/07) in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Chichen Takes Stage as Potential Wonder of the World

February 27th, 2007 by ejalbright

The organizers behind the naming of the new Seven Wonders of the World are in Yucatan today to get their first official look at one of the 21 candidates, Chichén Itzá.

Bernard Weber, the brainchild behind the New Seven Wonders, is scheduled to give a press conference at 1 p.m. local time at the Hotel Mayaland, and from there go to the closed airport to board a balloon to fly over the ancient city. At 4:40 there will be a concert, as well as speeches and even a ballet.

People all over the world are voting via the Internet for their choice to be the new seven wonders ( On July 7–7/7/07–the seven winners will be announced. According to the Diario de Yucatan, Chichén has consistently placed in the top 10 of voting, but late last year it ranked in the second seven, not in the important first seven to earn it a place as a world wonder.

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Mexican Cinema Gains World Attention

February 26th, 2007 by ejalbright

Three films by Mexican directors received 16 Academy Award nominations and at last night’s Oscar show, and even though these movies by south-of-the-border directors got shut out of the big awards, they managed to come away with four statues.

Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” won for art direction, cinematography and makeup. Alejandro González Iñarritu’s “Babel” received an award for best original score. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” was shut out, but all in all it was an impressive set of wins for directors whose primary language is Mexican Spanish.

Only del Toro’s film was shot in Spanish (and, for that matter, made primarily in Mexico). One reason may be that the Mexican film industry is in complete disarray. Daily Variety reported today the woes of an industry that is hampered by cronyism and closed unions, and overwhelmed by the US, thanks to NAFTA.

You can read the Daily Variety story by clicking here.

Mexico and Mexicans have had a long history of interaction with audiences in the United States and Canada. As Sergio Munoz points out in the LA Times, there have been several periods where Mexico has piqued Hollywood’s interest. That story is here.

Funny that neither article points out that “Apocalypto” was filmed in Mexico and using one of Mexico’s native languages, Maya.

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