Among his many duties, besides critically viewing 14 films in competition, was to entertain the questions of the international press gathered. After Eva Mendes, a special guest of the festival spoke to journalists on how Latinos and other ethnic roles are very underrepresented in the film industry, Bernal replied, "Well maybe she should work in Latin America."
"I wold never play a Finnish guy, even though I look like one," he jested. "They would never call me because of my accent." To play devil's advocate on the topic, Bernal asked, "Do we expect films to be democratic? In a way, that gives a moral stature to films that they shouldn't have. Films should be completely free. If you finance a film in Mexico, no one's going to tell you 'we're not going ethnic.'"
I sat down with Bernal at the famous La Mamounia hotel to discuss just why Mexican cinema is at the forefront of international film, beyond the sheer talent of its actors and directors. When Amores Perros converged onto the international scene in 2000, "it was a very interesting moment in cinema in the world, because there weren't so many surprises," he said.