College of Motion Picture Arts directing professor Antonio Mèndez Esparza received the esteemed Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 for his second feature-length film, “Life & Nothing More.” The fellowship provided a grant to help fund the film, which focuses on Regina, a single mother living in north Florida with her two children. Her life is plagued by social inequality and disdain from her son Andrew, who witnesses her indifference to their situation. The story follows the family as they struggle to get through each month, fighting the difficulties of day-to-day life. As with his first film, the cast is made up of non-professional actors from the area.
Méndez’s work is rooted in the “cinematic exploration of the human condition,” and provides inspiration for many of his students in the Film School. He is co-founder of the production company Aquí y Allí Films, based in Madrid, Spain. His previous film, “Aquí y Allá,” received the International Critics’ Week Gran Prix at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and was the first Spanish film to receive the prestigious award. His film travelled to over 60 festivals around the world, and garnered Mendez a Best Director nomination for the Gotham Award as well.
(photo courtesy Aquí y Allí Films)