Mexico City – The creators of a film about a young aspiring beauty queen who gets caught up in Mexico's drug war will compete for a prize at the world-renowned Cannes Film Festival.
"Miss Bala," directed by Mexican filmmaker Gerardo Naranjo, will compete in the festival's "Un Certain Regard" section.
"It's an incredible story that they really liked at Cannes because it's a more personal and human account about Laura, but above all it takes a look at the criminal underworld that has now transformed Mexico's public spaces," producer Pablo Cruz said in a press conference.
The film tells the story of Laura Guerrero, an aspiring beauty queen whose dream turns into a nightmare when she unwillingly gets involved with a criminal gang at war.
The director based Laura on former Miss Sinaloa Laura Zuñiga Huizar, who was arrested along with seven suspected drug traffickers in 2008 and later released due to a lack of evidence.
"Miss Bala" sheds light on the violence in Mexico "without becoming morbid," Cruz said.
"It's about creating awareness of what's happening in Mexico," he added.
Conflict among Mexico's various drug cartels and between the criminals and security forces has claimed nearly 40,000 lives nationwide since December 2006, when newly inaugurated President Felipe Calderon militarized Mexico's drug war.
"Miss Bala" was filmed over six weeks in Mexico, mainly in the northwestern border city of Tijuana and the central state of Aguascalientes.
The film stars professional model Stephanie Sigman and is produced by Canana Productions - owned by actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal - in collaboration with FOX International Productions.
It received Mexican government support through the Mexican Film Institute, the National Council for Culture and the Arts and the Investment and Support Fund for the Mexican Film Industry, or Fidecine.
The 2011 Cannes Film Festival got underway Wednesday with a screening of the Woody Allen film "Midnight in Paris" will run through May 22.
"Miss Bala" is scheduled for a May 13 screening.