These days, Mexican film directors find themselves in uncharted territory.

With the international success of films like Amores Perros and Y Tu Mamá También, Mexican films are now attracting unprecedented attention from well beyond Mexico's borders.

But beyond the big-budget, high-profile hits, there's a generation of young filmmakers who are challenging traditional notions of Mexican culture and bringing a quirky new vision of "Mexicanness" to the big screen--and their work is coming to Tucson.

For the fourth year in a row, Tucson Cine Mexico will bring Mexican cinema to venues throughout Tucson. This year, the film festival will include the Arizona premiere of Miss Bala, the critically acclaimed story of an aspiring beauty queen ensnared in Mexico's drug war, and an appearance by the film's star, Stephanie Sigman.

Vicky Westover, director of the Hanson Film Institute, sponsor of the festival, says this is an opportunity for local audiences to sample the dynamic film production industry south of the border.

“This is the fourth Tucson Cine Mexico and we’ll be showing some of the best of contemporary Mexican cinema, with directors and producers coming to be with us to discuss their work,” says Westover.

Isaías Noguez, spokesman with the Tucson Mexican Consulate, a co-sponsor of the film festival, says the screenings offer the public a chance to see a multifaceted perspective of Mexican culture.

“Mexican cinema has always had a special place in our arts,” says Noguez.

Noguez says that although Miss Bala deals with the current drug violence problem in Mexico and is perhaps not the ideal film in terms of the public relations objectives of his office, it is an important narrative of the modern Mexican experience.

“That’s one of the main goals of this [film festival],” says Noguez. “It’s not just about the Mexican stereotypes, the mariachi, the sombrero, the tequila --it's not just about what is in the past, but the present and future of our country.”