Opening Night Film: Brimstone & Glory

Viktor Jakovleski
2017 | 67 minutes
Country of Production: USA
Country Featured: Mexico
NY Premiere | Director and Protagonist in Attendance

Once a year, an annual pyrotechnics festival erupts through the small city of Tultepec, Mexico, transforming it into a blaze of sparks and flames. In the climactic "burning of the bulls," the bravest participants run amid toritos, bull-shaped floats rigged with fireworks that rain burning ash and light on the city.

A conversation with director Viktor Jakovleski, protagonist Amauri Sanabria, and anthropologist Diana Taylor, moderated by Carlos Gutierrez of Cinema Tropical follows the screening.

Co-presented by Cinema Tropical


Variety magazine raves about this “poetical documentary about the small Mexican city devoted to making—and exploding—fireworks….mixing sheer spectacle with modest but pleasing human-interest threads, Viktor Jakovleski’s first directorial feature is a poetical, entrancing documentary that should delight niche viewers across many cultural borders.” 

Read the full review here

Activate: My Perspective

“The process of making Brimstone & Glory was one of immersing ourselves fully in Tultepec’s National Pyrotechnic Festival and the celebrations for the patron saint of firework-makers, San Juan de Dios. The festivities provoked an adrenaline rush unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Within all the wild, exuberant, and often dangerous revelry I sensed a deep collective effervescence, something that pointed towards transcendence. To bring audiences into this visceral experience, we took our cameras into the middle of the bull-burning madness and found a way to shoot fireworks in super slow motion, revealing their connection to the cosmos. It was an experiment that I hope offers audiences a palpable sense of the incredible power, danger, and beauty of Tultepec’s fireworks and celebratory traditions."

 —Viktor Jakovleski | Director, Brimstone & Glory