Salvador Toscano Barragan

Mexico's first filmmaker

Following the debut of the Lumière Cinématographe in Mexico in 1896 under Gabriel Veyre, in 1897 engineering student Toscano Barragan acquired a Cinématographe and early in the year opened a film salon at 17 Jesus Maria Street, Mexico City, moving later in the year to larger premises. The enterprising Toscano filmed local scenes, news events, and in 1898 produced Don Juan Tenorio, Mexico's first fiction film, starring popular actor Paco Gavilanes. Continuing as a force in Mexican film production into the new century, while local production and exhibition began to flourish, Toscano continued to produce local news film while exhibiting such landmark titles as Porter's The Great Train Robbery (1903) and Georges Méliès's Le Voyage Dans la Lune (1902), often in rivalry with fellow pioneer Enrique Rosas. Memorias de un Mexicano, a documentary on Toscano's work based on his surviving film was compiled by his daughter Carmen Toscano in 1950.

Luke McKernan