Actor/director Mel Gibson has been hailed for his "vision and courage" by a Latin American business group for his Mexico-shot new movie. APOCALYPTO is set in the ancient Mayan empire - now Mexico and Central America - and features an entirely local cast and technical crew. Gibson said of the starless line-up, "It was tantamount to being at the Super Bowl and getting your quarterback from the audience. But they scored touchdown after touchdown. I don't know why no one has gone down there before." And his gamble was praised by the Los Angeles-based Latin Business Association yesterday (02NOV06), who are delighted with the way their community has been portrayed on screen. Presenting an award for the film, chairman RICK SARMIENTO said the movie had made him "feel extremely proud of everything to do with our culture". Apocalypto is set for release later this year (06).