By Luis Alonso Pérez
The big fiesta of Latin cinema is back in San Diego. It’s time to discover and celebrate.
The 12th edition of the San Diego Latino Film Festival (SDLFF) offers the opportunity to discover new film proposals that talented directors, producers and actors have put together to entertain us, make us cry, laugh, fall in love, reminisce and reflect in front of a large screen. But at the same time, the festival has prepared a lineup of celebrations, with musicians, actors and directors, sure to make us celebrate.
The 2005 edition of the SDLFF will be so large, that from May 10 to 20 the Hazard Center’s Mann Theatres will screen more than 100 films from Mexico, Cuba, Chile, Peru, Guatemala, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Spain and the United States. Around 17.000 assistants are expected, as well as more than 100 directors, producers and actors, for movie premieres and special events.
For the festival’s founder and director Ethan Van Thilo, “The rich amounts of talent and films that will be put together for this year’s festival, will reinforce what we have always said: the Latin cinema plays a key role in the world of cinematography “.
This year, the festival has prepared a special tribute to the diva of the Mexican golden cinema Dolores Del Río, one of the first Mexican actresses in Hollywood. As a part of the homage, three of her most successful films will be screened: La otra, Visiting Rio and the Fugitive.
Mexican actress Carmen Salinas will be present for the premiere of the movie Los Santos Peregrinos on March 11th, as a part of an homage to her successful career as an actress in the big and small screen. Another Latino that will be recognized with a special homage this year is Danny Trejo the Latin villain icon of Hollywood and will be present for the premiere of the movie Champion, on March 12th.
The guest director for this year is Luis Mandoki. A famous Mexican director, considered as a Latin pioneer in Hollywood. Whose movie Voces Inocentes just participated in the official selection of the Oscar awards. Voces Inocentes will be screened during the festival, as well as a selection of three films that have influenced his career and personal life: The Battle of Algeria, Rocco and his Brothers and The Human Condition.
Besides awarding actors and directors, this year’s edition of the Latino Film Festival will present the latest and the best Cuban cinema, with narrative features and documentaries directed by talented Caribbean directors like: En fin, el Mar, Perfecto amor equivocado, Sin embargo and La Fabri-k
To celebrate, the SDLFF will showcase talented Latin musicians that will fire up each of the parties and events. Event goers can enjoy music from the Binational Mambo Orchestra (3/19), Agua Dulce (3/16), Gilbert Castellanos (3/19), Emilio Camacho y los Rumberos (3/12), Jack “Mr. Bongo” Costanzo (3/10), Quino from Big Mountain (3/18) and many others.
The festival organizers have selected 10 “Stars of the future”, actors and actresses whose talent and work should be followed closely by Latin cinema lovers. There will be special appearances during the festival by young actors like Baja California’s Rafael Amaya; Dominican-New Jersey beauty Michelle Rodríguez; Colombian actress Angie Cepeda with her movie Love for Rent; The talented Leonor Varela with Voces Inocentes; Tough man José Yenque with Puños Rosas and Mexican showman Adal Ramones with Santos Peregrinos and Puños Rosas.
For this year special series have been prepared. !Para la familia! Is a series of features, animations, documentaries and television shows specially selected to entertain and educate young moviegoers, like Acquaria from Brasil, El Carro from Colombia, Magos y Gigantes from México, Patoruzito from Argentina and the television show Maya y Miguel, produced by Scholastic Entertainment.
As a part of the Student Outreach program, a special series of free morning screenings of animation features and documentaries called !Tu Cine! has been programmed. Grade school students can enjoy movies like Patoruzito and Magos y Gigantes, while older students can watch docu-mentaries like Race is the place and Youth voices, along with a selection of videos produced by teenagers from the Tijuana-San Diego border region, from the Media Arts Center’s Tu Voz TV project.
If it wasn’t enough, the festival has programmed a series of workshops and seminars for filmmakers and students about financing and distributing movies, script-writing and television production, and four art exhibits in galleries and cultural centers around San Diego.