Latino Films Find the Limelight

Seventh annual film festival showcases a wide range of cinematic efforts

By Carlos San Miguel
Published on LatinoLA: July 23, 2003

Latino Films Find the Limelight

Every year and rightfully so, the Latina/o community is forced to complain that there are not enough films being made by, for and about the Latina/os who live in the U.S. and in other countries, but now is the time to go watch as many Latina/o films as you like.

July 19th through August 2nd are the dates of the 7th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, which will be held once again at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. With a great number of films scheduled there is sure to be something of interest for everyone who attends. And if you have never attended it's definitely worth checking out.

Headed by festival director Marlene Dermer and actor/ activist Edward James Olmos (who will be returning to PBS on new episodes of "American Family"), this year's festival has scheduled over 100 different films from various countries including Mexico, the United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Peru, Argentina and Spain.

Films range in various topics covering social, political, cultural and personal perspectives of the filmmakers and the Latino community as a whole.

Creating the opportunity for the audience to experience the complicated and often times varying Latino experience which is so often never honestly depicted in mainstream Hollywood made movies, where Latino characters are often over simplified and stereotypically portrayed.

The range of films being shown during the 15-day event will include everything from feature length narratives and documentaries to short films made by independent and student filmmakers who are typically at the beginning of their filmmaker careers and giving the audience a chance to see their first works, which can be very well done and engaging.

Among the many films being screened will be "Lucia, Lucia" and "Tiempo Real" from Mexico; "Speeder Kills" from rising U.S. filmmaker Jim Mendiola, whose last film "Come and Take It Day" aired on PBS and "Valley of Tears" by award-winning filmmaker Hart Perry about the Mexican-American migrant workers and their families very difficult struggles in Raymondville, Texas; "Radio Favela" from Brazil and many other excellent films some of which may be having their U.S. or World Premieres.

In addition to the large selection of films there will also be various workshops, lectures, and other related events for the audience and the invited filmmakers to attend and get a chance to learn about the filmmaking process.

LALIFF will present opening, closing and Lifetime Achievement Gala events and programs such as Modern Classics, First-Time Directors, a Music Program and a Children's Program, among others.

As in the past, this year's festival will recognize the best films in several categories during it's award ceremony. A jury of film making professionals will select winners in the areas of Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Director, Best Documentary and Best Short Film. And one film will also receive the "Audience Award" which will naturally be chosen by the festival's attending audience.

Among the many sponsors for this year's festival are Blockbuster Video, the City of Los Angeles, Miller Brewing Company, American Airlines, film studios Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox and Paramount, Mexicana Airlines, Hamburger Hamlet, Showtime and many others companies.

For a complete schedule and description of the films being shown at this year's LALIFF, ticket prices, parking areas and other related information please check the website or call the festival office. Tickets can be purchased in advance over the phone or at the box office and it is also possible to get discounted passes to be able to attend all the films, an All Gala pass and a VIP Pass to attend every film and Gala event. General Admission tickets are $8, but make sure to ask for any group or family discounts offered. If you are unfamiliar with the area, call or check the website for parking options.

Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival is at http://www.latinofilm.org

Festival Phone number 323/ 469 - 9066. Venue: Egyptian Theater, 6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

Dates: July 19 through August 2, 2003

About Carlos San Miguel:
Carlos San Miguel is an actor, writer and director.

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