From the Red Carpet

LALIFF's opening night beckons an encounter with Ignacio Lopez Tarso

By Valeria Berumen
Published on LatinoLA: October 8, 2007

From the Red Carpet

LALIFF kicked last night (Sunday, October 7, 2007) in true grandeur and high style at the Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

As I approached the heart of Hollywood I looked around and saw people wandering around as usual, not to mention an equal amount of cars. I thought to myself... a typical night in La La Land, and although I have been to enough of these types of events both as press and staff that there would be no reason be nervous.

Oddly I had butterflies in my stomach.

My mind was running away with me and I liked it.

"What if?" echoed in my head.

As I entered the monstrous parking structure of Hollywood & Highland I spiraled down to Level 5 where I finally found a space. I parked, then threw my camera pack on across my chest; I took a look in the mirror, powdered my nose one last time, then thought "Don't forget the lipstick"; I smeared on a little across my lips; "Ah" perfection!

I took a deep breath and I headed towards the escalators already making my way into crowds of people, thinking to myself "Level 5, GREEN, Level 5, GREEN!" I hate I leaving a place like Hollywood & Highland and not remembering where I parked my car.

I made my way to ground level and headed towards the Theater, as soon as I was on Hollywood Blvd, I noticed the sidewalk was blocked of, I wonder "What's going on?"

I walk among the people till I got as close to the gate as I could and I asked one of the looky lou's "What's this for? Is this for LALIFF?" He replies, "I don't know."

When I get close enough I asked one of the staff is "This for LALIFF?" almost expecting him to say NO. He said, "Yes!"

Automatically, the words "I'm with the press" blurbed out of my mouth. He opened the gate let me in.

Finally got my press credentials and was directed to my spot on the red carpet. As I approached the LatinoLA.com post I passed some big players like Univision, Telemundo, La Opinion, and there it was the LATINOLA.com post, right smack in the middle between ESPN and MTV. I thought "Cool!"

By this time the butterflies were all gone. I started getting ready, I unpacked my camera, I put the lens on, then begin to focus and tried a couple of test shot. "You've got to be kidding me!" My camera read low battery. It died on me.

Not a single celebrity in sight and my camera was already dead. The guy from ESPN was nice enough check his pack to see if he has an extra, he did, but it was not compatible. Chinnnnn!...

What do I do? "Go home Valeria"... So, I called momsie... I said, "Bertha, I'm going home, no tengo bateria" She said, "No you don't, you figure it out"... Then the light came on, "My cell phone, hello!"

LatinoLA was back in the game, not that this publication even post a lot of photographs anyhow, but it was about our presence at LALIFF.

As the starts began to stroll in, the cameras flashed, microphones got pushed into their faces, and as they passed me I would ask, "Would you like to say a few words to LatinoLA?"

Lots of "Hello, gente!"

Some of the biggest names were Edward James Olmos, Kate del Castillo, however the biggest surprise for me was the presence of Mr. Ignacio Lopez Tarso, who would be honored that evening.

He made his way over to me, he paused right in front of me and stretched his hand out to me; we shook hands. I told him I was honored to be in his presence and that I was going to ask for a picture but that it would be with my cell phone. He gracefully accepted. I asked if I could impose again and asked him if I could say hello to my mom while I filmed on the cell phone. Once again he indulged me and kiddingly said, "Hola, suegra" right into my cell phone.

Although the evening had just begun, the award ceremony was still to come, the movie screening (Under the Same Moon; starring Kate del Castillo and Eugenio Derdes, and of course the LALIFF party.

That single act of kindness from Mr. Ignacio Lopez Tarso (pictured) was the highlight of the night to what otherwise would have been a pretty disastrous evening. Later when he was awarded the "Gabi" award for his lifetime achievements, it was no wonder to me why life smiles upon people like him.

About Valeria Berumen:
The best entertainment correspondent in Los Angeles.

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