The Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (PHLAFF) was established in 2012 and has become the Greater Philadelphia region’s only festival showcasing the extraordinary and innovative work of emerging and established Latin American and Latino filmmakers. Each year, the Festival includes screenings of ground-breaking works from all genres. Festival programs attract a diverse audience, developing a new space in the Philadelphia region where filmmakers, actors, and producers can meet with other artists, engage with audiences and present and discuss innovative work.
Philadelphia: May 30 - June 2. Full details here.
The 22nd Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival presents world-class narrative and documentary feature and short films and videos, as well as experimental, animation, and music video selections, in competitive and non-competitive sections.
The festival showcases contemporary films and videos from Latin America (North, Central, South America, and the Caribbean) and the Iberian Peninsula. Films and videos made by or about Latinxs in the U.S. and the rest of the world, as well as films and videos by or about Indigenous groups of the Americas are also invited to participate.
Austin, TX: May 1 - 5. Full details here.
One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious Latino film festivals celebrates its 35th birthday in 2019! The Festival promotes Latino culture in the United States by presenting the best and most recent films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States. The Festival is non-competitive. However, the most popular feature narrative, documentary and short are given the Audience Choice Award.
Chicago: March 28 - April 11. More info here.
The Houston Latino Film Festival will be presented on March 28th - 31st, 2019 at Talento Bilingue de Houston and The MATCH. Join us for a weekend to celebrate and enjoy compelling films from the brightest and emerging filmmakers from the U.S., Latin America, Spain and Portugal.
Houston: March 28 - 31. More info here.
In Alberto Isaac’s backstage drama about the Tívoli, a run-down burlesque theater, corrupt politicians live by flagrant double standards – despite being regular attendees at its naked karate acts, erotic religious pageants, and other travesties, they publicly bluster about its obscenity as a blight on the community. From 1975.
Seattle: Feb. 17 at the Northwest Film Forum.
In 1970s Colombia, a narco-trafficking era known as “la Bonanza Marimbera” pulls an indigenous Wayuu family into the fray as they enter the booming business of selling marijuana to Americans. Led by matriarch Ursula Pushaina, the “Birds of Passage”—drug runners—face the constant risk of violence and incarceration from the outsiders in Northern Colombia. The cultural differences between the native population and the newcomers begin a brutal war that threatens to destroy the Wayuu way of life. The strong and impulsive women and men must fight to maintain their livelihoods, culture, and traditions.
To be released February 2019.
A young theater and film director is hired by a governmental institution to make a documentary about the Lacandones. Upon getting more familiar with the indigenous people, he realizes that the script he has been given to work with depicts a false reality, which leaves him with an existential crisis that throws his life into stark perspective. Raúl Araiza’s film is focused on exposing social problems of Chiapas, reflecting on political demagogy, data manipulation, and official censorship. From 1977.
Seattle: Jan. 20 at Northwest Film Forum.
A circle of friends decide to lay bare all their secrets at a dinner, placing their smartphones on the table to share any incoming messages or calls that evening. What starts as a parlor game takes an unexpected, disastrous turn.
Cities nationwide: opens Jan. 11.
A cult film by Hiroshi Teshigahara (WOMAN OF THE DUNES), inspired by the wild, undulating, joyously erupting forms of Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudí. Teshigahara's eye for texture, shape, and sensual detail meets Gaudí's whimsy in the cinematic exploration of such masterpieces of visionary architecture as the basilica of La Sagrada Família. The contemporary of artists such as Picasso and Joan Miró, Gaudí drew on Barcelona's medieval Romanesque architecture and ancient Arab culture for his inspiration. This film reveals the intricacy and hallucinatory richness of his concepts through camerawork alone. Forgoing narration, Teshigahara accompanies his images with a brilliantly eclectic selection of music, ranging from baroque harpsichord to glass orchestra.
Chicago: Opens Dec. 21 at the Siskel Film Center.
Laura and Eva, two waitresses, meet with Adrián, a delivery boy whose father treats him harshly. Adrián and his friend Luis go to a cabaret with the waitresses – Laura falls in love with the timid Luis, and Eva gives herself to Adrián. From 1974.
Seattle: Dec. 16 at Northwest Film Forum.
The reckless air of a border town gives extra flavor to a Mexican New Year’s Eve when the night urges Latin American Studies professor Alejandro (Deveze) into the waiting arms of temptation. A missed flight to his home in León strands the cautious middle-aged professor in Tijuana, where the town’s seedy air suggests danger, but the energy in the streets issues an irresistible invitation. After an unexpected encounter with pretty blonde former student Ana (Veta), an American, he joins a party of reveling academics. It’s the first course in an evening laced with comic undertones that will evolve into a tangled odyssey of new sights, new emotions, and a dangerous attraction. Director van Baal (LARGO) makes superb use of Tijuana’s colorful panorama of street action as Alejandro mixes with the vendors, mystery characters, sex workers, and would-be friends who will challenge his status quo.
Chicago: Opens Dec. 14 at Siskel Film Center.
In 1997 the Argentine filmmaker Fernando Birri returned to his home country to film a documentary on the 30th anniversary of the death of Che Guevara and the relevance of utopias at that time. Carmen Guarini decided to record those moments. A rough edit of this film was hidden away on a fragile VHS tape for twenty years. Today, these images come to life and shed some light on the life of this Latin American poet and master filmmaker, who, at the age of 92, still refused to give up on his own utopias. With Fernando Birri, Eduardo Galeano, Ernesto Sabato, León Ferrari, Tanya Valette.
San Francisco: Dec. 12 at the Roxie. A Q&A via Skype with director Carmen Guarini will follow the screening.
The most personal project to date from Academy Award® winning director and writer Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men, Y Tu Mamá También), Roma follows Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio), a young domestic worker for a family in Mexico City’s middle-class Roma neighborhood. Delivering an artful love letter to the women who raised him, Cuarón draws on his own childhood to create a vivid and emotional portrait of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst Mexico’s political turmoil of the 1970s.
Worldwide: Releases in December. Check the website for details.
Cocote follows Alberto, a kind-hearted gardener returning home to attend his father’s funeral. When he discovers that a powerful local figure is responsible for his father’s death, Alberto realizes that he’s been summoned by his family to avenge the murder. It’s an unthinkable act — especially for him, an Evangelical Christian. But as pressure mounts, he sees few ways out.
Boulder: Nov. 30. More details here.
In an empty loft an unnamed young couple—a sculptor and a dancer—stick orange-colored tape to the floor to demarcate two identically sized areas: one space is to be her dance studio and the other his sculpture workshop. An open plan kitchen and a mattress turn the place into a home and we observe them engage in a sexual relationship, thereby setting the stage for a low-key psychosexual drama centered around the couple's erotic, artistic, and everyday rituals. Afterwards, they always retreat behind their dividing lines as a means to inspire their creativity. Before long, he begins to use her space for his large sculptures, and she uses them for her choreography. This interplay between intimacy and rivalry is designed to empower their mutual goal of constantly exploring themselves anew. However, the man begins to experience a growing desire to have a child with her, as they slowly lose their capacity of distinguishing between their artistic projects, their past and their romantic relationship. Filmmaker Júlia Murat playfully explores their yearning to belong, as they begin to challenge both their artistic identities as well as their identity as a couple.
Chicago: Opens Nov. 30 at Facets.
What is the passion of Berenice (Martha Navarro)—a widow, teacher, and caretaker of her invalid godmother? “Hate,” she replies. “I know that very well. And I assure you, there’s nothing like it.” The object of her hate, as well as her lust, is Rodrigo (Pedro Armendáriz Jr.), the handsome son of her godmother’s doctor. Berenice is a character driven by contradictions and marked, literally, by mysteries. Writer/director Jaime Humberto Hermosillo is perversely uninterested in reconciling these contradictions: to reconcile them would be to dull them. Instead, via a coolly observational visual style and rigorous characterization, he keeps them disparate yet together. From 1976.
Seattle: Nov. 25 at Northwest Film Forum.
The border that divides storybooks from everyday life dissolves in Colombian writer-director Marcela Rincón González’s marvelous animated adventure about a very special girl trying to find her way home.
Lila is a character from a children’s book who accidentally winds up caught in the world of her readers. The only person who can help Lila return to her rightful place is Ramón, the book’s owner, but he’s grown up now, has stopped reading and, most problematic of all, has lost his sense of wonder. Lila and her new pal Manuela are determined to convince Ramón of Lila’s plight, but in order to retrieve Lila’s book they must traverse the treacherous Desert of Lost Memories.
Miami: Nov. 24, Dec. 2 & 8 at Tower Theater.
Set in Chile’s Atacama Desert, CIELO explores the sublime night sky, employing an elegant, unusual use of time-lapse photography to capture the movements of a breathtaking astronomical tableau. Filmmaker Alison McAlpine’s thoughtful narration and the ambient sounds of the desert are blended with otherworldly music and affecting moments of deep silence. The resulting meditation on the heavens is a mystical paean to the beauty of the sky and an inspiring vision of a universe that we both see and cannot see. The Atacama – with its high-altitude setting (between the Andes and Chilean Coast Mountains), aridity (the driest non-polar place in the world, receiving an average of only .6 inches of rain per year), and near-complete lack of cloud cover and light pollution – is an ideal place to appreciate the firmament. CIELO is a distinctively cinematic reverie on these night skies, as experienced by astronomers at the La Silla, Paranal, and Las Campanas observatories, as well as local farmers, cowboys, and miners.
Chicago: Opens Nov. 23 at the Siskel Film Center.
Heroines of Nicaragua's 1979 Sandinista Revolution get their due in this documentary that underlines for posterity the leading role of women in the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) through present-day encounters with the female leaders who made it happen. First-person accounts by key women, including former commander Dora Maria Téllez, reveal how thousands of sheltered country girls and home-bound wives and mothers answered the call of the nation's struggle for social and economic justice to become warriors who shattered gender barriers and matched or bested the men in combat against the troops of the totalitarian Somosa regime in the U.S.-backed Contra War. Compelling historical interviews and combat footage serve to create then-and-now portraits of the film's featured interview subjects, who ushered in a new era of equality, only to see their place in history gradually diminished and erased under the administration of Nicaragua's current president Daniel Ortega.
Through a range of differing and subjective perspectives on the complexities of present-day Cuba, a group of documentary filmmakers from the renowned International School of Film and Television (EICTV), craft multiple narratives in collaboration with local production crews and one another. Made within the confines of a specific geographical and temporal frame, the shorts series Based in Havana, marries visions of the outsider looking in with those of the insider looking out, creating nuanced views of contemporary realities, often cast one dimensionally.
Detroit: Nov. 19. Presented by Cinema Lamont.
Sofía Gala stars in ALANIS, a clear-eyed and unsentimental film about a young Buenos Aires mother who finds employment as a sex worker and struggles to live under the same laws that are supposed to protect her. Winner of Best Actress and Best Director at San Sebastián Film Festival.
San Diego: Opens Nov. 16 at Digital Gym.
CORTADITO is the Gene Siskel Film Center's inaugural Panorama Latinx short film showcase, celebrating Latinx and Afro-latinx filmmakers residing in the Chicago area.
Though not limited to these topics, CORTADITO welcomes films relating to contemporary Latin American issues of migration, displacement, cultural celebration, intersectionality, indigeneity, colorism, and brown resilience.
Chicago: Nov. 10 at the Siskel Film Center.
Buenos Aires, 1971. Carlitos (Lorenzo Ferro) is a seventeen-year-old with movie star swagger, blond curls and a baby face. As a young boy, he coveted other people’s things, but it wasn’t until his early adolescence that his true calling—to be a thief—manifested itself. When he meets Ramon (Chino Darín) at his new school, Carlitos is immediately drawn to him and starts showing off to get his attention. Together they will embark on a journey of discovery, love and crime; killing is just a random offshoot of the violence, which continues to escalate until Carlitos is finally apprehended. Because of his angelic appearance, the press dubs Carlitos "The Angel of Death." Showered with attention because of his beauty, he becomes an overnight celebrity.
Cities Nationwide: Playing now. Check here for a theater near you.
Cine Latino Minneapolis St. Paul showcases 13 features from across North and South America, the Caribbean, and Spain—five of which are best foreign-language Oscar submissions—along with 13 short films. This year, Cine Latino puts the Spotlight on Women in Film, strong and talented women, both behind and in front of the camera, from around the Spanish-speaking world.
Minneapolis: Nov. 8 - 11. Full lineup and details here.