BIOPIC TAMARA, ABOUT VENEZUELA’S FIRST TRANSGENDER
PERSON TO BE ELECTED TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY,
IS THE CLOSING NIGHT FILM OF
THE 33rd CHICAGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL
Director Elia K. Schneider, producer José Ramón Novoa and actress Prakriti Maduro are scheduled to attend the May 4th screening at the AMC River East and post-screening gala at the Embassy Suites.
CHICAGO (March 29, 2017) – Venezuelan filmmaker Elia K. Schneider’s latest film, Tamara, about the first transgender person elected to that country’s National Assembly, has been chosen as the Closing Night film for the 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival. The event will take place Thursday, May 4 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. at 5:30 p.m. and will conclude with a post-screening reception at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 511 N. Columbus Dr. Director Schneider, producer José Ramón Novoa and actress Prakriti Maduro (who plays Tamara Adrian’s new partner before and after the sex reassignment surgery) are scheduled to attend the gala.
Tickets for Closing Night are $90 general / $75 for ILCC members. Admission includes the film screening and post-screening reception offering food, drinks and live entertainment. Cocktail attire is strongly encouraged. Tickets for Closing Night will go on sale Friday, March 31 and can be purchased online at chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/.
Product of a conservative family, Tomás Adrian harbored strong feelings of identifying as female from a young age. When Tomás becomes Tamara, she takes on a prejudiced state system that refuses to accept her new identity, making life virtually impossible for her. Undeterred, she fights back, becoming one of Venezuela’s top LGBTQ and women’s rights activists. Tamara is more than a traditional biopic; it confronts head-on a country’s trans-phobia as it celebrates the courage of a community unafraid to fight for its rights.
“Elia has a knack for making the personal universal and for tackling tough issues in an honest way. Tamara is one of her most powerful films in that regard. This story about identity, prejudice and a community’s fight to be heard, recognized and respected is truly relevant given the times we are living in. It sends a strong message about what the Festival is about and it will definitely generate a lot of debate among moviegoers on Closing Night,” said Pepe Vargas, founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center, producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival.
The husband and wife team of José Ramón Novoa and Elia K. Schneider are, without a doubt, Venezuelan cinema’s power couple. They’ve been exchanging roles as producer and director on their films since José Ramón (who sometimes signs his films as Joseph Novoa) made his directing debut in 1985 with Agonía, which she produced. Elia began her career in the theater. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Elia directed several plays based on the works of Franz Kafka for La Mama Experimental Theater in the East Village. Elia made her feature film directing debut with Huelepega: Ley de la calle (Glue Sniffer, 1999, an official selection of the 16th Chicago Latino Film Festival), about Venezuela’s street kids which was censored by then president Rafael Caldera. The movie, however, broke all box office records in Venezuela and was chosen to represent the country for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film as was her second film, Punto y raya (A Dot and a Line, 2004), about a young Colombian army recruit who befriends a Venezuelan adversary. Desautorizados (2010), her third film, plays with the line that separates fact from fiction in its story of a director (named after the filmmaker) who’s working on her new film while her fictional characters work on a film of their own. José Ramón has produced all four films including Tamara.
Born in Uruguay, José Ramón also began his career in the theater as an actor and director for Teatro Circular. After studying and working in Denmark and Paris, he moved to Venezuela where he co-directed Caracas’ International Theater Festival in 1978 and 1982. He studied film at New York University and television production at the Tisch School of the Arts. He followed Agonía with Sicario (1994), Oro diablo (2000), El don (2006), Un lugar lejano (A Distant Place, 2010) and Solo (2014), all produced by his wife. Both produced son Joel’s feature debut Esclavo de Dios (God’s Slave, 2013) about the infamous terrorist bombing of the Jewish community center AMIA in Buenos Aires in 1994, featured during the 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival.
Actress Prakriti Maduro stepped into the spotlight in 1998 in the Venezuelan soap opera Reina de corazones (Queen of Hearts) and made her feature film debut with a small role in the 2003 drama Yotama se va volando. But it wasn’t until her performance in the title role of a seamstress who’s torn between two men in modern day Havana in Fina Torres’ 2010 film Havana Eva that critics worldwide began to pay attention. Chicago Latino Film Festival audiences have enjoyed her work in such films as Reverón (2011), 3 Bellezas (2014) and last year’s Carga sellada from Bolivia. Maduro can also be seen in Extraterrestres, which will be shown at the Festival on Friday, April 28 (6:30 pm); Saturday, April 29 (6:15 pm) and Sunday, April 30 (5:30 pm).
The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will take place April 20 – May 4 and will feature over 100 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. All of the films will be shown in their original language with English subtitles where appropriate. The audience will also have the opportunity to participate in discussions with visiting filmmakers after most of the screenings. The Festival will be held at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.
The 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival is made possible by the generous contributions of sponsors and their continued commitment to the Latino arts in Chicago:
Gold: Corona Extra, BMO Harris Bank, AMC Independent, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Univision Chicago, JCDecaux, La Raza and WTTW 11
Silver: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, Latinicity, The Whitehall Hotel, Intersection, Yes! Press and DePaul University.
Bronze: Baker & McKenzie, CAN-TV, Consulate General of the Argentine Republic, CITGO, Coca-Cola, Consulate General of Chile in Chicago, Ford, Beam Suntory, Copa Airlines, Lopez & Co, Prado & Renteria, Tequila Casa Noble, Tristan & Cervantes, Chicago Latino Network, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader and HOY/Chicago Tribune.
The Chicago Latino Film Festival receives additional support from: CineLatino, LatinoScoop.com, Illinois Lottery, HueMovies, Sidekick Video, US Bank, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Nordstrom, Prince Charitable Trust and the Illinois Arts Council.
ABOUT THE ILCC
The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is a pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting and increasing awareness of Latino cultures among Latinos and other communities by presenting a wide variety of art forms and education including film, music, dance, visual arts, comedy and theater. The Center prides itself for its outstanding multidisciplinary local and international cultural programming which spans Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States.
Born out of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago also produces other programs, including the Latino Music Festival, which will celebrate its 12th edition in the Fall; Film in the Parks, also in its 12th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 8th year; and many others. All in all, the audience has grown from 500 people in 1985 for the first Chicago Latino Film Festival to more than 70,000 (Latinos and non-Latinos) who enjoy the year-round multidisciplinary cross-cultural exchanges offered by the Center.