The 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival to Open with “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo’s Rousing Epic about the Life of Simon Bolivar


CHICAGO (March 10, 2015) – The 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) announces the selection of “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo’s rousing epic about Simon Bolivar, as its Opening Night/Night of Venezuela gala film. The event will take place Thursday April 9 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. beginning at 5:30 p.m. and will conclude with a post-screening reception at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 511 N. Columbus Dr. Director Arvelo and actress Rudy Rodriguez (whose latest film “The House at the End of Time” is an official selection of the festival) are scheduled to attend the screening and reception. Opening Night/Night of Venezuela is sponsored by CITGO.

“Alberto made a film that is as grand and ambitious as Bolivar’s dream of a unified continent. With its sweeping vistas, exciting battle sequences and intimate drama, ‘The Liberator’ needs to be seen in the big screen,” said Pepe Vargas, founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center, producer of the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival. “With this Opening Night event, we celebrate Venezuela’s rich culture and the beginning of two weeks’ worth of innovative, thrilling, and amazing films from the Latino diaspora.”


Starring Edgar Ramirez (“Carlos”, “The Bourne Ultimatum”) as Simon Bolivar and featuring an international cast that includes Spanish actors Imanol Arias (“The Flower of My Secret”) and María Valverde (“Exodus: Gods and Kings”), Danny Huston and Iwan Rheon (Ramsey Snow in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) and a score by maestro Gustavo Dudamel, Venezuela’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Oscar follows Bolivar from his youth as a privileged member of Venezuela’s aristocracy to his transformation as leader of Latin America’s independence movement against Spain. Arvelo stunningly and elaborately recreates Bolivar’s key military campaigns against the Spanish forces (including the Battle of Boyaca for which Bolivar’s forces had to cross the Andes) as well as the political obstacles he faced as he tried to bring to life his vision of a unified Latin American continent.

Alberto Arvelo has developed a cinematographic body of work recognized for the profound social and human burden of his characters and by the visual power of his films. Two of his most emblematic works, “One Life and Two Trails” (1997) and “A House with a View of the Sea” (2001), form part of an exploration of the South American Andes. As a professor at the National School of Cinema in Merida, Venezuela, Arvelo also initiated an original film movement known as “Cine Atomo,” focused on creating real opportunities for young Latin American directors. The concept stems from the idea of producing uncommon, ornate, reflective and humane movies with only essential crew and production components. The first movie produced using the mechanics of this movement was “Habana Havana” (2004), directed by Arvelo. The film was given the Venezuelan National Film Award and a dozen international awards. Arvelo’s “Cyrano Fernandez” starring Edgar Ramirez (2007, and an Official Selection of the 25th Chicago Latino Film Festival), is an inspiring adaptation of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” Edmond Rostand’s classic French play. Arvelo’s film preserves the essence of the love triangle, depicting it in the complex and breathtaking environment of a slum in Caracas. In 2010, Arvelo directed the stage portion of a multimedia opera of “Cantata Criolla” for the LA Philharmonic, conducted by Dudamel and starring Helen Hunt and Ramirez.

Tickets for Opening Night are $85 general admission / $70 for ILCC members. Admission includes the film screening and reception offering food, libations and live entertainment. Cocktail attire is strongly encouraged. Tickets can be purchased online at

The 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will be taking place April 9-23 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. The audience will also have the opportunity to participate in discussions with local and international filmmakers after most of the screenings. The Festival will be held at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.

The 31st Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival is made possible by the generous contributions of sponsors and their continued commitment to the Latino arts in Chicago:

Platinum: BMO Harris Bank, NBC5 Chicago, Telemundo and Univision

Gold: Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Hoy/Chicago Tribune, JCDecaux, La Raza, Verizon Wireless and WTTW 11

Silver: Allstate, Corona Extra, DePaul University, Lapiz, MyHabanero, TITAN, Whitehall Hotel – Official Hotel of the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival, and Yes! Press

Bronze: AARP, Aeromexico, Baker & McKenzie, Chicago Reader, CITGO, Consulate General of Argentina in Chicago, Consulate General of Chile in Chicago, Consulate General of Venezuela in Chicago, Copa Airlines, Gozamos, Lopez & Co, Prado & Renteria, Reflejos, Tequila Casa Noble and Tristan & Cervantes.

In addition to the corporate sponsorship, the Chicago Latino Film Festival receives additional financial support from: The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council –a state agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Nordstrom.

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 10th anniversary in the Fall; Film in the Parks, also in its 10th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 6th 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.