CHICAGO (March 24, 2015) – The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC) announced today the lineup for the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) to be held April 9-23 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. during a kick-off celebration at Fulton Market Kitchen, 311 N. Sangamon St. in Chicago. The Festival will feature over 120 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. Of those, 81 are feature-length films, 43 of which were directed by first-time feature filmmakers, and 41 are shorts.
The Festival will open Thursday, April 9 with the Chicago premiere of Alberto Arvelo’s rousing epic “The Liberator” at the AMC River East 21.
“Our program this year offers a nice mix of genre films, some that were box-office hits in their respective countries and films that were critically acclaimed in the festival circuit. The fact that more than half of our feature films were made by first time feature filmmakers is a testament to the vitality and creativity that is coming out of the Latino diaspora,” said Pepe Vargas, founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center, producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival. “Our goal has always been to share the best our culture has to offer with the general public, and there is no better tool to build bridges with other communities than cinema.”
Festival highlights include: “Forgotten,” Bolivia’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language Oscar about the infamous CIA-sponsored Operation Condor that led to the disappearance of thousands of opponents to South America’s military dictatorships; Fellipe Barbosa’s debut feature “Casa Grande, or the Ballad of Poor Jean,” winner of the Audience Award at last year’s Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival; “Mateo” Maria Gamboa’s drama about the power of art in a violence-ridden town of Colombia and that country’s official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar; the “Twilight Zone”-like time-bending science-fiction thriller “The Incident” from Mexico; “Bacuri’s Eyes,” actress Maria de Medeiros’ documentary about three generations of women who survived South America’s brutal military dictatorships; the Venezuelan thriller “The House at the End of Time” which smashed the country’s box-office records when it was released in 2013; and Jorge Diaz de Bedoya’s Tarantinoesque crime thriller, “Cicada Moon” from Paraguay.
All of the films will be shown in their original language with English subtitles (unless otherwise noted). The audience will also have the opportunity to participate in discussions with local and international filmmakers after most of the screenings.
CLFF is a non-competitive festival. However, since 1993, the public has had the opportunity to vote for their favorite film in several categories and award them with the Audience Choice Award. The winner will be announced on Friday, April 24.
Opening Night/Night of Venezuela: The 31st Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) opens Thursday, April 9 with the Chicago premiere of Alberto Arvelo’s rousing epic “The Liberator”. Starring Edgar Ramirez (“Carlos,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) as Simon Bolivar, “The Liberator” 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. Featuring an international cast that includes Spanish actors Imanol Arias and Maria Valverde, Danny Huston and Iwan Rheon (Ramsey Snow in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”) and a score written by maestro Gustavo Dudamel. Opening Night is sponsored by CITGO.
Closing Night: The delightfully romantic, highly energetic, and ultimately fun musical comedy “Ciudad Delirio,” directed by Chus Gutierrez, will be screened during the Closing Night gala, Wednesday, April 22 at the AMC River East 21. Angie (Carolina Ramirez) and her dance troupe are preparing for a major audition for the legendary dance company Delirio when she meets visiting Spanish doctor Javier (Julian Villagran, “Dark Blue Almost Black”). Sparks fly in and out of the dance floor as Javier and Angie fall in love and the troupe begins to face problems of their own. “Ciudad Delirio” features over 200 professional dancers and 3,000 extras, choreography by Blanca Li (who has worked with Beyoncé and Kylie Minogue) and the music of Grupo Niche, Guayacán Orquesta and Fruko y sus tesos, among others.
AARP presents “Movies for Grownups”: Since 2002, AARP has selected the year’s best movies with storylines, performances, and filmmaking that have relevance to the 50+ moviegoer as part of its Movies for Grownups program. Movies for Grownups works within communities across the nation to offer opportunities to see some of the year’s best films before they are in theaters. The program’s multimedia platforms –web, You Tube and print, radio and television– reach millions of movie fans across the United States. The films chosen for this special series are: “Father” (Costa Rica), “With You Bread and Onions” (Cuba), “Grandma’s Birthday” (Mexico, above), “One for the Road” (Mexico), “Good Old Boys” (Peru) and “Cats Have No Vertigo” (Portugal).
Chilean Cinema in Action: Chilean cinema is going through one of its most exciting periods, a result of the talent and tenacity of its filmmakers as well as the coordinated efforts of private audiovisual production companies and the continued support of different state agencies towards the distribution, marketing and promotion of Chilean films. As in years past, thanks to the friendship and partnership that bind the Chicago Latino Film Festival, the Consulate General of Chile in Chicago and the Cultural Division of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Chicago filmgoers will have the opportunity to see and enjoy the high quality work of six Chilean filmmakers. Highlights include “I Am Not Lorena,” Isidora Marras’ thrilling debut about one woman’s battle against identity theft; “Aurora,” the story of a would-be mother obsessed with giving an abandoned dead baby a proper burial; and Manual Basoalto’s “Neruda,”(above) the true story of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s exile from Chile in the 1940s.
Documentaries: From the surprising victory of Uruguay’s soccer team over Brazil in the 1950 World Cup (“Maracana,” above) to the political execution of four leaders of Costa Rica’s Communist Party in 1948 (“The Devil’s Elbow”), this year’s selection of 11 feature documentaries and 8 shorts introduces audiences to the real life stories of writers, artists, political activists, workers, and even surfers and marathon runners who left and are leaving their mark in our continent.
Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trans/Queer (LGBTQ): CLFF celebrates the important artistic contributions of Latino LGBTQ talent and films, which are represented this year by “Tattoo” (Brazil, above) directed by Hilton Lacerda, “His Wedding Dress” (Cuba) directed by Marilyn Solaya, “The Last Match” (Cuba) directed by Antonio Hens and “Holiday” (Ecuador) directed by Diego Araujo.
Made In USA: Films made in Chicago and all over the U.S. with a Latino perspective. The selection includes: “East Side Sushi”, a delightful film by Anthony Lucero about a Latina who wishes to become a sushi chef; “Water & Power,” (above) Culture Clash co-founder Richard Montoya’s adaptation of his play about two brothers tangled in a power struggle in the streets of L.A.; and “The Park Bench,” a quirky, delightful tale about life, love and literature. Ten shorts are also part of this section including: “Now in Spanish,” the story of five women who dub “Desperate Housewives” for Spanish-language audiences in the U.S.; “A Photographer’s Journey” which explores the remarkable career of photographer Pedro Guerrero and the iconic portraits he produced of Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson; and the locally-produced “Lex”, the sequel to last year’s Audience Choice favorite “Albert.”
Women in Film: This year, of the 81 feature films programmed for the Festival, 16 were directed or co-directed by women and of the 41 shorts, 13 were directed by women. They include: “Before Dawn” (Peru, above) directed by Evelyne Pegot-Ogier, “Roque Dalton, Let’s Shoot the Night!” (El Salvador/Austria/Cuba) by Tina Leisch, and Florence Jaugey’s “The Naked Screen” (Nicaragua), among others.
LOCATIONS AND TICKET INFORMATION
All films are presented in their original language with English subtitles (unless otherwise noted). All screenings will take place at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. Galas will conclude with a post-screening reception at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 511 N. Columbus Dr. Tickets for the galas are $85 general and $70 for ILCC members. Admission includes the screening and a post-screening reception offering food, libations and live entertainment. Cocktail attire is strongly encouraged.
Tickets to each regular screening at the AMC River East 21 are: $12, general admission; $10 (with valid ID) for ILCC Members, AARP members, students, and seniors. Saturday and Sunday matinees (first shows), $8. Festival passes for 12 admissions are: $110 (a savings of $34) for the general public and $80 (a $64 savings) for ILCC members. Cash, debit and major credit cards are accepted at the box office. Theater box office opens one hour before the first show of the day.
A complete film schedule is available at chicagolatinofilmfestival.org. Check for daily updates on our Facebook page.
The 31st Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival is made possible by the generous contributions of our 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, CAN-TV, Chicago Reader, CITGO, Consulate General of Argentina in Chicago, Consulate General of Chile in Chicago, Consulate General of Venezuela in Chicago, Copa Airlines, Gozamos.com, Lopez & Co, Prado & Renteria, Reflejos, Tequila Casa Noble and Tristan & Cervantes.
ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT
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.
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 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.