CHICAGO (March 27, 2012) – The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC) announced today that the award-winning and critically acclaimed Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons will receive this year’s Gloria Career Achievement Award. The award will be presented to Pons in person during Opening Night of the Festival, April 13, prior to the Chicago premiere of Pons’ latest film, Year of Grace/Any de Gràcia at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. The event starts at 6 p.m. and will conclude with a reception following the screening at the River East Arts Center, 435 E. Illinois St. Opening Night of the Festival will be catered by St. Augustine College Culinary Arts Program.
Described by critic Alex Gorina as a “dynamic, comforting, optimistic and constructive comedy,” Pons’ latest film, Year of Grace/Any de Gràcia, takes place in Barcelona’s Gracia neighborhood, where David, who has left his native small town in search of a new life in Barcelona, meets Gràcia, a bitter old woman in her late sixties, who offers him free room in exchange for his companionship. They soon realize they have more in common than meets the eye.
Since 1999, the Gloria Award has been given in recognition to individuals and institutions for their outstanding contributions to the Latino arts. “I admire Ventura’s talent and the consistency and eloquence of his film work. He possesses a very rigorous discipline,” said festival director Pepe Vargas. “The quantity and quality of his work, alongside the diverse subject matter, places Ventura Pons in a prominent place in the history of Spanish cinema and, fundamentally, Catalan cinema. It pleases me to present him with the Gloria Award in recognition to his artistic accomplishments”.
Born in Barcelona in 1945, Ventura Pons burst into the international film scene in 1978 with “Ocana, retrat intermittent” (“Ocana, an Intermittent Portrait”), a touching portrait of one of that city’s most famous transvestites. But even though “Ocana” was chosen to participate at the Cannes Film Festival, it wasn’t until “Caricies” (1997) was selected by the Berlin International Film Festival for its Panorama section that the world finally paid attention to his uncompromising work. In fact, he is the only director whose films have been invited five consecutive times to Berlin, the other four being Amic/amat (1998), Morir (o no) (1999), Anita Takes a Chance (2000) and Food of Love (2001, his only English-language film).
Through his production company, Els Films de la Rambla, Pons has produced and directed over 20 dramas, comedies and even musicals that explore the complex relationships between men and women, men and men, and women and women. Pons has been the subject of more than 20 tributes and retrospectives, including the Lincoln Center’s Spanish Cinema Now! Series (1999), Hollywood’s American Cinematheque (2001), and the Montpellier Festival in France (2011), and was given a special award at the 2009 Torino GLBT Film Festival for his contributions to gay cinema. He has won the Butaca Award for Best Catalan Film and the Mar del Plata Film Festival Award for Best Iberoamerican Film, among others. He has also received the Creu de Saint Jordi, the highest civil distinction awarded by the Generalitat de Catalunya.
Tickets for Opening Night/Gloria Award are $75 general admission/ $65 for ILCC members. Admission includes a special film screening and reception offering food, libations and live entertainment. Cocktail attire is strongly encouraged. Tickets are available for purchase at LatinoCulturalCenter.org or by calling (312) 431-1330.
The 28th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF) will be taking place April 13-26 and will feature over 140 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 or Spanish subtitles. Other than the Special Events, the Festival will be held at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema (2828 N. Clark St.) and the Instituto Cervantes (31 E. Ohio St.).
The 28th Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival was made possible by the generous contributions of sponsors and their continued commitment to the Latino arts in Chicago:
Platinum: American Airlines – Official Airline, Telemundo/NBC Chicago, and Univision Chicago
Gold: Chicago Latino Network, Chicago Tribune and Hoy, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), JCDecaux, La Raza, Verizon Wireless, Victoria, and WTTW 11 Chicago Public Media
Silver: DePaul University, DHL – Official Express Delivery Provider, EC Charro Tequila, Lapiz, PGC Group – Official Printer, and Titan
Bronze: AARP, Baker & McKenzie, Chicago Reader, Chicago White Sox, Consulate General of Argentina in Chicago, Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago, Egeda Filmotech, Gozamos, Hispanic Executive, Lopez & Co, Mega 95.5, Coors, Prado & Renteria, State Farm Insurance, Tampico, Tristan & Cervantes, UNAM – USA Chicago and Valoramas.
Additional support provided by: The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, City Arts grant – City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Illinois Arts Council – a state agency, and Nordstrom.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
In 1985, the Chicago Latino Film Festival began with 14 films projected onto a concrete wall for 500 viewers, and has now grown into the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC) of Chicago, a premiere cultural organization. The ILCC is a pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting and increasing awareness of Latino cultures by presenting a wide variety of art forms and education including film, music, dance, visual arts, comedy and theater. Imperative to the ILCC mission is to increase cultural opportunities for the Latino community, as well as, create a cultural dialogue amongst Latinos and non-Latinos to discuss universal cross-cultural experiences.
The Chicago Latino Film Festival is produced by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.