Festival Director’s Letter


Welcome to the 32nd Chicago Latino Film Festival.

A film festival is as good as the films that are being produced…and 2015 was, truly, a bountiful year for Iberoamerican cinema.

Latin American films won major awards at the Berlin, Cannes and Venice Film Festivals. Films from Brazil, Chile and Colombia achieved major milestones at this year’s Academy Awards: “Embrace of the Serpent” became the first Colombian film to be nominated for an Oscar; “The Boy and the World” (an official selection of the 30th Chicago Latino Film Festival) was the first Brazilian animated film to be nominated and the short animation film “Bear Story” was the first Chilean film to ever win an Oscar. Of this crop of award-winning films, we are proud to present César Acevedo’s “Land and Shade” (Colombia), winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes and Lorenzo Vigas’ “From Afar” (Venezuela), the first Latin American film to have won the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

For 32 years, the Chicago Latino Film Festival has been at the forefront of introducing audiences to the stories and visions of Latino filmmakers. Choosing which films will play in our Festival becomes more challenging each year given the enormous amount of high quality films coming out from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. But it is also fun and exciting. We are deeply committed to bringing the best of the best to Chicago screens.

We are proud to join the celebration of Kartemquin Films’ 50th anniversary with a special screening of “In the Game.” Their documentaries have played an indispensable role in chronicling this country’s neighborhoods and the people that live and work in them. “In the Game” introduces audiences to one of these communities, one that is rarely, if ever, covered by the mainstream media.

With the Chicago Latino Film Festival we planted a seed in this city and from that seed a beautiful and robust tree named the International Latino Cultural Center was born. This tree has many branches: the Latino Music Festival, now in its 11th season; Film in the Parks, also in its 11th season; the monthly Reel Film Club series, already in its 7th year, and many other events.

I invite you to attend all these events… You won’t need a passport to discover, enjoy and be a part of Latino culture.

Finally, I am grateful for the continued support we receive from volunteers, staffers, board members, foundations, the Ibero-American Consular Association and sponsors who strongly believe, like I do, in the need for events like this one in our City.

Pepe Vargas

Founder & Executive Director, ILCC