Among the features selected for this year’s Festival, taking place March 28-April 11 at the AMC River East 21 Theatres, two are having their World Premiere, twelve their North American Premiere and nine their U.S. Premiere

CHICAGO (March 20, 2019) – The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago presented last night the full program for the 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival during their annual Kickoff Party, held this year at 365-viii, Chicago’s newest live venue located in Wrigley Ville. The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival will take place March 28-April 11 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.

Out of the more than 600 entries submitted, the Festival chose 63 feature-length films and 40 shorts from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. Two of the features are World Premieres, 12 North American Premieres and 9 U.S. Premieres. 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.

“We remain committed to bringing to our city those films that not only open a window into our diverse cultures but that are entertaining and inspiring as well. We are particularly proud of our selection of films addressing the Afro-Latino experience throughout the Americas; and our documentary section is the strongest one in years. We invite everyone to join us in this cinematic feast,” said Pepe Vargas, founder and executive director of the International Latino Cultural Center, producer of the Chicago Latino Film Festival.

CLFF remains 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 April 22.

OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHTS

The Festival opens on Thursday, March 28 with the Chicago premiere of Spanish filmmaker Icían Bollaín’s and British scriptwriter Paul Laverty’s latest collaboration: Yuli, a rather unorthodox adaptation of acclaimed Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta’s autobiography, which traces his life from childhood to the present through an straightforward narrative and dance pieces created and choreographed by Acosta himself. OPENING NIGHT IS SOLD OUT. There will be a second screening of the film on Saturday, March 30 at 7 pm.

The Festival closes Thursday, April 11 with the Chicago U.S. premiere of Colombian director Rodrigo Triana’s satire El Reality. Triana will be present at the gala.

Both screenings will take place at the AMC River East and will be followed by a post-screening reception at Chez, 247 E. Ontario. Both events are sponsored by Corona Extra and Casa Noble.

WORLD PREMIERES

●      Resistance (Brazil; Director: Zeca Brito): Brazil, 1961. The country is on the verge of a civil war, following the resignation of president Jânio Quadros and the movement to keep vice-president João Goulart from taking office. Using the radio transmitter from his improvised bunker, Leonel Brizola, governor of Rio Grande do Sul, sets up the Resistance movement, to ensure Goulart’s right to the presidential chair. Caught in the crossfire, two brothers who are in love with the same woman unite to fight alongside Brizola.

●      What I Feel For You (Dominican Republic; Director: Raúl Camilo): Raúl Camilo weaves three stories about the challenges faced by disabled children and their parents in his feature debut. Ana, mother of two autistic sons, struggles daily with the misconceptions her neighbors and relatives have about autism. Jorge and Diana are finally going to be parents after trying for so long; they will now have to give their disabled son the same love they feel for each other. Luis, a young man with Down’s Syndrome, who earns a spot in the Special Olympics Latin America to be held in Puerto Rico, receives training from his estranged father.

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERES

●      The Problem with Desires (Bolivia; Director: Claudio Araya Silva): Roberto, the leader of Bolivia’s Federation of Drivers, is fighting a battle in two fronts. His “friend” Carlos Borjas (Luis Felipe Tovar) is plotting to gain control of the union while his wife Margot is pressuring him to mobilize his membership and block the city’s streets to protest a government measure aimed at thwarting the smuggling of vehicles into the country. Greed, ambition, betrayal and violence are the key ingredients of this combustible dog-eat-dog drama about who wields power in the streets of El Alto.

●      Damn Kids (Chile; Director: Gonzalo Justiniano): The working class neighborhood of La Victoria in Santiago de Chile was a focal point for the resistance against Pinochet’s dictatorship during the early 80s. Into this community walks American missionary Samuel Thompson who wants to spread the good word while documenting with his camera how this community makes ends meet. He is taken in by Gladys “La Francesita,” a member of the resistance who teaches him that salvation is more than securing a nice spot in the after life. “Damn Kids” portrays a community that goes about its daily life while fighting against an oppressive regime. 

●      Amalia (Colombia; Director: Ana Sofía Osorio Ruiz): Cristina and Julián have built a perfect life in northern Bogotá along with 17-year-old Amalia, Cristina’s daughter from a previous marriage. Cristina and Julián anxiously await the birth of their first son. Cristina’s pregnancy is high-risk and she has been living like a prisoner in her bed. But when an explosion occurs at the park where Amalia is supposed to be, Cristina, from her bed, tries to find out what happened while keeping at bay the anxiety and the stress that may impact her health.

●      The Missed Round (Colombia; Director: Rafael Martínez Moreno): Reynaldo Salgado “El Piedra” is a 40-year-old Afro-Colombian boxer who works as a bait in boxing matches while moonlighting as a taxi driver. His memory is not what it used to be after so many blows to the head. The appearance of Breyder, a 12-year-old boy with big dreams who claims to be his son, gives Reynaldo a new purpose in life. Unlike other boxing films that focuses on the winners, “The Missed Round” shows us the people who sweat and toil behind the scenes with dignity.

●      Two Fridas (Costa Rica/Mexico; Director: Ishtar Yasin Gutiérrez): Maria de Medeiros (“Pulp Fiction”) plays Judith Ferreto, Frida Kahlo’s personal nurse during Frida’s final years, in this surreal biopic where past and present, memory and the imagination meld in one continuous reverie. Frida’s and Judith’s paths crossed at a hospital in Mexico City in 1949 and even though they were complete opposites both women developed a symbiotic and complex relationship to the point where Judith’s life began to mirror Frida’s in every aspect.

●      Broken Island (Dominican Republic; Director: Félix Germán): Guy, a Haitian boy escaping from poverty, witnesses the murder of his parents in the Dominican border. Taken in by a Haitian couple, who adopt him, Guy grows up working in the country’s sugar cane fields. He wants to seek revenge on Abes, the man who murdered his parents. But the October 1937 military massacre of more than 30,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent ordered by the dictator Rafael Trujillo forces Guy and newfound love Meuda to escape to Haiti in search of a new life.

●      Eight Out of Ten (Mexico; Director: Sergio Umansky): Aurelio’s (Noé Hernández) son is murdered in broad daylight. Citlali (Daniela Schmidt) abandons her daughter with her abusive father. Aurelio wants the police to do their job and capture his son’s murderers. Citlali needs a legal document to fight for her daughter’s custody. Their quest for justice soon transforms into a need for revenge. Winner of the Best Actor and Best Actress Award as well as the Press Award for Best Film at last year’s Guadalajara Film Festival, Umansky presents a Dantean portrait of a country held hostage by violence and corruption.

●      All Can Fall (Peru; Director: Eduardo Guillot): Vladimiro Montesinos, head of Peru’s secret police and former president Alberto Fujimori’s closest adviser, spun a tight web of illegal activities. That web began to untangle when a video showing Montesinos attempting to bribe a congressman became public. Based on lead prosecutor José Ugaz’s memoir, Eduardo Guillot’s fast-paced thriller depicts his investigation as a cat and mouse game between a wily political operative and a straight arrow determined to bring him down no matter the consequences.

●      Mystic Rose (Peru; Director: Augusto Tamayo): Augusto Tamayo offers a unique, personal and, at times, unorthodox perspective on the life of Saint Rose of Lima (1586-1617), the first person born in the Americas to be canonized by the Catholic Church. Told chronologically and in fragments, Tamayo traces her journey from the moment she begins to fast to her refusal to follow her mother’s wishes to wed, and from the severe penances she thought would bring her closer to God to a life dedicated to the care of the sick and the hungry.

●      Cages (Spain; Director: Nicolás Pacheco): Fed up with her husband’s physical and psychological abuse, Concha steals a large sum of money to run away with daughter Adela. Concha runs over her husband during a chase after being caught red-handed. On the road to freedom, they meet a series of colorful characters, who are also trying to escape from their own cages. Nicolás Pacheco’s cheeky and loving portrait of Andalucia’s gypsy community mixes film noir and road movie with a slight dash of absurdist comedy thrown in for good measure.

●      Memoirs of a Man in Pajamas (Spain; Director: Carlos Fernández de Vigo): With an animation style reminiscent of “The Critic”, the television series about a film critic that first aired on ABC and then on Fox between 1993 and 1995, this very adult, very sexy adaptation of Paco Roca’s graphic novel focuses on Paco, a 40-year-old illustrator and creator of a popular daily strip, who is finally able to fulfill his childhood dream: to earn a living working at home in his pajamas. After reaching this zenith of personal happiness, he falls in love with Birdie. From then on, he will have to adapt to a new life. 

●      In the Quarry (Uruguay; Directors: Bernardo and Rafael Antonaccio): Alicia, her boyfriend and two male friends decide to spend a hot summer day, lying about in their swimming suits and summer gear, at an abandoned quarry. The water is cool and so is the beer; add some grilled steaks and fish to the get-together and it should amount to a fun, restful afternoon for all of them, right? But lies, suspicions and even jealousy threaten to ruin the day leading to a tragic end in this erotic thriller.

U.S. PREMIERES

●      Quietness (Brazil; Director: André Ristum): Several lives cross paths in the huge and rather impersonal city of São Paulo. Rachel dreams of being a singer but makes ends meet as a pole dancer in a seedy bar. Her mother María spends her days drinking and watching TV. Rui, a retired radio announcer, is dying of cancer; his daughter Neusa, a real estate agent, fears losing her job. Their lives will be shaken to the core by the upcoming Blood Moon, for many a sign of the beginning of the end times.

●      Broken Panties (Chile/Argentina; Director: Arnaldo Valsecchi): Five women live in    a large hacienda in rural Chile: matriarch Matilde, her three biological daughters and an adopted one. Any resemblance to Federico García Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba,” however, ends there. On her deathbed, Matilde confesses to the village priest that she killed her husband 40 years ago and buried him inside a chest in the garage …a chest that contained another body. The news shocks the entire household and secrets long buried will now be made public in this dark comedy.

●      Johnny Cien Pesos: 20 Years and a Day (Chile; Director: Gustavo Graef Marino): Gustavo Graef Marino returns to the Festival with this action-packed sequel to his cult classic “Johnny Cien Pesos.” Twenty years ago, Juan García, a.k.a. Johnny Cien Pesos, became a legend in the annals of Chilean crime when a heist gone wrong turned into a media event. Now a free man, Johnny faces a world that changed without him, and a son, also named Juan, he barely knows. Johnny Cien Pesos will now have to use all his wiles  to save his son and girlfriend Bárbara from a powerful hoodlum.

●      The Endless Love of Salomé (Colombia; Director: Pierangeli Llinas): Secretly abused and abandoned by her former husband, 50-year-old Salomé, a painter, raises their only child, Joseph, by herself. Salomé tries to hide from her painful past through her art. She takes on Eddy, the deaf-mute son of her neighbor, as a student. Their lives are suddenly altered with the arrival of Marta, Salomé’s niece, and Myriam, a beautiful young woman who falls for Joseph, a relationship, which will help unearth some scarring family secrets. 

●      Salt (Colombia/France; Director: William Vega): Heraldo crosses the Tatacoa desert, Colombia’s second largest arid zone, in his motorcycle in search of his missing father. The road is rough, the landscape beautiful and inhospitable; a wrong turn sends Heraldo and his bike to the bottom of an abyss. Solomón and Magdalena, a couple hiding in the desert, find him and treat his wounds with salt and cactus. But Heraldo’s wounds are more than physical and they run deep.

●      Without Fear (Guatemala/Spain/Mexico/France; Director: Claudio Zulian): It all began with the discovery, in 1999, of a diary with the names of 200 people disappeared by Guatemala’s military dictatorship. Three years later, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned Guatemala for the massacre and disappearance of thousands of indigenous people and opponents to the regime. Commissioned and guided by some of  the relatives of the disappeared, Zulian’s documentary uses drawings, photographs and primary sources to honor the victims of a brutal, decades long repression that claimed   over 200,000 lives. 

●      The Grandfather (Peru; Director: Gustavo Saavedra): For his 80th birthday, Crisóstomo asks his son Alfonso and grandchildren Santiago and José María to take him on a trip to his birthplace, the northern town of Huamachuco, which he hasn’t visited in seven decades. The trip gives José María, a budding filmmaker, the perfect excuse to bring his camera along and shoot a documentary about his grandfather. There is more to this trip than Crisóstomo’s desire to share with his family where he came from, though.

●      The Dead Queen (Portugal/France/Brazil; Director: António Ferreira): History repeats itself in quite unique ways in this intriguing drama. In 14th Century Portugal, Dom Pedro, heir to the throne, falls in love with his Spanish servant, who is later assassinated. When Pedro is crowned king, he exhumes her corpse and crowns her queen after executing her killers. In present day Portugal, Pedro and Inês are architects who share an office; and in a dystonic future where people escape from the cities to the countryside, they are lovers. All three stories are told from the point of view of modern day Pedro, a patient at a psychiatric ward.

●      I Am the People: Venezuela Under Populism (Venezuela/Mexico; Director: Carlos Oteyza): Carlos Oteyza, Venezuela’s most prolific documentary filmmaker, and renowned Mexican historian Enrique Krauze explore the forces that led to Hugo Chávez’s rise to power and Nicolás Maduro’s rule after Chávez’s death. This comprehensive and level-headed documentary leaves no stone unturned in presenting Venezuela as a case study for the kind of populist politics, from both the right and the left, that have shaken and are still shaking democratic governments worldwide.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAMS

The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival and the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center celebrate Puerto Rico and Cuba with two special screenings of the documentary Filibertoabout Filiberto Ojeda Ríos, commander-in-chief of the Boricua Popular Army “Los Macheteros,” on Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 pm and the documentary Havana from on High about the inhabitants of Havana’s rooftops on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 pm at the Cultural Center located at 4046 W. Armitage Ave. For tickets and more information, visit http://segundoruizbelvis.org

The Festival alongside Pro Ecuador, a government-sponsored agency dedicated to promoting the export supply of goods and services and to attracting investment and tourism to Ecuador, will present a special screening of Gabriela Calvache’s feature debut The Longest Night on Monday, April 1st at the Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio St. The event starts with a reception at 6 followed by the screening at 7 pm. For tickets and more information, visit: https://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/the-longest-night/

Finally, Festival organizers have scheduled 25 student screenings from April 1-3 and April 8-9 at the AMC River East as part of their Student Matinee Outreach Program. More than fifty public and private schools are expected to participate in the program. Created as an educational component to the Festival, the program offers Latino and non-Latino elementary and high school students the opportunity to learn about the diversity of other Latino cultures and to connect with their own heritage. In addition, students have a chance to meet with the artists involved in the making of the film and discuss viable career options in the arts. The 2019 Student Matinee Outreach Program is supported by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Academy  of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Allstate Insurance Company.  This is the 25th Anniversary of the Student Matinee Program.

For the full Festival schedule, visithttps://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/35th_CLFF_ScheduleBook_Rev05_WEB.pdf

TICKET INFORMATION

All screenings will take place at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.  For Venue Partners’ schedule, check the website.

Admission for Opening and Closing Night is $60 general / $50 for ILCC members. Admission includes the film screening and post-screening reception offering food, drinks and music. Cocktail attire is strongly encouraged.

Tickets to each regular screening are: $13, general admission; $10 (with valid ID), ILCC Members, students, seniors and handicapped. Mondays and Tuesdays, $10 all. Festival passes for 12 admissions are: $110 (a savings of $46) for the general public and $80 (a $76 savings) for ILCC Members. Cash, debit and major credit cards are accepted at the box office.

Festival passes and tickets can now be purchased at ChicagoLatinoFilmFestival.org, or on CLFF’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoLatinoFilmFestival/).

SPONSORS

The 35th Chicago Latino Film Festival is made possible by the generous contributions of sponsors and supporters:

Gold: Corona Extra, AMC Independent

Silver: BMO Harris Bank, Copa Airlines, DePaul University, Tequila Casa Noble, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Whitehall Hotel and Yes! Press

Bronze: Allstate, Coca-Cola, Consulate General of Chile in Chicago, Dominican Republic Tourism Office in Chicago, Illinois Lottery, Lopez & Co, Norwegian American Hospital Foundation, Prado & Renteria and Tristan & Cervantes

Media Sponsors: CAN-TV, Chicago Latino Network, Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun-Times, Cine Latino, La Raza, Mike Oquendo Events, NBC Chicago, Telemundo Chicago, Univision Chicago and WTTW-TV

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

The Chicago Latino Film Festival receives additional support from: The Reva and David Logan Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, The National Endowment for the Arts, Nordstrom, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, a State Agency, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

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 14th edition in the Fall; Film in the Parks, also in its 14th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 11th 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 80,000 (Latinos and non-Latinos) who enjoy the year-round multidisciplinary cross-cultural exchanges offered by the Center.