Over 100 feature-length and short films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States will be shown during the Festival, April 5-19 at the AMC River East 21
CHICAGO (March 19, 2018) – The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago announces the lineup for the 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival to be held April 5-19 at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St. Out of the more than 500 entries submitted, the Festival chose 63 feature-length films and 47 shorts from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the United States. Three of the features are World Premieres, 11 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.
“Our compact and comprehensive selection of shorts and feature films offers Chicago moviegoers the perfect entry point to the exciting and innovative work coming out of Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the Latino communities in the United States. We strive every year to exceed the expectations established in past festivals of bringing the best of the best and this year is no different,” 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 24.
OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHTS
The Festival previously announced their selections for Opening and Closing Night. The Festival opens Thursday, April 5 with Raúl Marchand Sánchez’s new comedy Broche de Oro: Beginnings (Broche de Oro: Comienzos), the hilarious and touching prequel to Puerto Rico’s box office smash hit Broche de Oro, and of Ivonne Coll’s (Jane the Virgin) and Javier Colón Rios’ short film From Now On starring Coll and Mexican actress Ofelia Medina. Coll, in town for Teatro Vista’s upcoming Rolling World Premiere of Stephanie Alison Walker’s play Las madres, and Marchand Sánchez will attend the Opening Night gala.
The Festival closes Thursday, April 19 with the Chicago premiere of Santiago Mitre’s The Summit starring Ricardo Darín. The award-winning actor will be present to receive the Gloria Career Achievement Award.
The screenings will take place at the AMC River East 21 Theaters. Both events will conclude with a post-screening reception at Chez, 247 E. Ontario.
- Operation Goldenshell (Spain / Director: Antonio Cuadri): Producer and businessman Marcos Ruiz de Aldazabal plans to convince a millionairess to invest in his nearly bankrupt production company by hiring the double of a well-known Cuban actor the millionairess admires. But when the real actor shows up and the mob gets involved in the scheme, it will be hard to tell who is hustling who. Starring Karra Elejalde, Barbara Mori and Jordi Molla, and with the San Sebastian Film Festival as a backdrop, Antonio Cuadri’s fast-paced slapstick comedy is a love letter to the movies.
- Pablo’s Word (El Salvador / Director: Arturo Menéndez): This film-noirish take on William Shakespeare’s Othello focuses on Pablo, the son of a well-known lawyer involved in a case of corruption, and his objections to his father’s relationship to a much younger woman. Disgusted and envious, Pablo begins to weave a tangled web of lies, accusing his father’s young girlfriend of cheating on him. Pablo’s word will lead all parties involved into a maelstrom that will ultimately destroy them.
- What We May Become (Mexico / Director: Javier Colinas): Santiago, a 23-year-old film student, falls in love with his 35-year-old teacher, Amanda. He does the impossible to seduce her, including shooting and editing a short film that slightly embarrasses her. With the help of best friend Daniela, Santiago finally begins a torrid relationship with Amanda until a renowned producer offers her a promising career far from Mexico. In his attempt to win Amanda back, Santiago finds out that what we want is not always what we need.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERES
- Barbara (Venezuela / Director: John Petrizzelli): Barbara, an aging drag queen, is fired from the nightclub by his ex-lover and club owner Polanco. In revenge, Barbara steals a briefcase whose contents might make him rich, and flees to Venezuela’s Plains. On the way, Bárbara meets Sixto, a young farmer who witnesses the murder of his family at the hands of sicarios; both head for the border with Polanco and his men in hot pursuit. With its dreamlike sequences and evocative photography, Petrizzelli pays tribute to Rómulo Gallegos’ classic novel Doña Bárbara.
- The Beast in the Jungle (Brazil / Directors: Paulo Betti, Eliane Giardini, and Lauro Escorel): Based on Henry James’ novella (considered one of his best short narratives), The Beast in the Jungle tells the story of João, a man who doubts his own worth and what the future holds for him. He becomes reacquainted with Maria, a woman he met ten years ago and with whom he shared an odd secret. They pick up where they left off, and wait for what fate has in store for him.
- Berenice (Brazil / Director: Allan Fiterman): Driving a cab through the streets of Rio is more than a job for 35-year-old Berenice. It serves as a distraction from her turbulent marriage with Domingos, a crime reporter for a sensationalistic TV newsmagazine. When the body of a transgender dancer at a local club where her son Thiago hangs out is found on Copacabana Beach, Berenice takes it upon herself to solve the crime. Fiterman deftly combines a family drama with the conventions of the film noir to critique the abuses suffered by the transgender community and the double standards of a society that condones it.
- The Bigger, The Better (Spain / Director: Ventura Pons): The always-prolific Catalan filmmaker Ventura Pons returns to our Festival with this ensemble comedy that celebrates Barcelona’s multiculturalism. The colorful cast includes a penniless aristocrat with strong religious convictions, his left-wing daughter who’s always on his case, the grand dame with a turbulent past, the naughty Dominican friar who is friends with a great Cuban singer, and the two concierges from Valencia who tell each other everything.
- The Contestant (Colombia / Director: Carlos Osuna): A spice company announces a nationwide contest where 2,000 pressure cookers will be handed out in exchange for 20 labels of one of their products. Obsessed with securing one of these cookers, Cristobal’s mother orders him to stand in line; when he arrives, he discovers that thousands more have been standing since the early morning hours. All hell breaks loose when the participants discover that their efforts will come to nothing. Carlos Osuna’s (Fat, Bald, Short Man) new film is a scathing satire of a country pushed to its limits by consumerism.
- Dear Mom (Brazil / Director: Jeremias Moreira): Based on Maria Adelaida Amaral’s critically acclaimed play, Dear Mom centers on the conflictive relationship between Heloisa, a recently divorced doctor, and her mother Ruth. Heloisa blames Ruth for her bad relationship with her own daughter, her failed marriage, and even her unsuccessful career. It’s a conflict that worsens when Ruth, after being diagnosed with cancer, finds out that Heloisa has fallen in love with Leda, a painter she met at the hospital she works at.
- I Will Wait for You (Argentina / Director: Alberto Lecchi): Architect Ariel Creu (Dario Grandinetti) is forced to confront memories he had long kept locked away when the remains of his father Miguel -a revolutionary who fought in the Spanish Civil War, the Cuban Revolution and against Argentina’s military dictatorship- are found on a common grave. Ariel’s son Federico (Juan Grandinetti, Dario’s son) is determined to uncover the truth behind his grandfather’s death while arrival of a Spanish writer (Juan Echanove), who has written a series of novels based on Miguel, further stirs the waters.
- Las malcogidas (Bolivia/Brazil / Director: Denisse Arancibia Flores): Carmen is 35 years old, overweight and never had an orgasm. She is in love with neighbor Alvaro, leading voice of a rock band. Her brother Honorio is saving for a sex-change operation while her mother splurges on expensive and ineffective weight-loss treatments for her. Featuring a soundtrack top heavy with classic Argentinian rock songs, Denisse Arancibia Flores’ feature debut is a colorful and delightfully incorrect musical comedy about body shaming, gender and family curses.
- Nosotros (Spain / Director: Felipe Vara de Rey): Felipe Vara de Rey’s feature debut follows a group of five friends during the December 2015 presidential election. Suko is discovering the challenges of fatherhood; Sarah is beginning to understand the personal cost of intense political activism; Seda is exploring the limits of his commitment to art as the only way to make a living; María is struggling to find her place in life; and Felipe is living as an expat and trying to manage the uncertainties of being so far away from home.
- Southern Winds (Perú / Director: Franco García Becerra): In Peruvian culture, the “tapados” are treasures that were buried during colonial times to protect them from the Spanish conquistadors; a light or flame emerges from the ground to indicate their location. Nina’s grandfather, Fausto, believes that one or more of these “tapados” are buried in his property and engages her to help him locate these treasures. This search will lead both estranged relatives to reevaluate their lives and come to terms with their own isolation.
- A Sublime Life (Portugal / Director: Luis Diogo): Ivan Moura has developed two rather unorthodox “cures” for unhappiness. In one cure, he diagnoses fake terminal cancer to his patients at the Institute he works for, a diagnosis he expects will lead them to live fuller lives. The second and most disturbing one involves kidnapping people he’s been spying on and, through torture, eliminate two of the five senses to enhance their rest. Moura will pay an extreme price for his unethical actions.
- Amalia, the Secretary (Colombia / Director: Andrés Burgos): Fortysomething Amalia is the secretary of the CEO of a family business going through hard times. Tidy and efficient, she is also rather cranky and hostile towards anyone who may have an appointment with her boss. That is, until maintenance worker Lázaro walks into her office. There is something about this rather chaotic man that Amalia finds attractive and she will come up with any excuse to have him around, even if it means tearing the place apart.
- Cuernavaca (Mexico / Director: Alejandro Andrade Pease): Andy´s world is turned upside-down when his mother has an accident. With no one to take care of him, the boy is sent to his paternal grandmother’s (Carmen Maura) house in Cuernavaca. His mother hovering between life and death, Andy struggles with his grandmother’s rejection, his attraction to the more seductive and dangerous world of the gardener’s son and his determination to find his missing father.
- Eternity (Peru / Director: Oscar Quispe Catacora): Oscar Quispe Catacora’s contemplative feature debut, the first one shot in Aymara, focuses on Willka and Phaxsi, a couple of octogenarians who live in a remote area of the Peruvian Andes. They face the misery and the inclement passage of time, praying to their gods that their only son, Antuko, come rescue them. Eternity explores both the solitude and abandonment felt by the inhabitants of these isolated communities and villages, and their almost religious communion with nature.
- Giants Don’t Exist (Guatemala/Spain / Director: Chema Rodríguez): 1980s Guatemala at the height of a ruthless and civil war against the country’s indigenous communities. Andrés, one of the few survivors of a massacre in his village, is adopted by one of the perpetrators and lives in fear with his adopted mother María. He would love to run away but can’t. Based on a true story, Spanish director Chema Rodríguez’s second feature is a harrowing and powerful drama about survival and hope.
- Home Team (Uruguay/Argentina/Brazil / Director: Carlos Morelli): Based on former Uruguayan soccer player Daniel Baldi’s best-selling coming-of-age novel, Carlos Morelli’s feature debut tells the story of Tony, a 13-year-old soccer prodigy from the countryside who gets the chance of a lifetime: to play semi-professionally in Montevideo. He not only leaves school behind but also turns his back on family, friends and even a girlfriend until an accident days prior to signing a contract to play in Brazil forces him to face his toughest challenge so far. Home Team offers a candid and touching look at how passion can lead one astray.
- My Father’s Memory (Chile / Director: by Rodrigo Bacigalupe Lazo): Alfonso, a repressed screenwriter who adapts American sitcoms for Chilean television, is forced to take care of his father Jesús after his mother passes away. Struck by Alzheimer’s, Jesús insists that his wife is still alive and must be rescued from the hospital near the coast where she is being held. Alfonso will have to come to terms with his difficult relationship with his father as he tries to make Jesús’ impossible wishes possible.
- Princesita (Chile / Director: Marialy Rivas): Twelve-year-old Tamara has been raised in a cult led by the charismatic Miguel in a remote region of southern Chile. Her life has been idyllic so far. But her paradise turns into hell when she finds out that Miguel plans to impregnate her so she can give birth to the savior of his visions. Tamara takes matters into her own hands, especially after she falls in love, in Marialy Rivas’ dark and disturbing coming-of-age tale.
- Spider Thieves (Chile / Director: Guillermo Helo): Chile, 1999: 1,750 homeless occupy 57 acres of privately owned land on the outskirts of Santiago turning it into the country’s largest shantytown. Six years later, three teenage girls from the shantytown set in motion a plan to climb high rises and rob the luxurious apartments inside them. Their daring escapades draw the attention of the media, who promptly calls them the “Spider Girls.” Guillermo Helo’s feature debut offers both a sympathetic look at these girls and their environment, and a harsher look of Chilean society.
- Violeta Has a Plan (Costa Rica/Mexico / Director: Hilda Hidalgo): Hilda Hidalgo’s (Of Love and Shadows) latest feature follows recently divorced 72-year-old Violeta as she starts a new and exciting stage in her life. She begins to take swimming lessons from and even rents a room to her Mexican instructor. But when she finds out that the bank is about to take away her house with her children’s support, Violeta decides to take action proving that rebelliousness knows no age.
Festival organizers have scheduled fifteen student screenings April 9-12 at the AMC River East as part of their Student Matinee Outreach Program. Forty-four 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 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival and the National Museum of Mexican Art will present a special screening of Ya´asib Vázquez’s documentary Takeda on Friday, April 13 at 6 pm at the Museum, 1852 West 19th St. Vázquez’s documentary focuses on Japanese painter Shinzaburo Takeda who has made it his mission to rescue the identity, honor and tradition of ancient Japan through the Mexican Muralist movement. Takeda leads audiences on a journey through Mexico, through its colors, its strength and into a ritualized world perilously close to extinction. Admission is free but you must reserve in advance. Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/takeda-tickets-42956629435.
The Festival will also host a special screening of Javier Limón’s and Jorge Martínez’s musical documentary, Flight of the Guitar: Dreaming of Paco de Lucía on Monday, April 9. Titled Tapas, sangría & guitarra and co-presented by Instituto Cervantes, the event starts at 6 pm with a reception followed by a screening of the film and ending a solo performance by Mexican guitarist Andrea Salcedo. The event will take place at Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio St. Admission: General, $20; ILCC and Instituto Cervantes members, $15. Tickets can be purchased at: chicagolatinofilmfestival.org
For the full schedule, visit: https://chicagolatinofilmfestival.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/34th_CLFF_ScheduleBook_Rev06_WEB.pdf
All screenings will take place at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St.
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 worth 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 for these confirmed titles can now be purchased at ChicagoLatinoFilmFestival.org, or on CLFF’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoLatinoFilmFestival/).
The 34th Chicago Latino Film Festival is made possible by the generous contributions of the following sponsors and their continued commitment to Latino arts in Chicago:
Corona Extra, AMC Independent
Tequila Casa Noble, BMO Harris Bank, The Whitehall Hotel, Yes! Press and DePaul University
Coca-Cola, Consulate General of the Argentine Republic, Consulate General of Chile in Chicago, St. Augustine College, Copa Airlines, Lopez & Co, Prado & Renteria, and Tristan & Cervantes
Univision Chicago, HOY/Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun-Times, WTTW-TV, CAN-TV, Chicago Latino Network and La Raza.
The Chicago Latino Film Festival receives additional support from: The Reva and David Logan Foundation, Prince Charitable Trusts, The Chicago Community Trust, 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 13th edition in the Fall; Film in the Parks, also in its 13th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 10th 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.