New York is chock-full of Latin American-themed film events and sometimes it’s hard to tell the good from the bad. While greater visibility for the world-class production coming out of the region is undoubtedly a sign of progress, it’s also good to know that there’s one showcase that you can count on for top-to-bottom quality year after year. Lucky for us, the original, the inimitable Latinbeat at Lincoln Center is back this July for its 15th edition bringing a rigorously selected panorama of contemporary Latin American film to New York audiences.

With an astounding diversity of themes and formal approaches, representing regional stalwarts such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina alongside up-and-comers like Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, the 15th annual Latinbeat brings a little something for everybody.

Opening Night kicks off with Fellipe Barbosa’s tender, coming-of-age feature debut, Casa Grande, from Brazil, starring newcomer Thales Cavalcanti as a teen trying to transcend the limitations of his upper-class existence.

Other standouts include Samuel Kishi Leopo’s Somos Mari Pepa which brings a raw, punk-rock spirit to its exploration of middle-class life in provincial Mexico.

From Ecuador, Diego Araujo’s Feriado (Holiday) tells the story of a young man who discovers sexuality and heavy metal in a remote Andean community. With a score featuring contributions from Norah Jones, Jack White, and Gnarls Barkley, the film is a must-see for music fans of all stripes.

Finally, Por Las Plumas (All About the Feathers), is Costa Rican Neto Villalobos’s dryly funny debut feature that renders the world of Central American cockfighting with genuine flavor and charm. To get the 411, be sure to read our interview with Villalobos before heading out to the theater.

In the meantime, stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of Latinbeat. As the fest gets closer, we’ll post exclusive interviews and reviews to keep you in-the-know.

Latinbeat runs July 11 – 20 at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater.

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