As Hollywood readies itself to celebrate the most celebrated films of the year at the (mostly Latino-less) Oscars, New Yorkers can head to the Museum of the Moving Image to catch an entire lineup of excellent Latin American films that have won plenty of accolades themselves. After announcing the winners of the 7th annual Cinema Tropical Awards, the New York-based organization is once again partnering with MoMI for the 2017 edition the Cinema Tropical Festival.

Here’s your chance to see some of the most buzzed about films from last year, including Tatiana Huezo’s haunting documentary Tempestad and Nelson Carlo de los Santos’ mixed-genre flick Santa Teresa & Other Stories, both of which comment on the violence against women epidemic in Mexico. Better yet, both directors will be present at their respective screenings for audience Q&As in case you want some one-on-one time with these up and comer Latin American filmmakers. But really, all six films (hailing from Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil) are worth checking out. Find the full list of winners below.

Cinema Tropical Festival takes place February 24-26, 2017 at Museum of the Moving Image in New York

1

La calle de la amargura

Country Spain, Mexico
Production Year 2015

Cinema Tropical Award Winner: Best Director, Fiction

Synopsis

Arturo Ripstein’s latest film is set in the seedy streets of El Defectuoso. Shot in lurid black and white, the film feels Lynchian in spirit focusing on the low life characters that populate Mexico’s capital. Aptly titled, the film follows two prostitutes who hope to solve their personal and financial problems by drugging and robbing two dwarf twins who work as professional luchadores.

Manuel Betancourt

Film Details
Bleak Street
Director Arturo Ripstein
Country Spain Mexico
Genre Crime
Writer Paz Alicia Garciadiego
Producer Walter Navas Arturo Ripstein
Production Year 2015
Running Time 99 minutes
2

Tempestad

Director Tatiana Huezo
Country Mexico
Production Year 2016

Cinema Tropical Award Winner: Best Documentary

Synopsis

Focused on the violence and impunity that afflicts Mexico, the film is driven by the voices of two women, Miriam and Adela. As we listen to their stories, director Tatiana Huezo offers us beautiful images of the cross-country journey that Miriam took after being released from a cartel-run prison, where she’d been held for her alleged involvement in human trafficking. After no evidence of her participation in trafficking was found, Miriam was eventually let go, becoming instead a public scapegoat for an increasingly common problem in Mexico. Interwoven with the harrowing tale of Miriam’s stay in this torturous environment is the story of Adela, a circus clown, who’s been searching for her abducted daughter who went missing over 10 years ago. Evocative of Terrence Malick, but infused with a staunchly politicized message, Tempestad is both lyrical and political.

Manuel Betancourt

Film Details

Director Tatiana Huezo
Country Mexico
Genre Documentary
Writer Tatiana Huezo
Producer Nicolás Celis
Production Year 2016
Running Time 105 minutes
3

Boi neon

Production Year 2015

Cinema Tropical Award Winner: Best Film

Synopsis

Neon Bull follows Iremar (Juliano Cazarré), a handsome cowboy who dreams of becoming a fashion designer. But don’t let that simple description fool you. Gabriel Mascaro’s film, a road trip film set in the northeast Brazilian countryside, is an explosion of gender, class, and sexuality, flamboyantly portraying its characters with quiet compassion and culminating with one of the most indelible sex scenes put on screen in recent memory.

Manuel Betancourt

Film Details
Neon Bull
Director Gabriel Mascaro
Country Netherlands Uruguay Brazil
Genre Drama
Writer Gabriel Mascaro
Producer Marleen Slot Sandino Saravia Vinay Rachel Ellis
Production Year 2015
Running Time 101 minutes
4

Santa Teresa y otras historias

Production Year 2015

Cinema Tropical Award Winner: Best First Fiction Film

Synopsis

Very loosely based on Roberto Bolaño’s mammoth of a novel, 2666, Dominican filmmaker Nelson Carlo de los Santos has crafted a film that blends genres and sensibilities. Part fiction, part nonfiction, and driven by an essayistic purpose, Santa Teresa & Other Stories is set in the fictional town of Santa Teresa (a stand-in for Ciudad Juárez). There, we follow researcher Juan de Dios Martínez who’s intent on investigating the violence that afflicts the town. As he digs deeper into the abuses perpetrated on women and workers in Santa Teresa, the film splinters off into experimental territory, creating an audiovisual portrait of a border town ravaged by the effects of the war on drugs.

Manuel Betancourt

Film Details
Santa Teresa & Other Stories
Director Nelson Carlo de Los Santos Arias
Country Dominican Republic Mexico United States
Genre Docudrama Experimental
Production Year 2015
Running Time 65 minutes
5

Jacqueline (Argentine)

Production Year 2016

Cinema Tropical Award Winner: Best US Latino Film

Synopsis

In this mockumentary film, Bernard Britto asks us to follow an unnamed director and narrator (played by The Daily Show‘s Wyatt Cenac) as he embarks on what he thinks is the next Snowden-like bombshell. He’s been in contact with a woman called Jacqueline who alleges to have intel on a secret plot to assassinate an Arab politician. The whistleblower hopes to share her story and asks Cenac’s director to fly to Argentina where she’s in hiding. Recruiting two youngish interns as his production crew, he then sets out to tell Jacqueline’s story, but the more he films her, the more troubling the story becomes. Is she really blowing the lid on what could be a disastrous international plot, or is she merely leading them on to validate her own paranoid fake-news-driven worldview? Shot in of rural Argentina and equally happy to catch its subjects enjoying the poolside sun as it is trying to be the next CitizenfourJacqueline (Argentine) is the type of heady meta-mockumentary sure to get you questioning everything you just saw and everything you read.

Manuel Betancourt

Film Details

Director Bernardo Britto
Country United States
Genre Docufiction
Writer Bernardo Britto
Producer Ben Cohen Brett Potter
Production Year 2016
Running Time 87 minutes
6

Plaza de la soledad

Director Maya Goded
Country Mexico
Production Year 2016

Cinema Tropical Award Winner: Best Director, Documentary

Synopsis

Maya Goded’s documentary is twenty years in the making. That’s how long she’s known the five women that make up her tender portrait of ageing prostitutes in Mexico City’s neighborhood of La Merced. It’s a topic the photographer-turned-filmmaker is intimately familiar with as it was the subject of her 2006 photography book by the same name. Imbuing these women with the same humanity that she brought out in her photos, Plaza de la soledad paints a lively if wistful look at these women’s lives all the while asking necessary questions about female sexuality, friendship, and the emotional inner lives of these oft-forgotten women.

Manuel Betancourt

Film Details

Director Maya Goded
Country Mexico
Genre Documentary
Producer Martha Sosa Eamon O'Farrill Mónica Lozano
Production Year 2016
Running Time 84 minutes