The 2014 Venezuelan Film Festival in New York, from September 19 – 25, brings the best cinema Venezuela has to offer to NYC. Since many of the films showing at this year’s festival highlight narratives about diverse sexual lifestyles, the event will also include a special panel on “Sex and Gender in Venezuela” moderated by international transgendered rights activist Dr. Tamara Adrián.

In only its second year, VEFFNY strives to bring together people interested in learning about Venezuelan culture and people. Irene Yibirin, VEFFNY founder and director says that a film festival like this shows just how similar countries like Venezuela and the U.S. are when it comes to social issues. “I’m thrilled that we are able to bridge the gap between real life issues that affect people deeply in Venezuela with those same issues that affect people here in the United States and around the world.”

From the novela-esque sentimental dramedy My Straight Son (Azul y no tan rosa) to the transgender documentary I, Undocumented (Yo, indocumentada), here are our top picks of the movies you should check out.

1

The Longest Distance

La distancia más larga
Director: Claudia Pinto

After the death of his mother, a young boy (Omar Moya) makes a solo journey to southeastern Venenzuela to meet his grandmother who is dying of cancer. The drama has garnered many accolades over the last couple of years, including winning the Best Film of the Year at the 2013 Huelva Latin American Film Festival and the Glauber Rocha Award at the Montreal World Film Festival.

2

I, Undocumented

Yo, indocumentada
Director: Andrea Baranenko

Three transgendered women from Venezuela – Tamara, Desirée and Victoria – struggle with the fact they must carry with them ID cards that identify them by their male birth names. This documentary was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the 2012 United Nations Association Film Festival.

3

My Straight Son

Azul y no tan rosa
Director: Miguel Ferrari

Winner of the 2014 Goya Award for Best Iberoamerican Film of the Year, this family drama centers on the relationship between Diego (Guillermo Garcia), a homosexual father, and his son Armando (Ignacio Montes), who doesn’t care much for his father’s lifestyle.

4

The House at the End of Time

La casa del fin de los tiempos
Director: Alejandro Hidalgo

Thirty years after leaving a home where she experienced supernatural occurrences, a woman (Ruddy Rodríguez) returns to face her deepest fears. The horror film was nominated for the International Fantasy Film Award at the 2014 Fantasporto Awards.

5

As God Made Us

Como Dios nos trajo al mundo
Director: Maury Marcano

In this intimate documentary, director Maury Marcano turns the camera on herself to help her understand why she is captivated with the idea of becoming stripper. She takes on a mentor to help guide her through that erotic world.

 

The Venezuelan Film Festival in New York runs from Sept. 19 – 25 at Tribeca Cinemas.