This year’s New York International Film Festival ended with a bang and a big fiesta at El Morocco Nightclub in Washington Heights last night, where the awards ceremony was held. This year’s festival ran from July 22-July 27 in several theaters across New York City, presenting shorts, films and documentaries from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, the U.S., and many other countries. Among the many films that were screened throughout the festival, only a select few were rewarded with prizes.
The winner for “Best Short” was Colombia’s Rojo Red (directed by Juan Manuel Betancourt), a fantasy story about a seven-year old called Federico who refuses to wear his orthopedic shoes. Soon, the boy realizes he falls not because of his untied laces, but because of a hole on the pavement. This year’s award for “Best Documentary” was a tie! The first was the much-buzzed about Transvestites Also Cry (by Sebastiano d’Ayala Valva), a documentary about two Ecuadoran transsexuals working as prostitutes in Paris . The second winner in this category went to Nicholas Bruckman & John Mattiuzzi’s La Americana, which portrays the dangerous and illegal journey a mother must make to NYC so she can save her ailing daughter in Bolivia.
The “Heineken Red Star Award” – meant to recognize vision, originality and innovation – was given to Chile’s Malta con Huevo, directed by Cristóbal Valderrama, a comedy which made its US premiere at the Miami Film Festival earlier this year (see our coverage in the video section). This film follows Vladimir as he wakes up every morning in a different week, and tries to hunt down the perpetrator of his apparent time-travel, which may ultimately be the popular neighborhood drink, “scrambled beer.”
Last, but not least, the “Best Film” award was given to Vicious Circle. Directed by Paul Boyd, known for directing music videos such as Sting’s “Desert Rose” and Paulina Rubio’s “Ni Una Sola Palabra”. This film is a modern-day spin on a Romeo & Juliet-style love story with a punk-rock edge, starring Paul Rodriguez Jr. (son of comedian Paul Rodriguez and a huge skateboarding champion – check out his very own website!) and Emily Rios (star of Quinceañera) and is set in Venice Beach, California. Check out the trailer here!
This year’s NYILFF was a huge success, and surely the festival will only continue to grow in the years to come. For more information, check out their website at http://nylatinofilm.com