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Last night Cinema Tropical handed out awards for the year’s best Latin American films. Nominees and film fans mingled at the New York Times building in midtown Manhattan, anxious to hear who would win big. There were cheers, jeers, upsets and tears (just kidding about the tears part). As the only international prize solely dedicated to recognizing Latin American movies, the Cinema Tropical Awards added a brand new category this year to highlight directors working in the United States, Best U.S. Latino Film. An exciting twist of the night came in this same category. With so many incredible films to choose from the jury just couldn’t make up their minds and called it a tie for Best U.S. Latino film. In case you missed it here are the winners…

CINEMA TROPICAL AWARD WINNERS

Best Feature Film

VIOLA
(Matías Piñeiro, Argentina)

Matías Piñeiro is one of contemporary Argentine cinema’s most sensuous and sophisticated new voices. In his latest film, Viola, he ingeniously fashions out of Shakepeare’s Twelfth Night a seductive roundelay among young actors and lovers in present-day Buenos Aires. Mixing melodrama with sentimental comedy, philosophical conundrum with matters of the heart, Viola bears all the signature traits of a Piñeiro film: serpentine camera movements and slippages of language, an elliptical narrative and a playful confusion of reality and artifice.

Best Documentary Film

EL ALCALDE / THE MAYOR
(Emiliano Altuna, Carlos F. Rossini, Diego Osorno, Mexico)

This engrossing documentary introduces us to Mexican millionaire mayor Mauricio Fernandez, a larger-than-life and frequently controversial politician who lords over Latin America’s wealthiest municipality from his eccentrically decorated palace — and has a predilection for taking justice into his own hands.

Best Director, Feature Film

Carlos Reygadas
POST TENEBRAS LUX (Mexico)

Ostensibly the story of an upscale, urban family whose move to the Mexican countryside results in domestic crises and class friction, Post Tenebras Lux is a stunningly photographed, impressionistic psychological portrait of a family and their place within the sublime, unforgiving natural world. Met with boos following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival it went on to win several awards and the praise of film critics.

Best Director, Documentary Film

Jose Luis García
LA CHICA DEL SUR / THE GIRL FROM THE SOUTH (Argentina)

In 1989, budding filmmaker José Luis García visited North Korea to take part in a student festival in Pyongyang. While he was there, peace activist Lim Sukyung revolutionised the event by announcing that she would cross the border back to South Korea by foot. This bold and subversive gesture made an everlasting impression on the young Garcia, and twenty years later he has never stopped thinking about the woman known as the ‘Flower of Reunification’. In this fascinating documentary, Garcia tracks Lim down in South Korea, hoping to discover exactly what occurred at the border all those years ago.

Best First Film

TANTA AGUA
(Ana Guevara and Leticia Jorge, Uruguay)

What can be worse than being 14 and going on vacation with your father? Taking your children on vacation and not being able to go out because of the rain. Alberto has not been able to spend much time with Lucia and Federico since his divorce. The three of them are on their way to the hot springs for a short vacation. But when they arrive at their rented cabin they learn that the pools have closed until further notice because of the electric storms. Alberto tries to remain enthusiastic and is determined to not let anything ruin their plans, but everybody’s moods inevitably become altered.

Best U.S. Latino Film (tie)

MOSQUITA Y MARI
(Aurora Guerrero, USA)

Yolanda is stellar in her studies and makes her parents proud, while Mari has just moved to town with her undocumented family. On her first day of school, Mari is assigned to be Yolanda’s study partner. After a rocky start, the two find a bond that confuses them at times. With evocative performances from Fenessa Pineda as Yolanda and Venecia Troncoso as Mari, we experience their struggles: adjusting to their new reality; and charting their own paths in the face of parental sacrifice, immigration experiences, and peer pressure.

WONDER WOMEN! THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN SUPERHEROINES
(Kristy Guevara Flanagan, USA)

Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines traces the fascinating evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman. From the birth of the comic book superheroine in the 1940s to the blockbusters of today, Wonder Women! looks at how popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.

(L-R) Bernardo Ruiz, Matias Pineiro, Carlos Rossini, Tanya Zarak, Kelcey Edwards, Aurora Guerrero, Michele Stephenson SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES