Documentaries at the 2012 New York International Latino Film Fest

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The New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) is almost here, and Remezcla is on the ground to give you the scoop on the best films to check out. Below, NYILFF Documentary Programmer and Remezcla contributor Vanessa Erazo highlights her selection of this year’s documentaries. Don’t miss them!

I spent the earlier part of this year watching lots and lots of documentaries. It’s part of my job as the Documentary Programmer for the New York International Latino Film Festival to sift through stacks and stacks of DVDs and find the good ones. This year, I tried to do something un poco diferente. After watching hundreds of Latino docs over the past few years, I can’t tell you how many films I’ve seen about I.C.E. raids or deportation centers. Don’t get me wrong, these are important stories that need to be told–but the Latino experience reaches far beyond immigration and visa status. I tried to highlight nuestra gente’s diversity in the films I chose for this year’s festival. I also wanted to show you naysayers that documentaries can be fun. Not all docs are boring or serious! We’ve got Mexi Beatles fans, a Cuban rapper who moonlights as a doctor, a family mystery about lost home movies, a Puerto Rican slam poet, and a crazy mom-and-daughter road trip across Chile. Hopefully, after watching a few of these you’ll be a documentadicta, like me.

BUSCANDO A LARISA (Looking for Larisa)
U.S. Premiere/ 79 Minutes/ Mexico
Director: Andrés Pardo
Screening at 4:50 PM | Wed, Aug 15 | Chelsea Clearview Cinemas

One day filmmaker Andrés Pardo stumbles across 2,000 feet of Super 8 footage at a flea market in Mexico City. Home movies shot during the 1970s, at their center is a lovely young blond-haired girl, Larisa. Teaming up with a photographer friend, Pardo decides to track down Larisa. He takes his search to Facebook, the internet, and the press. Does he find her? Does he figure out why the family’s home movies were thrown away? You gotta watch it to find out!

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New York Premiere/ 85 Minutes/ Cuba-Sweden
Director: Daniel Fridell
Screening at 7:00 PM | Wed, Aug 15 | Chelsea Clearview Cinemas

High up in the Sierra Maestra mountains, where Castro’s revolution began, “El Médico,” a doctor and musician, serves the cause. When a Swedish music producer sees “El Médico” as the next big thing, Communist ideals collide with capitalist dreams. Should “El Médico,” listen to his mother and serve his community as a doctor or take advice from his producer and make “sexy ringtones”?

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ESPERANDO A LOS BITLES (Waiting for the Beatles)
New York Premiere/ 92 Minutes/ Mexico
Directors: Diego Graue & Raymundo Marmolejo
Screening at 6:30 PM | Fri, Aug 17 | Chelsea Clearview Cinemas

Beatlemania is alive and well…in Mexico, where a fervent following pays continuous tribute to the groundbreaking Liverpool quartet. Fans compete in cover band competitions, obsessively collect memorabilia, and bemoan the fact that ‘Los Bitles’ never performed in Mexico. This hilarious and touching documentary shows that the genius of the Beatles transcends decades, continents, language and culture.

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HIJA (Daughter)
U.S. Premiere/ 84 Minutes/ Chile
Director: María Paz González

Screening at 2:30 PM | Sat, Aug 18 | Chelsea Clearview Cinemas

Filmmaker María Paz González and her mother journey across Chile in a Volkswagen Beetle, searching for long-lost family members. María’s mother, who was adopted, knows little of her personal history and goes in search of a sister she has never met. María hopes to connect with her father, a man she knows little about.

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88 Minutes/ U.S.A.
Directors: Laura Brownson, Beth Levison
Screening at 6:30 PM & 7:00 PM | Sat, Aug 18 | Chelsea Clearview Cinemas

Three-time felon, one-time Tony Award winner, Lemon Andersen is an acclaimed poet who broke out on Broadway in Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. But Lemon has landed back in the projects and is desperate for a way out. He turns to the only things he has left, his pen and his story. This beautifully crafted film follows his efforts to stage a comeback at the Public Theater as he battles demons from his past.

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The New York International Latino Film Festival kicks off with a free 15th Anniversary Outdoor Screening of Selena on Monday August 13th and runs through August 19th.

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