It’s finally getting too hot to be outside in New York City. The easiest way of cooling off this coming month? Ducking into a film theater near you, preferably one playing Latin American movies about Chavela Vargas, the Panama canal, or Latin Jazz pianists. Thankfully, The Americas Film Festival of New York has you covered. In its third year, the fest promises to show the rich diversity of cultures, languages and stories of the Americas.
Not for nothing does it feature projects from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, and the U.S. They’re kicking off the week-long celebration with The Nightingale and the Night: Chavela Vargas Sings to Lorca (El ruiseñor y la noche: Chavela Vargas canta a Lorca), a documentary that brings the two towering visionaries together for a beautiful meditation on death and artistry.
Adding some prestige to the proceedings is Carlos del Castillo’s Between Sea and Land (La Ciénaga: entre el mar y la tierra) which was awarded the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Prize for Acting to both Vicky Hernandez and Manolo Cruz at the Sundance Film Festival in addition to taking home an audience award. The Colombian drama centers on Alberto (Cruz), a man afflicted with a neurological disorder that confines him to his bed, and his mother Rosa (Hernandez) who lovingly protects and takes care of him in a Caribbean seaside town.
Elsewhere in the program you can also find the Chilean doc Habeus Corpus about the 1973 coup, Luis Zorraquín’s drama Guaraní on the challenges of keeping Guarani culture alive, the omnibus film Panama Canal Stories, the moving short doc on American-raised kids moving back to Mexico Una vida dos paises, as well as an extensive collection of fiction, animated, documentary, and experimental short films that will be vying for the America Awards given out at the end of the fest. Oh, and did we mention all screenings are free and open to the public? You really have no excuse to miss out!
The Americas Film Festival of New York runs June 9-17, 2016.