NY Intl Latino Film Festival Top Picks

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This year marks the 10th annual New York International Latino Film Festival. Arising from its humble origins in 1999, the festival has become the preeminent Latino Film festival in the country, and are debuting new venues: the Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 9 (260 W 23rd St between Seventh and Eight Aves) and the School of Visual Arts Theater (333 W 23rd St between Eight and Ninth Aves.)

John Leguizamo will be the subject of a tribute on Wednesday and will present his film, Where God Left his Shoes (read our review from Tribeca 08 in our Cine Section and Benjamin Bratt will make an appearance in the star-studded red carpet on Opening Night for his new film, La Mission, written and directed by his brother Peter and set in their native San Francisco.

For the cinephile, there are many interesting choices this year, ranging from a battle with a multinational corporation (Crude) to more lighthearted fare, such as the story of a group of lonely men from a town devoid of women in Spain (Esperando Mujeres).

For those who are interested in behind the scenes work, panels detailing the ins and outs of the media industry as well as the portrayals of Hispanics in film over the years are also part of the NYILFF.  We at Remezcla have made a short primer on some of the more notable films and panels at the festival.  Dig in, see some, hear some and have a good time!


Below The Fold (2007, USA, Roberto Gudino director)
The pen really is mightier than the sword in this documentary. A group of Hispanic journalists in 1984 Los Angeles team up as a response to the media’s largely negative portrayal of Latinos. To that end, they scoured the city to report on the current state of affairs in the Latino community in LA. Through hard work and fine reporting skills, the results were spectacular to say the least and to this day, is referenced in journalism studies.

Bajo La Sal (2008, Mexico, Mario Muñoz director)
A young man who has an odd hobby works in his father’s funeral home. At the same time, a series of brutal murders are occurring near the funeral home. Matters are made worse for the young man when he is suspected of involvement. What could possibly link him to the murders? Maybe it could be his incredibly creepy hobby of making graphic homemade horror films or his anti-social behavior. Starring Humberto Zurita, Plutarco Haza and Ricardo Polanco

Crude (2009, USA, Joe Berlinger director)
Crude sheds some much needed light on an ecological disaster in Ecuador that leaves some activists to call it the “Chernobyl of the Amazon”. It is a real life tale of a David and Goliath style battle. However, while the story of the documentary is driven by oil, it is also a courtroom drama as well as a tale of a rapidly dissappearing way of life. From the director of Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and Paradise Lost.

Esperando Mujeres (2008, Spain, Estephan Wagner director)
In a small town in Spain, a crisis is in full bloom. All of the young womenfolk have fled, leaving behind the men. Los hombres plan  a road trip in the hopes of finding a chance of love but are stymied by their inexperience talking to a woman who isn’t family or a hooker. The best part is this: it’s filed under documentaries. This is a true story!

La Milagrosa (2008, Colombia, Rafael Lara director)
The nearly 40 year war between FARC and the Colombian government takes on a more intimate angle as a well-off student is taken hostage and must contend with survival as well as keeping himself sane. Quite a film to check out, especially in the wake of Ingrid Betancourt’s rescue.

La Linea (2008, Mexico/USA, James Cotton director)
In Tijuana, a ruthless drug cartel is planning an expansion into new markets and trade routes. However, a hitman has been sent to stop them and chaos ensues as gun battles break out in broad daylight. Trust us, the film is not far off on the violence in the city. At least in 2008 it seems. Starring Ray Liotta and Andy Garcia.

Where God Left His Shoes (2007, USA, Salvatore Stabile director)
John Leguizamo stars in a film about a down-on-his luck boxer who is taken off a roster and looses his only form of steady employment. Just as things couldn’t get worse, him and his family are evicted from their apartment and are forced to live in a shelter, near the holiday season. He will go on a journey to rescue his family from poverty and have a good…Christmas.


SAG + HOLA Presents: “The Changing Face of Latinos in Media in the 21st Century
There was a time where Latinos were perceived in the narrowest of definitions; from crime to exotic creatures and worse. However, with the fact that America is becoming more Latino by the minute (Reconquista time!), the media has changed its tune and more diverse portrayals of Hispanics are coming to light. With that in mind, check out this panel which shows just how it started to change and where the future lies.

GET IN AND STAY IN (Networking Do’s and Don’ts)
Making a name for yourself in showbiz is a hard thing to do. This panel shows you the ins and outs of networking in an industry where connections and social circles matter just as much as skill.