Contemporary Latin American films take center stage in New York at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 2014 Latinbeat films series, which runs from July 11 – 20, and features work from highly talented and up-and-coming filmmakers from countries including Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil and Argentina. Celebrating its quinceañera this year, Latinbeat organizers continue to explore the region to find emerging directors and writers who have an original style. Below is a list of six films that exemplify what Latinbeat is all about.
We Are Mari Pepa (Somos Mari Pepa)
Director: Samuel Kishi Leopo
Directed by Samuel Kishi Leopo as a tribute to his grandmother, this 2013 film tells the story of Alex (Alejandro Gallardo), a 16-year-old boy who wants his summer to be just like anyone else’s his age, skateboarding with his friends and playing in a garage band, but finds it difficult to do so when his grandmother, whom he lives with, becomes increasingly dependent on him. The film was nominated for the Crystal Bear at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival and won an Iberoamerican Opera Prima Award at the 2014 Miami Film Festival.
9:00pm on Saturday, July 12
8:30pm on Tuesday, July 15
Director: Fellipe Barbosa
This Opening Night coming-of-age film directed by writer/director Fellipe Barbosa (Laura) tells the story of 17-year-old Jean (newcomer Thales Cavalcanti) whose privileged life in Brazil begins to unravel as he gets ready for college and financial and personal problems in his family and a new love interest begin to affect his future.
6:15pm on Friday, July 11
8:30pm on Monday, July 14
My Straight Son (Azul y No Tan Rosa)
Director: Miguel Ferrari
Winner of the Best Iberoamerican Film in the 2014 Goya Awards, this drama follows the relationship between a Diego (Guillermo García), a gay fashion photographer and Fabrizio (Sócrates Serrano), a surgeon, and also confronts topics of young love, homophobia and the acceptance of a gay teenage son. The film is directed by actor Miguel Ferrari, best known for starring in such TV shows as Reina de corazones and Amor a Palos.
3:30pm on Thursday, July 17
8:30pm on Saturday, July 19
Director: Leticia Tonos Paniagua
Country: Dominican Republic
Filmmaker Laticia Tonos Paniagua becomes the first female director in her country with this contemporary action/drama take on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” Set in the corrupt and dangerous town of Santo Domingo, Janvier (James Saintil) is forced to join a drug gang and watch over the drug lord’s sister Jocelyn (Akari Endo), who he ends up falling in love with much to the chagrin of her ex-boyfriend Rudy (Yasser Michelén)
6:30pm on Saturday, July 12
4:00pm on Sunday, July 13
Director: Diego Araujo
Set days before the collapse of Ecuador’s banking system in 1999, writer/director Diego Araujo tells the story of 16-year-old Juan Pablo (Juan Manuel Arregui) who begins a relationship with Juano (Diego Andrés Paredes), a heavy-metal music fan, when he goes to stay with his uncle in a hacienda in the Andes. The film was nominated for the Crystal Bear at the 2014 Berlin International Film Festival.
4:30pm on Tuesday, July 15
6:15pm on Wednesday, July 16
The Summer of Flying Fish (El verano de los peces voladores)
Director: Marcela Said
Winner of the Grand Coral prize at the 2013 Havana Film Festival and nominated for Best Feature Film at the 2013 São Paulo International Film Festival, this comedy/drama stars Gregory Cohen (TV’s Los 80) as Don Francisco, a man who takes it upon himself to get rid of the carp that are overpopulating the lake on his property in Chile. At the same time, he must find a way to make amends with his daughter Manena (Francisca Walker) who empathizes with the local Indian tribe.
6:30pm on Sunday, July 13
4:00pm on Monday, July 14
PANEL: New Voices in Latin American Cinema
1:00pm on July 19
As each year passes, the contribution to cinema from Latin American countries continues to grow as more and more directors, writers, producers and actors break into the industry. We might all know the names of heavy hitters like Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, and Guillermo del Toro, but there are plenty other filmmakers rising in the ranks that hope to add their name to the list of sought-out talent. Filmmakers on the panel include Jose Luis Valle (The Searches), Neto Villalobos (All About the Feathers) and Matías Rojas Valencia (Root). The panel is a free event and open to the public.
Latinbeat runs July 11 – 20 at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. For more info visit filmlinc.com.