These Are the 2018 Nominees for the Only U.S. Awards Recognizing Latin American Cinema

Lead Photo: 'La región salvaje' Courtesy of Los Cabos Film Festival
'La región salvaje' Courtesy of Los Cabos Film Festival
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As part of its mission to promote and champion Latin American and U.S. Latino Cinema for nearly two decades, Cinema Tropical, one of international cinema’s biggest allies stateside, hosts the Cinema Tropical Awards very year in NYC, in addition to its year-round involvement in helping with distribution, PR services, and overall support for great films.

For their eighth edition, the Cinema Tropical Awards have changed their nomination process in an effort to reflect the shifting and non-binary way in which movies are being made today across both fiction and documentary narratives. Rather than nominate a handful of works in separate categories that denote the distinction between the two, Cinema Tropical chose to shortlist 25 distinct Latin American films, all of which will compete for awards in the categories of Best Film, Best Director, and Best First Film where it applies.

One category did remain the same: Best U.S. Latino film, likely because there is unfortunately a smaller pool of candidates in comparison to its Latin American counterpart. The nominees this year are: Beatriz at Dinner by Miguel Arteta, Dolores by Peter Bratt, Lupe Under the Sun by Rodrigo Reyes, Memories of Penitent Heart by Cecilia Aldarondo, Ovarian Psycos by Kate Trumbull-LaValle and Johanna Sokolowski, and Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four by Deborah Esquenazi.

Carolina Bilbao, Vice President of Programming and Development for Cinelatino; Remezcla’s own film editor, Vanessa Erazo; and film critic Claudia Puig, president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, comprise the U.S. Latino Film jury.

Standouts among the Latin American contenders include Chile’s Oscar hopeful A Fantastic Woman, about a transgender woman fighting for her right to mourn a loved one; Mexican documentary Devil’s Freedom, which explores the horrors of the drug war through first-hand accounts; Brazil’s Aquarius, centered on an older woman pushing back against the system that’s trying to evict her from her home; Amat Escalante’s The Untamed, a sci-fi drama that blends art house sensibilities with extraterrestrial monsters; and Argentina’s Kékszakállú, an unconventional vision of teenage femininity inspired by a Hungarian opera. In total 10 countries are represented in the shortlist: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela.

The eclectic jury that will select the Latin American winners includes Florence Almozini, Associate Director of Programming, Film Society of Lincoln Center; writer Alvaro Enrigue; Leo Goldsmith, scholar and film editor, The Brooklyn Rail; La Frances Hui, Associate Curator, Film Department, MoMA; and filmmaker Kirsten Johnson (Cameraperson).

The winners will be announced at a special ceremony at The New York Times  headquarters in New York City on January 10, 2018. In addition, the winning films will be showcased as part of the Cinema Tropical Festival, which will takes place February 2-4, 2018 at Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.

In case you were wondering why some films you’ve heard of qualified and others didn’t, the selected works premiered between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017.

Take a look at the full shortlist of Latin American films below (alphabetically by title)

  1. Adriana’s Pact / El pacto de Adriana, Lissette Orozco, Chile
  2. Aquarius, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Brazil/France
  3. Araby / Arábia, Affonso Uchoa & João Dumans, Brazil
  4. Casa Roshell, Camila José Donoso, Chile/Mexico
  5. Dark Skull / Viejo calavera, Kiro Russo, Bolivia/Qatar
  6. Devil’s Freedom / La libertad del diablo, Everardo González, Mexico
  7. Everything Else / Todo lo demás, Natalia Almada, Mexico
  8. A Fantastic Woman / Una mujer fantástica, Sebastián Lelio, Chile/USA/Germany/Spain
  9. The Future Perfect / El futuro perfecto, Nele Wohlatz, Argentina
  10. The Grown-Ups / Los niños, Maite Alberdi, Chile/Netherlands/France
  11. Hermia & Helena, Matías Piñeiro, Argentina/USA
  12. The Human Surge / El auge del humano, Eduardo Williams, Argentina/Brazil/Portugal
  13. In the Intense Now / No Intenso Agora, João Moreira Salles, Brazil
  14. Kékszakállú, Gastón Solnicki, Argentina
  15. La Soledad, Jorge Thielen-Armand, Venezuela/Canada/Italy
  16. Memory Exercises / Ejercicio de memoria, Paz Encina, Paraguay
  17. Miss María, Skirting the Mountain / Señorita María, la falda de la montaña, Rubén Mendoza, Colombia
  18. Rustlers / Cuatreros, Albertina Carri, Argentina
  19. Site of Sites / El sitio de los sitios, Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada, Dominican Republic
  20. Territory / Territorio, Alexandra Cuesta, Ecuador/US/Argentina
  21. The Theatre of Disappearance / El teatro de La desaparición, Adrián Villar Rojas, Argentina
  22. This Is the Way I Like It II / Como me da la gana II, Ignacio Agüero, Chile
  23. This Time Tomorrow / Mañana a esta hora, Lina Rodríguez, Colombia/Canada
  24. The Untamed / La region salvaje, Amat Escalante, Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/Norway/Switzerland
  25. William, The New Judo Master / William, el nuevo maestro del judo, Ricardo Silva, Mexico