Like a Gotham or a Krypton or an El Dorado, Urbanworld Film Festival surges through New York City’s asphalt this weekend and sets-up an afro-futuristic kingdom where film and mediamakers of color take center stage. And for this year’s festival they have curated a strong selection of Latino films for you to get space-age on. Though there are heartfelt and poignant confessionals like HBO’s Habla Men and action packed tales of border-crossings such as Los Ángeles, Urbanworld is taking you out of the present and into the supernatural, the weird, the ciencia ficción, and summoning the latent Oscar Wao inside all of us. (Cue riveting Hans Zimmer track here.) Urbanworld runs from September 17-21. Check out these “films”… or are they instructional videos that will help you survive the industrial apocalypse?
Director: Aaref Rodriguez
A recently released convict returns to Highland Park (also known as The Avenues) where he is confronted with old demons, new allies and tough obstacles as he hopes to reunite with his estranged daughter. Based on a true story.
HBO’s Habla Men
Director: Alberto Ferreras
Charismatic Latino personalities like Junot Diaz and Blue Demon open up about what it means to be Latino. The 11th installment of HBO’s acclaimed series.
Director: Alex Rivera
In a futuristic Mexico where borders are sealed off, Memo is unable to enter the United States in order to reunite with his parents. Thus he is forced to work at a digital factory and connect his body to a robot in America in order to find them.
Director: Jose Nestor Marquez
Isa Reyes discovers a chip in her brain that is causing her dreams to merge with reality. When a company that wants to exploit her powerful dreams kidnaps her, she uncovers a conspiracy that spans from the forests of Mexico to Wall Street.
Director: Alberto Barboza
Vincent is a street artist rambling through LA’s Boyle Heights when he meets Luzy, a beautiful and fierce tattoo artist. Though their attraction for one another is bridled by their respective significant others, Vincent in intent on courting Luzy and his search for her will immerse us in East LA’s unique music scene. Lupe Ontiveros’ last performance.
Lake Los Angeles
Director: Mike Ott
A middle-aged Cuban man who works at a holding house forms a friendship with Cecilia, a 10 year-old Mexican girl who ends up there alone and who creates fantastical tales with which to battle her desolation.
Director: Damian John Harper
In southern Mexico, Mateo is seventeen and preparing to migrate to Los Angeles in order to support his family. However, before he can depart, the leader of a local gang demands he become a member by committing murder.
Night Has Settled
Director: Steve Clark
Oliver is thirteen and poised to enter the sex and alcohol laced teenage world of “firsts.” However, he becomes traumatized when his housekeeper has a stroke, as she is the woman whom he considers to be his true mother. What was supposed to be an exhilarating rite of passage becomes complicated by intense emotions of loss, fear and guilt.
What It Was
Director: Daniel Armando
Adina leaves Hollywood and returns to New York, where old passions are awakened. The past and the present intertwine as she tumbles through a series of intense relationships that force her to confront her true identity.
Director: Laura Checkoway
New Yorker Lucky Torres grew up in foster care after her mother left her and her sister Fantasy. She hides a lifetime of abuse and abandonment behind an angry, tattooed exterior. While her sister has settled down, Lucky remains a homeless, unemployed single mother, jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend. Still, Lucky dreams of true love and success in this documentary.