Monday, July 27, 2009

Star-Studded International Latino Film Festival Kicks Off Tomorrow

The tenth edition of the New York International Latino Film Festival will open tomorrow Tuesday, July 28, at the SVA Theater with the local premiere of La Mission, directed by Peter Bratt and starred by Benjamin Bratt and the up-and-coming Jeremy Ray Valdez. Over the following week, audiences will be able to enjoy more than a hundred feature and short films and documentaries from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela and the U.S. The festival, which is presented by HBO, will close Saturday, August 2, with The Line, directed by James Cotten, with Ray Liota as a hired assesin intent on murdering a drug cartel boss played by Esai Morales.

Other festival's highligths include a tribute to John Leguizamo and the screening of Dos Americas: The Reconstruction of New Orleans, a film by Arthur Saenz and David Zlutnick on the thousands of Latino migrants who worked in the reconstruction of the city after Katrina, as well as the world premieres of Leon Ichaso's Paraíso, an exploration of the generational and class divides within South Florida's exiled Cuban community; Calle 13: Sin Mapa, a documentary on the musical and spiritual journey of the famous Puerto Rican band throughout South America; Victor Nunez's Spoken Word; and Dance Around The Pool, Stephanie Rauber's poignant testimony of her dreadful experiences as a child sexually abused by her father.

New York will be present in productions such as Antonia Pantoja, Lilian Jimenez's documentary on the Puerto Rican educator who founded the advocacy group Aspira; Stages, by the Meerkat Media Arts Collective, on the joint creation by Lower East Side elders and inner city youths of a play about their life experiences; Machetero, a film on the imprisonment of a alleged Puerto Rican terrorist and structured around songs of the hip hop-fusion band Ricanstruction; Henry B. Roa's Naked White Roses, about love and loss in gay and bicultural relationships; Ethan Higbee's Red Apples Falling, a documentary about rap superstar Jim Jones; Cruz Angeles' Don't Let Me Drown, centerpiece of the festival's Dominican Night; and Whose Barrio?, a film on the gentrification of Spanish Harlem directed by reknown journalist and critic Ed Morales in collaboration with Laura Rivera.

The musical history of Latino New York will be also present with La Clave, Mariella Sosa's documentary on the connections between salsa and reggaeton; and The Fania All Stars: Live in Africa, a 1974 vintage documentary produced by Jerry Masucci and directed by Leon Gast, featuring an impressive cast: Celia Cruz, Ray Barreto, Cheo Feliciano, Héctor Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Ismael Miranda and other great performers of that era. (This screening is free and will take place at NYRP community garden)

Launched in 1999, the New York International Latino Film Festival's mission is to showcase the work of the hottest emerging Latino filmmaking talent in the U.S. and Latin America, to offer expansive images of the Latino experience, and to celebrate the diversity and spirit of the Latino community. NYILFF is endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Latin Media and Entertainment Commission.

Most films will be shown at Clearview Cinemas Chelsea 9 (260 West 23rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) and the School of Visual Arts Theater (333 West 23rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues) For tickets and programming information, click here.

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