Cine Las Americas

Cine Las Americas Announces 2014 Lineup

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Cine Las Americas announced their full film lineup last week in preparation for their upcoming festival, which takes place April 22-27. his is the 17th year for the fest, and the list of events includes thought-provoking and unique films from all over the world.

The kickoff will take place Tuesday night, April 22 at 7 pm with the movie Tercera Llamada (Last Call) at the Marchesa Theatre. The story is based on a play written by director Francisco Franco in which a theater group goes through a challenging process in trying to stage the play Caligula for an international theater festival.

The Marchesa is one of four venues for film screenings this year, including the Alamo Drafthouse Village, the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and the Jones Auditorium at the Ragsdale Center of St. Edward's University.

Texas Films Shine at Cine Las Americas 2013

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Hecho en Tejas Q&A

By Mireydi Mendieta-Nunez

The last day of the 2013 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival wrapped with Texas properly represented in the Hecho en Tejas (Made in Texas) program. Executive Director Eugenio del Bosque welcomed everyone in attendance, giving a speech about the importance of supporting the Austin filmmaking community.

Both independent and student filmmakers had the chance to premiere their work to festgoers. Seven short films were showcased, ranging from documentaries dealing with the U.S/Mexico border fence, to one by a UT student filmmaker showcasing her work from Andrew Garrison's East Austin Stories class.

Cine Las Americas 2013 Dispatch: Death and Clouds

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The Second Death

Friday marked my last chance to catch some really great films from Cine Las Americas, although I sadly wished I had gotten a chance to take in more. I mentioned earlier how I tried to check out films from different genres. I decided to take it a step further for my last day to check out two types of movies I don't usually take in: a thriller and a documentary.

My thriller choice was The Second Death, a film about Alba, a cop trying to solve a murder mystery in a small town. The victims are discovered as being "burned from the inside out," found by the police with a rosary in their hands and positioned as if they were praying. When the clues and witness accounts start to incorporate religious undertones, Alba's faith and beliefs are tested (especially since she does not believe in God). The film has a great twist at the end, exposing the truth of the crime and how the local church was tied into it.

Cine Las Americas 2013 Dispatch: Evil Willow Meets Delusions of Grandeur

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Delusions of Grandeur

For me, days two and three of Cine Las Americas were spent at Alamo Drafthouse Village, indulging one too many times in items from the wide menu selection (I'm certain I've already gained ten pounds). I tried to make it a point to not only see films from different countries, but from different genres as well. Here's what I got to check out.

Wednesday afternoon gave me I Am a Director, a hilarious comedy about Carlos, a guy trying to make a Hollywood film with no money and no past experience. It reminded me of being in film school and meeting those dummies who thought they were the son or daughter of Spielberg himself, but didn't even know how to turn on a camera. Carlos is a lovable character, but you want so much to just slap him because he is so naively ignorant. Everything was spot on humor-wise though, and I imagine film students will probably laugh the hardest at this movie.

The evening then brought me 3 -- a story of a mother and daughter dealing with the consequences of the man who walked out on them years ago. Ironically, the father/husband, Rodolfo, wants to come back to be a part of their lives again many years later. The two women obviously felt the sting of his leaving and have dealt with it by not caring about what happens to them, living as roommates more so than as a family. Rodolfo cannot see that they hurt and act this way all because of his moving on with his life. There was a sadness to the story I hadn't seen before: the reality of losing trust and how we cope with the remaining scars. A very moving film, to say the least.

Cine Las Americas 2013 Dispatch: A 'Snow White' Night

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Cine Las Americas screen

Tuesday night not only marked the opening night of the highly anticipated Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, but also the first festival that I get to attend as press. I arrived early, around 5:30, to get my badge and ticket to the opening-night film, Blancanieves.

In an effort to kill time, I met up with my friend Samantha Lopez for a drink and early dinner. Sam has screened films for CLAIFF for some time now, and filled me in on what to expect. The best part, she said, is not knowing what to expect, as each film was as different as the next. And with each of the films only screening once, one must choose wisely.

The screening kicked off with an encouraging speech from CLAIFF Executive Director Eugenio del Bosque Gómez, explaining what the team had planned and some small changes implemented this year. Film Program Director Jean Anne Lauer then joined him on stage to say how she knew that the movie we were about to see was their opening-night film immediately upon watching. I think this gave the audience and myself hope for what we were about to encounter.

A Peek at the Cine Las Americas Lineup

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Blancanieves 

It's unfortunate that Austin Jewish Film Festival and Cine Las Americas International Film Festival overlap for four days this week, but you can treat yourself to a whirlwind of images, stories, music, and themes by jumping back and forth between the two. AJFF is already underway (my preview). Cine Las Americas starts tomorrow night and runs through Sunday with a full and varied lineup.

You can buy film passes and tickets from the fest's website, or individual tickets at the theaters before the screenings (space available). Films at the Mexican American Cultural Center are free; other venues (where you need tickets) include Stateside at the Paramount and Alamo Drafthouse Village.

As it has since the initiation of each festival, Austin Film Society is co-sponsoring films in both fests. For Cine Las Americas we are helping to present a fascinating elegiac documentary, Carriere: 250 Metros (Juan Carlos Rulfo, Mexico, 2011) at Stateside Theatre on Thursday, April 18 at 7 pm. The director should be available for a Skype Q&A after the screening.

Cine Las Americas Series Showcases Contemporary Comedies

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Still from Bolivar soy yo!

Austin's Cine Las Americas will run a free weekly film series from the last two weeks of January through the month of February. Films from Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina and Uruguay incorporate the mix of comedies from the previous decade. The series kicks off this Wednesday, January 23.

In their press release, Cine Las Americas calls the movies in this series "some of the finest comedies to emerge in Latin America in recent years, and each one of them defines a special moment in the cinema of their country. Dark humor and irony abound, with a sharp edge for social, political and cultural commentary."

Each of the screenings will be held at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) at 600 River Street [map].  The movies will have English subtitles.

Previewing Cine Las Americas 2012: Hecho en Tejas Shorts

Cine Las Americas 2012 posterThe 2012 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival kicked off Tuesday night and runs through the weekend. This year's program includes four short films made in Texas -- in the fest's Hecho en Tejas category, naturally.

Two of the Texas shorts were also part of the City of Austin's "Faces of Austin 2012" project. All four films will show at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar over the weekend.

Sam Lerma's Lilia was produced in San Antonio. The film, which premiered at the 2011 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival, focuses on a family after the father loses his job. How will he care for 5-year-old Lilia? This short screens before Hombre y tierra on Saturday, April 28 at 1:45 pm. Producer Ralph Lopez and actress Lauren Montemayor will be there.

In Open Your Eyes, an 11-year-old goes on a journey of self-reflection. Director Adolfo R. Mora will be in attendance when this short plays on Sunday, April 29 at 11 am (before In the Shadow, another Texas-shot feature).

Through Juan A. Izaguirre's Para Vivir, the viewer is shown a day in the life of Joel, a thirtysomething undocumented immigrant. Joel ended up in Austin because he has cancer and did not have access to medications in Mexico.

Previewing Cine Las Americas 2012 Features, Part Two

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Mosquita y Mari

[Continued from Part One]

The 15th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival opens in Austin this Tuesday, April 24, and runs for six glorious film-filled days featuring narrative features, documentaries, shorts and animation from all over Latin America as well as the mother-tongue homelands of Spain and Portugal. Films are playing at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar and the Mexican American Cultural Center. Check the CLAIFF website for details about screen times, festival badges and single tickets.

Since there are too many films to cover, here is a personal list of narrative features and documentaries I am most interested in seeing, including a few I have already enjoyed. The best thing to do is carefully explore the Cine Las Americas schedule and watch the helpful trailers in order to plot your own course through the overwhelming lineup.

Mosquita y Mari (USA, 2011; fest listing)
A sweet friendship between two 15-year-old Latinitas in Huntington Park, California turns into a tender romance, as sensitively unfolded by Aurora Guerrero in Mosquita y Mari (pictured at top).

Previewing Cine Las Americas 2012 Features, Part One

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Bonsai

The 15th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival opens in Austin this Tuesday, April 24, and runs for six glorious film-filled days featuring narrative features, documentaries, shorts and animation from all over Latin America (U.S. included, naturalmente) as well as the mother-tongue homelands of Spain and Portugal. Films are playing at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar and the Mexican American Cultural Center. Check the CLAIFF website for details about screen times, festival badges and single tickets.

Since there are too many films to cover, here is a personal list of narrative features and documentaries I am most interested in seeing, including a few I have already enjoyed. The best thing to do is carefully explore the Cine Las Americas schedule and watch the helpful trailers in order to plot your own course through the overwhelming lineup.

Tuesday's opening night at Alamo South Lamar will feature two showings of Alguien ha visto a Lupita?/Have You Seen Lupita? (Chile/Mexico, 2011; fest listing). Gonzalo Justiniano's tenth feature film promises to be a sparkling comedy-drama about an innocently sensual young woman who escapes from family plotting in Mexico. On her journey Lupita meets a wide array of unusual characters, including one played by veteran actress Carmen Salinas, who can always be counted on to be hurling chingaderas while helping a young woman navigate the perils of modern life. The film's effervescent young star, Dulce Maria, will be in attendance for this Austin premiere. The movie was shot partially here in Austin.

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