Cine Las Americas

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.

Hecho En Cine Productions Blends Argentina and Texas

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Hecho en CineA murder mystery unravels in the middle of the Patagonian Steppe in the short film Sobre la Estepa, loosely translated from Spanish as These Wild Plains. Hecho en Cine, a production company based both in Texas and Patagonia, Argentina, produced the 12-minute movie, which will tentatively have its U.S. premiere in Austin this April at the 15th Annual Cine Las Americas International Film Festival.

Sobre la Estepa was funded through Kickstarter, and was shot in San Carlos de Bariloche, a city situated in the foothills of the Andes Mountains in the province of Rio Negro, Argentina.

Ty Roberts, Hecho en Cine co-founder and Sobre la Estepa writer and director, said the idea for the movie came to him after meeting "interesting" people on a location scout in Patagonia.

"They immediately caught my eye," Roberts said. "It was just a really odd and interesting combination of characters."

During his research for Sobre la Estepa, Roberts came across the 2008 short film Sikumi (On The Ice), which was shot entirely in the Inupiaq language, spoken by the people of Alaska's Northwest Arctic and North Slope. Sikumi, about an Inuit hunter who inadvertently  witnesses a murder, became Roberts's model for Sobre la Estepa, which was shot in Spanish and Mapuche, the language of the indigenous peoples of Southwestern Argentina.

Free Friday at Fantastic Fest: 'El Infierno' for Cine Las Americas Badgeholders

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Cine Las AmericasCouldn't get a badge for Fantastic Fest? If you were a Cine Las Americas badgeholder this year, you can see a free movie during the fest anyway, with the director in attendance.

I love it when film festivals collide this way; both fests bring outstanding international programming in a variety of genres to Austin. I also love free. I especially love it when there is free at a festival.

Tomorrow at 2 pm at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, Cine Las Americas is hosting a special screening of the Fantastic Fest selection, El Infierno. This is not on the Fantastic Fest schedule, so you don't have to worry about getting in a queue for the online ticketing system. This particularly screening is reserved exclusively for CLA badgeholders, so unless you also happen to have a Fantastic Fest badge, you will probably not be able to see this movie again anytime soon (El Infierno screens twice as part of the regular Fantastic Fest schedule). 

The hitch is that you need to get to the theater on time and bring your badge from Cine Las Americas. If you're like me and attend a lot of festivals, you keep your badges, but then you have to find the right badge. To make it easier to find it, the badge has the 2011 Cine Las Americas poster on it, pictured here.

Just remember to leave plenty of time for parking -- it's only day two of Fantastic Fest so there is probably a full parking lot. 

Cine Las Americas Jury Award Winners Screen Tonight

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Cine Las AmericasThe Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, which has been going on all week, has announced its jury award winners and scheduled them for encore screenings tonight at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. If you don't have a festival pass, you can buy tickets at the Alamo box office.

Portraits in a Sea of Lies (Retratos en un mar de mentiras) won the Best Narrative Feature award and will be shown at 6 pm. The Colombian movie is about a pair of cousins who travel to their hometown to try to recover land taken from them when younger. The Best Narrative Short, Lupano Leyva, will screen beforehand.

The Best Documentary Feature award went to Defiant Brasilia (Avenida Brasilia Formosa), which plays at 3 pm. The "experimental documentary" from Brazil is about a group of people moved to a fictional street and how they interact together. The Best Documentary Short, If We Stay Alive (Si seguimos vivos), will screen beforehand.

Cine Las Americas wraps up tonight with closing-night film The Life of Fish (La vida de los peces), at 9:45 pm at Alamo on Lamar, followed by an after-party at Club DeVille.

For more Cine Las Americas coverage, check out Austin Vida, which includes an interview with Go For It! filmmaker Carmen Marron and reviews of fest selections Habla Texas and Miss Tacuarembo. In addition, True View Reviews has set up a blog just for their Cine Las Americas reviews.

A Look at Cine Las Americas So Far

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Cine Las AmericasMuch to my regret, I haven't yet been able to get to Cine Las Americas this year. Fortunately, several other excellent online writers have been sharing previews, reviews and other interesting notes on the film festival.

Check out these websites, which will tempt you to head out to Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar and the Mexican American Cultural Center for the remaining films and events at Cine Las Americas this week. Feel free to share links to other coverage in the comments.

  • Austin Vida is publishing movie reviews from Cine Las Americas. Annar Verold was impressed with the Chilean documentary Nostalgia de la luz, and amused by opening-night film Las marimbas del infierno.
  • Over at Austin Film Society's Persistence of Vision blog, AFS Programming Director Chale Nafus has been sharing his enjoyment of the festival and offering previews of many films. Here are his entries for Day One and Day Three of Cine Las Americas this year, and I'm sure he'll have more before the week ends.
  • Kimberley Jones and Richard Whittaker at the Austin Chronicle recommends five must-see events at Cine Las Americas, some of which you can still catch.
  • Even the parties are getting a bit of press: Michael Barnes reports on Friday night's Iron Dragon reception on the Statesman's Out and About blog, and chats with the Cine Las Americas filmmakers that attended.

Cine Las Americas: A Preview of This Year's Fest

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Cine Las Americas is almost upon us so it's high time to do a little preview before opening night on Thursday. If you aren't familiar with Cine Las Americas, it's a festival celebrating the films and realities of those of Latin and Indigenous America, including a diverse selection of narratives and documentaries. Unlike most of the festivals in town, a great deal of the programming for Cine Las Americas is free.

This year, the primary venues are Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar and the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC). The MACC screenings are free, and this year, the MACC is the main venue. In addition, two satellite venues offer a few additional free movies: the Jones Auditorium at the Ragsdale Center (St. Edwards University), and the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in. Plus there are those Master Classes I mentioned last week. That means a whole lot more free. Sure, passholders (the equivalent of badges) get priority seating, but that just means with a little patience, you can see a lot of world-class cinema regardless of how tight your budget. Besides, the passes are pretty affordable anyway.

Cine Las Americas Offers Free 'Master Classes'

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Cine Las AmericasWith the 14th annual Cine Las Americas looming on the horizon, we thought there is something you should know. Not only do they have another schedule packed full of films encompassing the breadth of Latin American and indigenous American cinema, this year Cine Las Americas also has four "Master Classes" available to the public.

That's right -- available to the public, as in free, gratis, no dinero, won’t break your piggy bank. Of course there is a slight catch: If you have a film pass for Cine Las Americas, you get priority seating, so if you do want to attend, get there early to be at the front of the line. Or spend a few bucks and get a pass for one of the best kept secrets in film in a movie-hungry town (get one now and save on full price).

The four classes run from Monday, April 25 to Thursday, April 28, and take place at 4 pm in the Black Box Theater at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC). The MACC has been a venue for Cine Las Americas for a while now, and this year more films are screening there, meaning you can easily catch a master class then make the evening's films.

  • Monday, April 25 -- Carmen Marron, writer/director/producer, Go For It! talks about getting U.S. distribution for her inspirational dance film. Go For It! Opens theatrically on May 13, released by Pantelion Films (Lionsgate).
  • Tuesday, April 26 -- Andrés Martínez-Ríos, founder and director of Aatomo Rentas/Chemistry Cine. This case study of the film Jean Gentil (dir. Laura Amelia Guzmán and Ismael Cárdenes) will be a discussion of current state of international cooperation in production and post-production, with a focus on Mexico and the United States.

(Free!) Santo Superestrella Series from Cine Las Americas

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Cine Las Americas has been honoring both the 200th anniversary of Mexico's independence and the 100th anniversary of its revolution all year with a variety of film series. The latest is free, and perfect for the season, as it celebrates that famous masked superhero ... Santo.

If you're not familiar with the Santo legend, Santo was a professional wrestler in Mexico in the early 20th century. Santo was so popular he not only became a folklore icon, but spawned a series of 52 films from 1958 through 1982, with the most famous film being Santo vs. las Mujeres Vampiro (Santo vs. the Vampire Women), which was featured on MST3K. Locals who frequent the Alamo Drafthouse have probably at least seen some clips of Santos films as part of the Alamo pre-shows. But you can now see five of those films in their entirety for the hefty sum of whatever amount of fuel it costs for you to get to the Mexican American Culture Center (MACC) on River Street. 

The Santo Superestrella series runs from October 18 through November 15. Best of all, it's free, and open to the public.  All screenings start at 8 pm, and include English subtitles.   

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