I had the opportunity to check out some of the films being showcased at the 23rd annual San Diego Latino Film Festival and I have to say they were all awesome. I have had a great experience so far, after each film there has been a Question and Answer panel with directors, producers, and actors of the films, where they dive deeper into the films I had just seen. Rarely do we get the chance to speak to the makers of the films we see and be able to ask them the probing questions that are on our minds. I found it to be a very enriching experience and I suggest any movie lover to come check out the festival before it ends. Here are some of my suggestions of films I enjoyed and ones I recommend that you see. You can browse the schedule and purchase your tickets online or you can get them at the box office when you get there.
Puerto Ricans in Paris
I chose this one as my opening night film to watch and wow did it deliver. I had so much fun watching this movie and it was a real treat to have the director of the film Ian Edelman sitting right behind me. I guess I am a movie nerd, but I find that exciting! The film stars Luis Guzman and Edgar Garcia as New York City detectives who are put on a case by Collete, a French handbag designer. One of her most famous original pieces goes missing and she puts them on the case to find her bag in Paris. Now these two guys as the title suggests have never been to Paris and what ensues from there is hilarious. The jokes were funny, but never crass or mocking latinos like some movies do, the humor was just right. Rosie Perez and Rosario Dawson are also in the film and they only add to the hilarity of the scenes. The director mentioned that Guzman and Garcia have been friends for over 30 years and it is obvious because they play so well off of each other. If you are in the mood for a comedy, this one is just right.
I took two of my girlfriends to see this one and we all enjoyed it. This movie is perfect for a girl’s night out or a date night. The film is derived from the novella of the same name. It is about a female family that has a curse on them, all of their husbands die off and they cannot bear male children. None of them know why, but when their great-grandfather’s body is found in the wall of their family home, the women come together to pay their respects and bury him. Believing that by doing so, they will be removing the curse. The film stars Ana de la Reguera, Iliana Fox, Tenoch Huerta, Damián Alcázar, and Paulina Gaitan. I had a great time watching this movie and I encourage people to go out and see this one. This film is a mixture of funny, sexy, endearing, and overall showed the strength that women have inherently in them and that is what made it great.
Viva Mujeres! Shorts
I got a chance to see this short films showcase over the weekend and it was amazing. Seven movies in total were shown and honestly I don’t know how it is possible how each director does so much in a short amount of time. Many of the directors and actors in the films were present and it was enjoyable to hear them talk about their motivations behind the films, how they get them funded, and the experiences they had in making them. One of my favorites was the documentary short Homegirls, which showed how two former female gang members from different paths came to the Homeboy Organization and their stories that led them there. The organization is a civic-minded center in Los Angeles that helps men and women out of prison and gangs find jobs and offers them a chance to work in their bakery and café. I was blown away by the stories and immensely moved. Every film that was shown was well thought out and featured a story about women that needed to be told. I definitely recommend everyone to go see these films and support them, as these rarely get as much exposure as Hollywood films, but they are equally as good as any big budget feature.
The San Diego Latino Film Festival ends on March 20th. Check out the schedule and get your tickets before it’s over.