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AFI Latin American Film Festival Selects “The Mexican Suitcase” For Opener

AFI Latin American Film Festival Selects "The Mexican Suitcase" For Opener

AFI has selected “The Mexican Suitcase (La Maleta Mexicana) as its opening night feature for the 2011 AFI Latin American Film Festival in Silver Spring, MD.

“The Mexican Suitcase” is the latest from documentary filmmaker Trisha Ziff, whose 2008 film, “Chevolution,” explored the iconography behind the well-known photo of guerilla revolutionary Che Guevara.

“Suitcase” follows the discovery and preservation of thousands of photo negatives, thought to be lost, but found in Mexico City in 2007.

Ziff will be in attendance to present the film, which was an official selection of the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival in July. The three-week AFI Latin American Film Festival runs from September 22-October 12.

The full release follows:

The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center today announced its Opening Night film for the 2011 edition of the AFI Latin American Film Festival, taking place September 22—October 12 at the historic AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The opening feature will be THE MEXICAN SUITCASE [La Maleta Mexicana], a documentary film that tells the story of three lost boxes, found in a closet in Mexico City in 2007. Contained in the suitcase were 4,500 unique negatives, the work of three young European photographers: Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour and Gerda Taro. Exiles from different places (Hungary, Poland, Germany), they had become fast friends in Paris between 1936 and 1937, then traveled to Spain together to fight fascism with their cameras.

The fascinating new documentary from Trisha Ziff (CHEVOLUTION, 2008 Silverdocs) explores not only the historical mystery of how this photographic treasure trove came to be stashed—and nearly forgotten—in a modest Mexico City apartment, but also the living history of people affected by the Spanish Civil War: in Spain, the contemporary descendants of the defeated Republicans; in Mexico, the refugee children—now senior citizens—who fled wartorn Spain for the safety of a new home.

The recovered trove of photographs was recently exhibited at the International Center of Photography in New York in the exhibit “The Mexican Suitcase: Rediscovered Spanish Civil War negatives by Capa, Chim, and Taro” from September 24, 2010 to May 8 of this year. [For information on the ICP exhibit, please visit: http://www.icp.org/museum/exhibitions/mexican-suitcase]

THE MEXICAN SUITCASE recently made its world premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July, followed by its US premiere at the Los Angeles Latino Film Festival earlier this month. It has since been selected by the International Documentary Association to screen in their DocuWeeks series in New York and Los Angeles, and the San Sebastian and Morelia International Film Festivals in October, where it will make its Spanish and Mexican premieres, respectively. [For more information on the film, please visit: http://www.themexicansuitcase.com and http://www.zonezero.com/exposiciones/fotografos/ziff.]

Filmmaker Trisha Ziff will introduce the film and discuss it with the audience after the screening.

Now in its 22nd year, the AFI Latin American Film Festival showcases the best filmmaking from Latin America and, with the inclusion of films from Spain and Portugal, celebrates Ibero-American cultural connections.

Last year’s AFI Latin American Film Festival welcomed over 10,000 guests to see more than 40 films from 20-plus countries. For further details, log onto http://www.afi.com/silver/new/nowplaying/2011/v8i4/latin11.aspx

The complete 2011 festival lineup will be announced at the beginning of September.

The September/October issue of AFI Preview will feature the AFI Latin American Film Festival and will be included inside the September 16 edition of The Washington Post.

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