For more than a decade, the annual Latin Alternative
Music Conference (LAMC) has brought together the musical innovators
and genre-benders at the forefront of a musical movement known simply as Latin
alternative. It is a catch-all term, not a genre in itself. Some sing indie pop
in Spanish while others take Latin beats like cumbia, regional Mexican music,
or salsa and remix them with hip-hop, punk, electronica and everything in
The conference, organized by Los Angeles-based Nacional
Records, took over NYC this past week and was a sweaty, sweltering marathon of
acoustic showcases, electro-cumbia light shows, rainy SummerStage performances,
and out-of-control dance parties. The long standing conference is a testament
to the vitality of the Latino independent music scene.
Although the mainstream is still
catching up to this “new” musical movement, Latino filmmakers have already
tapped into this vast musical resource. Aurora Guerrero, director of Mosquita
y Mari, told LatinoBuzz in a previous interview that, “I’m
constantly on SoundCloud or Remezcla looking to
see what new music is being produced by Latino artists. I’m not interested in
producing soundtracks or scores that have been recycled in U.S. Latino films
throughout the years. I’m looking for music that’s cutting-edge and
contemporary.” Her film, a thoughtful portrait of two teenage Chicanas living
in Los Angeles, is set to the music of local ska bands, the melancholy vocals
of Carla Morrison, and other genre-remixing Latino artists.
The marriage of Latino independent music with Latino
independent film seems natural. Both try to “hop borders” as Jon Pareles wrote in the New
York Times and exist out of a desire to reach beyond the cultural boundaries in
which they currently reside. It’s also a mutually beneficial relationship.
Filmmakers deal with lower fees versus trying to license more commercial music
while providing much-needed exposure to up-and-coming bands.
By happenstance Latinbeat, the Film
Society of Lincoln Center’s week-long showcase of Latin American independent
films, overlapped with LAMC over the weekend. It was a Lindie (a.k.a. Latino
Latinbeat runs through Sunday, July 21 and there is still a
ton to see. Here are the highlights.
Matías Piñeiro | 2012 |
A web of romantic intrigue and revelation is delicately
unraveled in this dazzling riff on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Screening with Rosalinda
(Matías Piñeiro, 2010, 43m).
Ana Guevara | Leticia Jorge | 2013 | 100 mins
A divorced father’s vacation with his two children is marred
by a storm that keep the three cooped up together as he desperately tries to
remain enthusiastic and not let anything ruin their plans.
Pablo Delgado Sanchez | 2012 |
A camping trip in the woods becomes a painful but ultimately
healing rite of passage for two brothers who are struggling to cope with their
disturbing family environment in Sanchez’s taut, suspenseful debut feature.
Ernesto Díaz Espinoza | 2013 |
This exuberant tribute to Peckinpah’s similarly titled 1974
film combines the plot of a Western with a video game aesthetic and structure
in the story of a nerdy DJ who must undertake an action-packed mission to save
his own life.
Mercedes Moncada | 2012 |
Moncada crafts a poignant and engaging personal perspective
on her native Nicaragua from the 1979 Sandinista revolution through to modern
times, weaving herself into the story at every historic step.
Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo,
LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzz that highlights
Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific
objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzz on Twitter and Facebook.