NY Latino Film Festival to Open With Leguizamo’s “Undefeated” and Close With “Rhythm of the Saints”
by Brian Brooks
John Leguizamo’s directorial debut, “Undefeated” will open the 4th annual New York International Latino Film Festival on July 22nd in Manhattan, ushering in a six day program with more than fifty films. Leguizamo stars in the film as a boxer from Queens who is caught between the trappings of his new success and his former life as a poor, first-generation Puerto Rican-American. The fest will close with Sarah Rogacki’s “Rhythm of the Saints.”
Joey Curtis’ L.A. street car racing feature “Quattro Noza,” which won the cinematography award at Sundance 2003, is slated to screen at the event as well as Michael Trolajian’s New Jersey-set coming of age story, “Bought and Sold.” Also on tap is “City of God” director Fernando Meirelles’ 2001 film “Maids,” co-directed by Nando Olival, which will top the fest’s international showcase category. Doc offerings include “Santo Domingo Blues” by Alex Wolfe, about the history of the Dominican Republic’s Bachata music as well as “homo thug” doc, “Life on Christopher Street” by Maria Clara. The festival will also include 25 short films, such as “Waiting for J.Lo” by Fred Flores, which screened earlier this summer at NewFest.
“We are excited that John’s film will open our festival,” commented festival founder and director Calixto Chinchilla in an announcement. “He is one of the leading Latinos in the industry who continues to break barriers, and with this film, he comes to the festival as a filmmaker.” The festival will close July 27th with the New York premiere of Sundance 2003 feature “Rhythm of the Saints” directed by Sarah Rogacki and written by Cyn Canel Rossi. The film, starring Sarita Choudhury (“Just a Kiss”) is the story of a Washington Heights Latina who uses the mystical practice of Santeria to confront violence around her.
The New York International Latino Film Festival showcases the works of national Latino filmmakers alongside international Latin American films. The event features work in Spanish and English, and also includes work in the “Vanguard Cinema” experimental section, as well as student categories.