The 2010 New York International Latino Film Festival will showcase more than 100 Latin-themed films at its 11th edition, taking place July 27-August 1 in New York City. The opening night film is “The Dry Land,” Ryan Piers Williams’ drama about returning Iraq War vets, which was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at Sundance and won top honors at the Dallas International Film Festival. (Williams was profiled in a recent Futures column.) Other highlights of the festival include “Trópico de Sangre,” Juan Delancer’s film about sisters who resisted the tyrannical rule of Dominican dictator Trujillo, and closing night feature “Stolen Dreams” (“Sohnos Roubados”), Sandra Werneck’s winner for top prize at the 2009 Rio International Film Festival. As part of the festival, the fourth annual Cinedulce Showcase will feature a dozen films by up-and-coming filmmakers.
Six films will see their world premieres at the festival, including Neal Thibedeau’s and Sarah Louise Wilson’s “The Accidental Death of Joey by Sue,” Carmen Marron’s “Go For It!” and Jose Montensinos’ “Owned.” The slate of international features includes Carlos Carerra’s “El Traspatio,” Mexico’s official submission to the 2010 Academy Awards, Rodrigo Grande’s “Cuestion de Principios” (Argentina), Patxi Amezcua’s crime thriller “25 Kilates” (Spain) and Marcel Rasquin’s soccer drama “Hermano,” from Venezuela. Scheduled panels will cover film distribution in the age of VOD and cultural entrepreneurship, among other topics.
“Cinema has become global and few other film festivals, Latino or not, represent the breadth and width of our programming at NYILFF,” said Calixto Chinchilla, co-executive director and programmer of the festival.
Screenings will take place at venues throughout New York, including a free outdoor showing at St. Nicholas Park in Harlem. For more information, see the NYILFF’s website.
Highlights of the 2010 NYILFF lineup (descriptions provided by the festival’s organizers)
“The Dry Land” (Opening Night)
Director: Ryan Piers Williams; Writer: Ryan Piers Williams
Cast: America Ferrara, Melissa Leo, Ryan O’Nan, Jason Ritter, Wilmer Valderrama
James (Ryan O’Nan) returns from Iraq to face a new battle — reintegrating into his small-town life in Texas. His young wife (America Ferrera), his mother (Melissa Leo) and his best friend (Jason Ritter), provide support but they can’t fully comprehend the pain and suffering he feels since his tour of duty ended. Lonely, James reconnects with an Army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama), who provides him the compassion and camaraderie he desperately needs. A taut, moving story of redemption and reconstruction, “The Dry Land” is about one soldier’s war to reconnect with his own soul.
Director: Suzette Azariah Gunn; Writer: Suzette Azariah Gunn
Cast: Nicoye Banks, Suzette Azariah Gunn, Fred Valle
Trey Dice is a successful musician living the lavish lifestyle he always dreamed about. One quiet night, a chance encounter forces him to face truths that will alter the course of his life forever.
Director: Shan Nicholson
Cast: Charlie Ahearn, Arthur Baker, Bobbito Garcia, Daze, Fab 5 Freddy, Nelson George, Deborah Harry, Edward I. Koch
Out of the economic and social strife that held the Big Apple hostage in the 1970s, a new culture of musicians, artists and thinkers emerged downtown that continues to drive the international fashion, art and music scene today.
‘Trópico de Sangre” (“Tropic of Blood”)
Director: Juan Delancer; Writer: Juan Delancer
Cast: Michelle Rodríguez, Juan Fernández, César Evora, Celinés Toribio, Sharlene Taulé, Liche Ariza, Sergio Carlo, Luchy Estévez
The story of the Mirabel sisters who would come to represent the greatest threat to the regime of Dominican dictator Trujillo.
“Regresa” (“Return,” Mexico)
Dir: Alejandro González Padilla; Writers: Monica Abin & Alejandro González Padilla
Cast: Jaime Camil, Mónica Huarte, Victor Huggo Martin, Mariana Peñalva, Daniela Schmidt, Blanca Soto, Javier Tolosa, Jorge Zárate,
When her husband Ernesto throws himself into work and refuses to start a family, Maria begins turns to hypnosis and is convinced she is a Basque princess engaged to a prince from the 15th century.
Director: Jessy Terrero; Writer: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson
Cast: Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Val Kilmer, AnnaLynne McCord
Starring Curtis 50 Cent Jackson, who co-wrote the screenplay, and Val Kilmer, Gun is a fast-paced, action film with an original perspective on gun violence and crime.
“Sins of My Father”
Director: Nicolas Entel; Writers: Nicholas Entel, Pablo Farina and Alan Hayling
Provocative film tells the inside story of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar through the eyes of his only son for the first time.
“El Traspatio” (“Backyard”)
Director: Carlos Carrera; Writer: Sabina Berman
Cast: Juan Carlos Barreto, Sayed Badreya, Alejandro Calva, Adriana Paz, Amorita Rasgado, Anna de la Reguera, Jimmy Smits
When Mexico City Police Captain Blanca Bravo is sent to Ciudad Juárez to investigate the series of unexplained murders of young women that have drawn international attention, she encounters an incompetent and possibly complicit police force, an indifferent local population and a seedy underworld.
“Stolen Dreams” (“Sohnos Roubados,” Closing Night)
Director: Sandra Werneck; Writer: Eliane Trindade
Cast: Nando Costa, Amanda Diniz, Kika Farias, Silvio Guindane, Nelson Xavier
Three teenage girls living in poverty and struggling with dysfunctional families and early pregnancy turn to prostitution to survive. STOLEN DREAMS is a rare film: one that pulls no punches, yet is infused with a gentle, poetic sensibility.
Domestic, World and New York Premieres
“The Accidental Death of Joey by Sue”
Directors: Neal Thibedeau and Sarah Louise Wilson
Writers: Neal Thibedeau and Sarah Louise Wilson
Cast: Caroline Le Duc, Christina Ferraro, Ashley Fink, Mercedes Leanza, Steve Talley
In the shadow of Día de los Muertos, a young couple has 24 hours to decide if their love should live or perish for good.
“I’m Not Like That No More”
Director: Christian Sesma; Writers: Matt Flynn and Christian Sesma
Cast: Deborah Baker, Jr., Ina Barron, Felipe Esparza, Paul Rodriguez, Edwin san Juan, Chi Chi Navarro, Sophia Santi
For Felipe, life at 30 consists of living at home with his extended family. A chance encounter that reawakens his sense of possibility.
“Go For It!”
Director: Carmen Marron; Writer: Carmen Marron
Cast: Aimee Garcia, Al Bandiero, David Hernandez, Gina Rodriguez, Rene Rosado, Andres Perez-Molina
Night after night, Carmen and her friends tear up the dance floor at the local club. Soon Carmen finds herself torn between her family’s working-class ways and her dream to dance.
Director: Ric Dupont; Writer: Carl Lucas
Cast: Luis Bordonada, Jorge Jiminez, Art LaFleur, Omar Leyva, Salome Martinez, Shirley Rumierk
Five interconnected stories explore hope, heartbreak and the lines people cross in search of a better life.
Director: Miguel Necoechea; Writers: Carl Bessai, Kirk Harris and Miguel Necoechea
Cast: Marco Antonio Barrera, Sofia Espinosa, Kirk Harris, Michael Madsen, Alex Perea, Martin Sheen
Trapped in the rough and tumble life of Mexico City, Abner dreams of becoming a professional boxer. In CHAMACO, we see a world where everyone battles for a better life — and the heart fuels the punches we throw.
Director: Jose Montesinos; Writer: Jose Montesinos
Cast: Kyra Gordon, Aileen Lawlor, Joe Montesinos, Miguel Padilla, Dennis Ruel, Sari Sabella
After eight years in prison, Cisco is finally free — or so he thinks. “Owned” presents us with an all-too painful reality: we may think we are “free,” but our past debts and mistakes just may own us for good.
“American Dreams Deferred”
Directed by: William Caballero
An NYU graduate student, William Caballero, turns the camera on his Puerto Rican-American family and explores both his and family’s dreams.
“Kill the Habit”
Director: Laura Neri; Writer: Laura Neri
Cast: Cayce Clayton, Maria Elena Laas, Joe Lia, Lili Mironjnick, Katerina Moutsatsos
When drug-abusing Galia kills her two-timing drug dealer, Lyle, she calls on her best friend to help. What could go wrong?
Director: Edwin Marshall; Writers: Ben Going and Matthew F. Perry
Cast: Maria-Elena Laas, Pastor Shepherd, Danny Trejo
In this offbeat comedy, Shepherd, a struggling door-to-door freeze-dried pet salesman and his ailing, nearly catatonic mother hit the road with three of their neighbors to attend the End Times Revival Event!
Director: William Wedig; Writers: Manny Perez and William Wedig
Cast: Kevin Breznahan, David Castro, Margo Martindale, Manny Perez, Jaime Tirelli
After serving time for manslaughter, Chuco (Manny Perez) returns from prison to the cold and rusted steel town of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He must now grapple with avoiding his vengeful son (David Castro) and trying to be the father he never was.
“Navidad” (“Christmas,” Chile/France)
Director: Sebastián Lelio; Writers: Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza
Cast: Manuela Martelli, Alicia Rodriguez and Diego Ruiz
On Christmas Eve in Santiago de Chile, 17-year-old Alejandro accompanies his troubled girlfriend, Aurora, to her deceased father’s house where they find a life-changing surprise.
“Retratos en un Mar de Mentiras” (“Portraits in a Sea of Lies,” Colombia)
Director: Carlos Gaviria; Writer: Carlos Gaviria
Cast: Ana Maria Arango, Carlina Lizarazo, Edgardo Román, Julián Román, Paola Baldion, Ramses Ramos
After the death of their grandfather, Jairo and Marina travel from Bogotá to the coast to recover their land.
“Amar a Morir” (“Love and Death,” Colombia/Mexico)
Director: Fernando Lebrija; Writers: Fernando Lebrija and Harrison Reiner
Cast: John Archer, Renata Campos, Alberto Estrella, Martina Garcia, Catalaina Lopez, Raúl Méndez, Silverio Palacios
Alejandro is the heir to his father’s banking fortune, but he sees this wealth — embodied by his controlling father and his corrupt cronies — as a burden rather than a blessing and he must finally find the courage to fight for the life he wants.
“Cuestion de Principios” (“Question of Principals,” Argentina)
Director: Rodrigo Grande; Writers: Roberto Fontanarrosa and Rodrigo Grande
Cast: Norma Aleandro, Pablo Echarri, Mataeo Izza, Federico Luppi,Pepe Novoa, Oscar Nuñez, Mario Vidoletti
Adalberto, an old employee about to retire is intent on teaching his “yuppie” boss that “not everything has a price tag.”
Director: Alan Jonsson Gavica; Writer: Alan Jonsson Gavica
Cast: Mario Almada, Freedom, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Ignacio Lopez Tarso, Maya Zapata
Desperate to save his family from a notorious drug dealer. Mateo Cruz causes absolute pandemonium when he decides to kidnap Mexico and Latin America’s most adored religious icon, the Virgin of Guadalupe.
“Havana Eva” (Cuba/France/Venezuela)
Director: Fina Torres; Writers: Jorge Camacho, Julio Carrillo and Fina Torres
Cast: Carlos Enrique Almirante, Yuliet Cruz, Prakriti Maduro, Juan Carlos Garcia
In a Havana shaken by Fidel’s retirement, Eva, a young seamstress stuck working in a factory and with an adorable but lazy boyfriend, dreams of becoming a fashion designer. In what serves as a sly metaphor for Cuba’s future options, Eva must choose between the two men she loves — and what direction her life will take.
“El Cuarto de Leo” (“Leo’s Room,” Uruguay/Argentina)
Director: Enrique Buchichio; Writer: Enrique Buchichio
Cast: Gerardo Begerez , Cecilia Cosero, Arturo Goetz, Mirella Pascual, Martin Rodriguez, Cesar Troncoso
Affable but secretly troubled twenty-something Leo is desperately trying to come to terms with himself and his sexuality.
“25 Kilates” (“25 Carat,” Spain)
Director: Patxi Amezcua; Writer: Patxi Amezcua
Cast: Hector Colome, Aida Folch, Marc Garcia, Francesc Garrido, Maria Lanau, Manuel Moron, Montserrat Salvador
25 Kilates is a sexy and intense thriller that twists and turns its way though the lives of minor criminals in Barcelona’s dirty underworld.
Director: Ernesto Díaz Espinoza; Writers: Ernesto Díaz Espinoza
Cast: Marko Zaror, Celine Reymond, Alejandro Castillo, Luis Alarcón
Mandrill, Chile’s top assassin, went into the hit-man business hoping to get revenge on the one-eyed man who killed his parents. Murder for hire, gorgeous women, guns, martial arts, and a funky, funky score – this one has it all.
“Hermano” (“Brother,” Venezuela)
Director: Marcel Rasquin; Writers: Rohan Jones and Marcel Rasquin
Cast: Eliú Armas, Gonzalo Cubero, Marcela Girón, Fernando Moreno, Alí Rondón
Daniel and Julio few up playing soccer in their slum. The opportunity of their lives arrives but they must choose between family, revenge or their dream.