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LatinoBuzz: Shipwrecked! The Urbanworld Film Festival

LatinoBuzz: Shipwrecked! The Urbanworld Film Festival

As the summer has wound down things got even hotter over at Urban Film Festival, which kicks off Sept 17-21st with this year seeing its
strongest presence of Latino content to fill the void the New York International Latino Film Festival behind two years ago. So we decided to show the
short filmmakers that feature Latino talent in their films some love in a new edition of ‘LatinoBuzz: Shipwrecked’ to see what they cannot live
without! They are given a choice of a Film, Book, Companion from a film and an Album to be stranded with (we’ll deal with logistics another time).

Janine Salinas Schoenberg  – “Jenny & Lalo

‘Amelie’ – Because it’s all I ever want to see when I’m having a bad day.

‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’ because few books have ever made me both laugh out loud and sob hysterically.

A mix of my husband Adam Schoenberg’s music because it both moves and inspires me. Perfect for island solitude!

Maria Elena from ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ because she would be fun, spontaneous, and crazy enough to help us survive!

Adel L. Morales – “Missing Grandma

‘Paid In Full’ by Eric B. & Rakim. I remember running to Moody’s Record Shop on White Plains Road in the Boogie Down the day after I heard Marly Marl
drop it on WBLS for the first time. I picked up the 12-inch single of “Eric B. Is President” (the album didn’t drop right away) and was immediately blown
away by the art on the label: a giant brown hand coming down from the skies to drop off pyramids on a nearly deserted earth. I knew from the jump that
Rakim was bringing a higher level of thought to the hip-hop game. His conversion to the Nations of God’s and Earths gave him a preacher-like authority, as
he stood for my positive energy than anyone before him. The man was a pioneer and a lyrical genius. He was using internal rhymes in his songs while cats
were still struggling with end rhymes. Eric B’s beats were dope & got insanely better on their follow-up album, “Follow the Leader.” After I ran home
and played that track a bunch, I flipped it over to listen to the B-side, which was “My Melody” and I damn near had a heart attack. I couldn’t believe my
ears! Did this MC and DJ, with the hottest track in the streets, put an even hotter track on the B-side? It was like finding a gold nugget in a riverbed.
The greatest rap duo ever in my book.

‘Random Family’ by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is a fascinating true story of two couples set in the Bronx during the mid-1980’s to late-1990’s. Despite the
accurate portrayal of the lives and the cycle of poor choices made by uneducated people, there is a tiny glimmer of hope for the next generation. It makes
me hope that someone’s child will eventually figure a way out of the messes created by inner city issues, like the high school drop out rate, teen
pregnancy, and drug dealing. It describes in great exactness the time period in which I grew up in the Bronx and allows me to appreciate the courses I
travelled to navigate those dangerous waters.

: Sancho Panza from ‘Don Quixote.’ He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty literally or figuratively. He is often the voice of truth when his partner would
rather hear anything but. But, it is the ability to keep his master safe from enemies, as well as from himself that seals the deal for me.

‘Adrift in Tokyo’ by Satoshi Miki is one of my favorite films of all time. I would chose this one to take with me if I was stranded on an island because it
encompasses some of the things that I find essential to enjoying life on this planet. Miki is able to do this in both dramatic and comedic ways. It is
about making connections with the world around us and with the people in it. Spending time getting to know someone often feels like a lost art in today’s
faster-paced world. Characters learn to express emotion and not hide behind “manliness.” They atone for sins they’ve committed and attempt to right the
wrongs of their past. This film reminds me that happiness can be found in the tiniest moments of pleasure and this film delivers tons of them as the laughs
are frequent and come from the silliest places at the weirdest times.

Jess Dela Merced – “Hypebeasts

‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ had a lot of influence on me growing up and even more so today. I fall into many daydreams listening to it, imagining
scenes to match or pretending some of the songs were soundtracks to my life. All her lyrics are starting to ring true as I grow older and the messages are
always getting clearer with each listen. It’s one of those albums that you can only fully comprehend once you’re old and wrinkly.

‘Catcher in the Rye’ will always be my favorite book. I identify with Holden so much, not sure if that’s a good thing, but if I could make any movie in the
world, it would be an adaptation of that book. One day I will find the loophole to get to the rights!

‘Coming to America’ because I need to stay happy on that island and would probably reenact it word for word to keep myself entertained. Also so I can
listen to Sexual Chocolate and Soul Glo repeatedly.

Any character Robin Williams has played. I guess Genie for obvious reasons.

Daniel Pfeffer – “Milk & Honey

If I was stranded, I’d bring Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ for it’s timeless effect, so whenever I was losing hope of rescue, I’d put that on to calm my
nerves, and let me know it all doesn’t matter in the end, because the beauty is within and all around you.

My book would have to be ‘DROWN’ by Junot Diaz, because it would let me remember where I’m from, the metro area, and what it feels like to have immigrant

I love so many films, but I think one that is just poetry in motion for me would be Spike Lee’s ‘He Got Game’. Whenever I was feeling homesick I’d just
watch that. Plus the soundtrack is so good on it from the classical to the hip hop, I could be forever entertained!

No matter where I am in the world, I’d have to ask Shailene Woodley to come along so we could plan a film together, in case we were ever rescued and
brought back to civilization.

Cristina Kotz Cornejo – “Hermanas

I think it would need to be a good comedy, either “Dr. Strangelove,” The Pink Panther” or maybe “Brazil” by Terry Gilliam – something absurd to keep me laughing
– oh wait, I guess if I have to choose one then it’s The Pink Panther can’t get enough of Peter Sellers!

1984 by George Orwell to remind me of what the world I left behind is becoming and to make me appreciate the absence of “big brother,” the internet and all
the noise of everyday life.

It’s not easy to choose an album but if I had to choose one it would be one of my favorites from childhood, That’s the Way of the World by Earth Wind and
Fire. It will keep me busy dancing and singing the nights away in paradise.

Ellen Ripley from Alien because with her there I would be sure to eventually get off the island although 1984 will make me want to stay put, oh the
dichotomy of life!

Javier Melero De Luca – “Silencio Chino

Ok, the question puts me in survival mode, not in a curatorial one. I am going to need entertainment to cope with solitude on an island!!

The Shawshank Redemption.’ So many IMDB people could not be wrong. It would remind me that a lot of men dream of being on an island anyway. (“The Lives of
” if the previous was not available).

Someone hot and resourceful like Lara Croft, I could try and hit on her, maybe even have an offspring.

No doubt, The Lord of the Flies. Deep, insightful, metaphorical and well written. Useful on the island too.

Tough call but I would go for Gently Disturbed by Avishai Cohen. They’re Venezuelan folk music meets Israeli jazz. Just mind-bending. P.S. Can’t i just
grab mi iPad before crashing on the island???

Geoffrey Guerrero – “J-1


If I was stranded on a deserted island I would need to have the Buenavista Social club album because their rich Latin rhythms and passionate songs of
romance and love would make life more enjoyable and welcoming. And, being stranded in said island, anything with some latin beats and conga drums goes a
long way in making life a little easier.

If I had to choose a companion from the movies it would have to be two companions: Eva Mendez and Gina Rodriguez. After a long day of cutting wood and
preparing dinner, there’s no other people I would rather have at my side than these 2 gorgeous young ladies. Who knows, maybe I’ll get a back massage if
I’m lucky.

The one book I must have on this island is Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe,” because if I’m gonna be stuck on an island I need to know there’s a chance
I’ll survive. Some people say life is all about survival of the fittest and this book is a powerful story of a man stranded on an island for many years and
by some miracle he survives and escapes the island in one piece. Which I think we’d all agree would be the ideal situation if stranded on such an island.

Amores Perros” or “Rabia.

Dennis Shinners – “Barrio Boy

Film: “Stand By Me“, “Titanic“, “The Empire Strikes Back” (original release) or the “Alien” box set, just keeping the first two films. They are all about
friendship and survival.

I’d love to cram a ton of music onto an iPod, but if not allowed, it would be Prince’s “Purple Rain”. Why? Well, it’s Prince’s “Purple Rain”! Probably my
favorite album of all time, though it’s really tough to narrow down a favorite, let alone a fave Prince record. I’d try to sneak The Cure’s
“Disintegration”, U2’s “The Joshua Tree”, Biggie’s “Ready to Die” and a Jobim record (for sunset listening) by customs too.

I’ve got way more music than books so I might trade this for a Nirvana, Velvet Underground, Peter Gabriel or Smashing Pumpkins album, but at the risk of
sounding cliche or obvious, “The Catcher In the Rye”. This way I’ll always have a piece of New York City with me.

Samwise Gamgee from “Lord of the Rings“. He’s beyond loyal and cooks too, which will come in handy.

Albert Espinosa – “Pitahaya

‘Great Escape’ by Blur because each song is incredible.

Good Will Hunting’. The Death of Robin Williams deeply affected me profoundly.

‘Tuesdays with Morrie.’ This book changed my life.

: Leo of the series ‘Red Band Society’. Red band society, Fox’s series is like my life as a child. It’s my autobiography. I am very happy for the
coincidence between the release of the series and the festival.

Laila Petrone Peynado – “Your Love” 

Anita Baker – ‘Giving You the Best that I Got.’ I love her voice and each song on this album has accompanied me through different stages of my life. If I
had been a singer, I would have been honored to have had her voice and career.

– Paulo Coelho – ‘Eleven Minutes.’ You’re right there with the protagonist. The storyline, the way it is written, compels you to imagine it visually.

: ‘Mo’ Better Blues.’ It’s a movie I can watch over and over again, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and the soundtrack by the amazing Branford Marsalis
Quartet and Terence Blanchard is just wonderful.

: Marcello Mastroianni. Marcello was one-of-a-kind actor and I could spend hours talking to him about his experiences working with some of the most
influential directors and movies of our time.

Wu Tsang – “You’re Dead to Me” 

: I’m not into albums much, but I’d have several of my favorite underground DJ’s, like DJ Total Freedom, NGUZUNGUZU and Juliana Huxtable create an original
mix for me. My island soundtrack would feature lots of traditional Banda music, which I love. I’ve shot several of my films in Mexico, and Banda always
brings me back, like a snapshot of a moment in time. Maybe I could have my mix delivered to the island by drone.

A written retrospective on Rainer Werner Fassbinder would be ideal. I figure if I can’t watch movies at least I can read about them and visualize them in
my mind, on a loop. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is my favorite. It’s considered to be Fassbinder’s masterpiece, but I’m always drawn to
characters who let their hearts rule their heads. It’s that blend of realism and romanticism, loneliness and love that would inspire and buoy me with no
other constant but the waves lashing the shore.


My favorite character is always changing. But this week it’s Sarah Linden from ‘The Killing.’ I guess I can relate to her troubled lonely existence. She’s
super flawed but also so powerful and talented, and deep down has a lot of heart and passion buried under that tough facade. I think we’d enjoy coping with
our existentialism and creating our own mythology together on that island.

Jonathon Dillon – “Celluloid Dreams

Without a doubt, Louis Armstrong “The Definite Collection”. I can say without a doubt Louis Armstrong is one of my favorite musicians of all time. When I
hear that deep raspy voice I can’t help but let all my worries fade away and transport to what life must have been like in the ’30s.

People laugh when I say this, but the film I define as one of the most perfectly executed pieces of cinema created is “Back to the Future.” Head to tails,
frame by frame, everything has purpose and continually pushes the story. Although Zemeckis has gone on to do other projects that he has received more
acclaim for (i.e. “Forrest Gump“), I feel like I always watch “Back to the Future” and see something else he did that I didn’t catch before that makes me
stop and marvel at the film as a whole.

Would graphic novels count? I grew up looking at comic books before I could even read, the visual imagery said it all, and the artwork would be just spell
binding. I actually wanted to be a comic book artist as a kid, but then realized I couldn’t sketch to save my life. I would lean towards Frank Miller’s
Wolverine” or even Alan Moore’s “Watchmen.” If it had to be a book I’d probably want something on “How to Survive on an Island”….

This is tough, and maybe I’m cheating, but the first feature I did the lead female protagonist was Katherine Parker (played by Rebecca Welsh). She was
strong, independent, and above all, a survivor. I’ve always loved films with strong female characters, hence probably why I fell in love with this one from
the moment of reading her on the page. And as they say, you are only as strong as the woman next to you. Honorable mention would obviously go to Marion
Ravenwood (Karen Allen in “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark“), and just about any of James Cameron’s heroines.

Check out these filmmakers and many others at

Written by
Juan Caceres
, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on

that highlights Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices.

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