The 1st Annual Miami Latin Film festival will take place at the end of July with a sneak preview (in honor of Miami Pride) next weekend (Thurs April 16-Sun April 29). The July festival will be five days and lots more films with panels and events. I was privileged enough to have been sent screeners for the April festivals 4 main movies and I have to say South Florida is in for a treat as the movies are top notch film making; all 4 being very unique.
Opening Night Screening – “Quemar Las Naves (Burn the Bridges)”
The 4-day preview festival will kick-off on Thursday, April 16, at 7:30pm with the Opening Night presentation and U.S. Premiere of Quemar Las Naves by Francisco Franco at the Colony Theater. The saying usually goes that they saved the best for last, but in this case they gave you the best first. Although all 4 movies are excellent this movie transcends excellence and really touched something within me. It is a rare occasion when a movie really moves me and this movie did from beginning to end. I would encourage everyone to see as many of these movies as possible, but I urge you to make Quemar Las Naves a MUST! This is an emotionally compelling drama about Helena and Sebastian who live in a crumbling villa with their dying Mother in Central Mexico. Helena leaves school and becomes her mother’s caretaker. Isolated in the secluded Villa, Helena grows jealous of Sebastian who roams freely, if awkwardly through his teenage life of denial. Then Sebastian meets Juan, a tough new student who awakens a sense of danger, desire and possibility in him. After their mother dies, the emotional rivalry between the siblings reaches an operatic intensity as they confront the limits of loyalty and they must choose to live in the past or destroy it to pursue their dreams. Director Francisco Franco and lead actor Angel Onesimo Navares will attend the screening to discuss the film with the audience.
Latino Filmmaker Spotlight Screening- “Aquarelas (Watercolors)”
On Friday Aprl 17, at 7:00pm, the Festival will present the Latino Filmmaker Spotlight screening of Aquarelas Director David Oliveras has created a multi-award winning teen romance about a young artist, Danny who falls for the hunky swimming champ Carter. Danny helps the troubled Carter with his schoolwork while the smoldering Carter brings Danny out of his shell awakening his passion for art and his newfound sexuality. The Spotlight evening was created to honor rising Latino directors who make films for all audiences beyond the Latino community.
Fort Lauderdale Spotlight Screening – “Spinnin” (6000 Millones de Personas Diferentes)
On Saturday, April 18, at 8:00pm the festival brings Broward County audiences the Florida premiere of one of the finest award winning film from Spain. Spinnin’ directed by Eusebio Pastrana is a wonderfully exuberant, multi-layered Spanish drama about Garate and Omar. Both young, gorgeous and in love they are desperate to have a child. After failed attempts with their female pals, they befriend Raquel, a pregnant woman whose partner died of AIDS. Sound conventional? Spinnin’ is anything but. It’s a wildly entertaining, inventive film that celebrates being alive. There is even an onscreen countdown of 101 kisses between lovers both gay and straight, children and parents, strangers and families. A refreshing, feel good movie about love, friends and relationships. This film was the winner of the Audience Award at the Barcelona Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
Closing Night Gala Screening – “Fuera De Carta (Chef’s Special)”
The Festival closes on Sunday April 19, 7:30pm with the Closing Night Gala and Florida Premiere screening of the hysterical comedy Fuera De Carta by director Nacho Velilla at the Colony Theater. Maxi is a Chef with stress issues. Intent on earning his restaurant a much revered Michelin star, he runs his kitchen with panic-stricken fervor. Though Maxi is comfortably out of the closet, he has some skeletons still firmly tucked away there, including a sham marriage that resulted in him fathering two children. When, unexpectedly, they turn up on his doorstep and a hunky Argentinean soccer player moves in next door, Maxi might have to reevaluate his own morals and values. This delicious farce overflows with hilarity. As the highly-strung Maxi, Javier Cámara (Almodóvar’s “Talk to Her”) gives a masterful comic performance, supported by a wonderful cast, particularly Lola Dueñas (Almodóvar’s “Volver”), who this writer thinks steals the movie with her comedic genius performance, as Maxi’s emotionally unstable friend. A huge box-office smash in Spain, the film went on to win multiple honors.
According to Executive Director of the Film Fest Jim Dobson “I am truly grateful to all the filmmakers and distributors who have worked with me to enable us to present this intimate line-up for our inaugural event. The Festival was created to fill a void in the Florida Latino Gay community and the enormous support we have received from around the world is overwhelming. We are also very excited to have assembled an amazing group of Latino men and women from South Florida and around the world on our Advisory Board. Their input on programming and future development of the Festival has been instrumental on creating the best Festival for the community”
Order tickets online at www.cineflorida.com