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Chicana from Chicago Films, mostly brown

About me

Currently a creative executive at Stage13, under the Warner Brothers Digital Network umbrella, developing short form digital episodic series. I have the privilege of screening hundreds of independent films, focusing on Spanish language and U.S. Latino, throughout the year as a freelance programmer for film festivals like Sundance, Los Angeles Film Festival, San Antonio’s CineFestival, and the Curacao International Film Festival Rotterdam among others in my over 10 years of festival programming experience.  To my vexing concern, there is an alarming under-representation of American Latino writers/directors, as well many other deserving  multi-cultural voices that are born and live under the radar and not given a chance to meet a broader audience. In this blog I will focus on the diaspora of American cinema made by people with roots/origin/descendant in Mexico, Central & South America, and the Caribbean. The goal is to promote awareness to diverse and compelling stories that cross genres and borders.  I want to change the conversation of what “Latino” storytellers and films means in today’s furiously melted pot.   Taking a page from my favorite blog Shadow and Act, which focuses on the African Diaspora in cinema, I aim to introduce and track the content scene of American = Latino, a landscape which is sadly lacking in current reference let alone attention and cultural context.    Here and there, I’ll share my fun-filled film festival circuit via on-the-scene dispatches in the vein of my favorite all-time writer Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo style.


Are you a filmmaker seeking film festival strategy tips or constructive evaluation notes on your script/project proposal?   Let me demystify the whole submission process for you. Contact me at chicanafromchicago@gmail.com for my consultant services.
Christine-but-call-me-Christina- it-sounds-more-mexican-Dávila
Follow me on @IndieFindsLA
#MasAmerican
Blog header image by Ozumedia

 

OVARIAN PSYCOS directed by Joanna Sokolows and Kate Trumbull-LaValle


The OVA’S ARE COMING!  It’s so rad to see this documentary about the badass cycling brigade, Ovarian Psycos get its world premiere at South By. I have been talking about this one on here since its first Kickstarter, and last year’s Top Docs to Watch Out for list.  The filmmakers managed to successfully crowd-fund a second time on Kickstarter in order to fly and put up members of the collective from the Eastside  EL-Lay in Austin and represent at the world premiere.  Don’t be surprised to see the sisterhood ride through the street raising awareness for social issues that affect all women. In fact I’d follow them on Twitter so you can join in. Austin has a great rental bike program.

 

11:55 directed by Ben Snyder and Ari Issler, written by Victor Almanz

 

 

The title is a sly evocation to a 3:10 to Yuma type western duel in that it sets an increasingly tense timer from Marine Nelson Sanchez’s early morning return back home to that night’s arrival of a bus carrying a dangerous antagonist who blames him for the death of his brother and is out for revenge. Dominican-American Victor Almanzar who is a real life Marine, stars and co-wrote the film.  The story is tight and oozes tension from the get as his homecoming is quickly overshadowed by the looming danger which conflicts with his genuine desire to move forward with his girlfriend and protect his sister and niece. Bomb performances by Victor and Elizabeth Rodriguez as well as John Leguizamo who plays a veteran in a wheelchair (damn he is good at drama). About the directors, both cinematographers in their own right, Ben Snyder notably was a Story Consultant for documentary The Wolfpack and did additional cinematography for Nas: Time is Illmatic, while Ari has shot music documentaries like Brothers Hypnotic and the Hip Hop Project.

 

The title is a sly evocation to a 3:10 to Yuma type western duel in that it sets an increasingly tense timer from Marine Nelson Sanchez’s early morning return back home to that night’s arrival of a bus carrying a dangerous antagonist who blames him for the death of his brother and is out for revenge. Dominican-American Victor Almanzar who is a real life Marine, stars and co-wrote the film.  The story is tight and oozes tension from the get as his homecoming is quickly overshadowed by the looming danger which conflicts with his genuine desire to move forward with his girlfriend and protect his sister and niece. Bomb performances by Victor and Elizabeth Rodriguez as well as John Leguizamo who plays a veteran in a wheelchair (damn he is good at drama). About the directors, both cinematographers in their own right, Ben Snyder notably was a Story Consultant for documentary The Wolfpack and did additional cinematography for Nas: Time is Illmatic, while Ari has shot music documentaries like Brothers Hypnotic and the Hip Hop Project.
The title is a sly evocation to a 3:10 to Yuma type western duel in that it sets an increasingly tense timer from Marine Nelson Sanchez’s early morning return back home to that night’s arrival of a bus carrying a dangerous antagonist who blames him for the death of his brother and is out for revenge. Dominican-American Victor Almanzar who is a real life Marine, stars and co-wrote the film.  The story is tight and oozes tension from the get as his homecoming is quickly overshadowed by the looming danger which conflicts with his genuine desire to move forward with his girlfriend and protect his sister and niece. Bomb performances by Victor and Elizabeth Rodriguez as well as John Leguizamo who plays a veteran in a wheelchair (damn he is good at drama). About the directors, both cinematographers in their own right, Ben Snyder notably was a Story Consultant for documentary The Wolfpack and did additional cinematography for Nas: Time is Illmatic, while Ari has shot music documentaries like Brothers Hypnotic and the Hip Hop Project.

 

by Rodrigo Reyes

 

A bittersweet tale about a fascinating and flawed man who comes to an unsettling realization about his impermanence.  Set in Merced, California where Mexican-American filmmaker Reyes is from, Lupe Under the Sun is slotted in the World Cinema competition.  I listed this film as one of my top 10 films to watch out for in 2016 so I’m so excited to see it get its first festival premiere. While it makes sense to tag the docu-fiction film under immigrant struggles, don’t get it twisted. Reyes’ sophomore film smartly eschews politics  and portrays a personal and deeply moving character’s existential crisis.
@LupeUnderTheSun

 

 

 

Y CUBA, OBVIO

I couldn’t do a post about Caribbean cinema without including Cuba.  I’ve been hearing about La Escuela de Cine en San Antonio de Los Baños the internationally renowned film school since forever and Cuba has a well documented film legacy.  That said, there is an old guard who have gripped onto the spotlight for decades.  Alejandro Burgues code switched it up when he burst onto the genre scene a few years ago with Juan of the Dead – avail on iTunes and these days is LA based and busy on a number of feature and tv projects.  Currently, young filmmaker Carlos Lechuga possesses an incredibly assured hand in his first two films.  His current film, the 1983 set Santa & Andres was pulled from Habana’s Film Fesstival and then when Havana NY FF tried slide it into an out of competition slot, Lechuga decided to bow out completely.  Whats with the censuring?  The LGBT and anti-fidel nature?  Like I said old guard gripping.  The film which is about a closely monitored gay novelist by a government watcher who finds more in common with him than she thought is thankfully making the festival rounds everywhere since its Toronto International Film Festival bow.  Lechuga’s film is that rare period set film where characters feel so immediate and the subject so profound and fresh, and unfortunately more topical than ever.

 

COMING SOON

 

Vashti Anderson’s Moko Jumbie is a total gem to watch out for.  She is busy on the edit.  Here’s a diary she did while in production for MovieMaker magazine and about the film which had a work in progress screening at the Third Horizons Festival.
Also upcoming is Moving Parts by Emilie Upchak, formerly part of the Trinidad +Tobago Film Festival who ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund part of the film.

 

 

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