Latino movies are back in town

Montreal Times - - News - By Ser­gio Martinez mtl­

The ninth edi­tion of the Latin Amer­i­can Film Fes­ti­val is un­der­way at the Cin­ema du Parc (3575 Park Ave.).The fes­ti­val started April 6 and con­tin­ues un­til Sun­day, April 15. The open­ing movie was "Chavela" directed by Cather­ine Gund and Dare­sha Kyi (in Span­ish with English sub­ti­tles). This movie will be screened again Sat­ur­day, April 7, at 5 p.m., and is de­scribed as "a biopic about Chavela Var­gas, one of the most fa­mous Mex­i­can singers of all times."

The other ti­tles in­cluded in this fes­ti­val are, "El Inca" the story of real-life pro­fes­sional boxer Ed­win "El Inca" Valero, directed by Ig­na­cio Castillo Cot­tin (Venezuela, in Span­ish with English sub­ti­tles), "Kiki, Love to Love" by Paco Leon (Spain, EST), "El pas­tor" ("The Shep­herd") by Jonathan Cen­zual Bur­ley (Spain, EST), "Re­triev­ing Par­adise" by José Arteaga (Mex­ico, EST), "Mercedes Sosa: La voix de l'Amérique la­tine" by Ro­drigo H. Vila (Ar­gentina, French sub­ti­tles), "Re­tour à Cuba" by David Fabrega (Cuba-Canada, FST), and the clos­ing film, "Cannabis en Uruguay" by Fed­er­ica Odri­o­zola (Uruguay, EST and FST).The fes­ti­val will pay homage to Os­car­win­ner Mex­i­can direc­tor Guillermo del Toro by screening his film "El laber­into del fauno" (with French sub­ti­tles).The re­cent Os­car-win­ner for best for­eign lan­guage movie, "Una mu­jer fan­tás­tica" by Se­bas­tian Le­lio (Chile, FST) will also be pre­sented.

The fol­low­ing is what Roland Smith, direc­tor of the fes­ti­val, told us in an in­ter­view:

Mon­treal Times: What is the im­por­tance of this event for Mon­treal?

Roland Smith: It is im­por­tant that Mon­treal has a Latin Amer­i­can and Ibe­rian film fes­ti­val.There are fewer and fewer Span­ish lan­guage films be­ing shown in the prov­ince of Que­bec, and although this fes­ti­val doesn't re­place reg­u­lar runs of films in the­atres, it keeps the flame lit.

MT: It is in­ter­est­ing that you're show­ing "Cannabis in Uruguay," as we know, the first coun­try to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana. How does this res­onate in Canada, pre­par­ing to le­gal­ize it too?

RS: Uruguay is a small coun­try, it ex­pe­ri­enced all the same prob­lems we are liv­ing now: le­gal age for con­sumers, gov­ern­ment con­trol and sell­ing, grow­ing it at your res­i­dence for your own con­sump­tion, cannabis clubs, health au­thor­i­ties in alert… we have to learn from their ex­pe­ri­ence, and we have to see this film to learn what has to be done.

MT: Po­lit­i­cal films are a sig­nif­i­cant part of Latin Amer­i­can cin­ema, this year you present "Re­triev­ing Par­adise" by José Arteaga, what's the rel­e­vance of this movie?

RS: By watch­ing this film we learn that the Mex­i­can gov­ern­ment and po­lice forces are not re­ally pro­tect­ing the pop­u­la­tion and the na­tives. They are left to de­fend them­selves against drug traf­fick­ers.

MT: You will also pay homage to Guillermo del Toro, by show­ing one of his most em­blem­atic movies, tell us about this.

RS: "El laber­into del fauno" ("Pan's Labyrinth") was the lat­est film he directed in the Span­ish lan­guage. It is his best film to date; it was im­por­tant to bring it back to the Mon­treal au­di­ence. Of course, he won the Os­car for best film for "The Shape of Wa­ter" and also the best direc­tor award for the same film, but it was an Amer­i­can film in English. What is also im­por­tant is that he is the third Mex­i­can direc­tor to win Best Direc­tor at the Os­cars in four years, this is why we do this homage. MT: Plans for the fu­ture?

RS: For the tenth edi­tion we plan to move the fes­ti­val into a non-profit com­pany, we are plan­ning a big­ger two-week event with many Cana­dian pre­mieres with their film­mak­ers present. Thus we need a larger bud­get, which means get­ting grants from all lev­els of gov­ern­ments.We will also hire pub­li­cists to bring in spon­sors; we never had any of these, it is im­por­tant to be more com­pet­i­tive with the other Mon­treal fes­ti­vals.We are do­ing well; we will do bet­ter with a board of di­rec­tors in a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

For de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about sched­ules, film de­scrip­tions, and ticket prices, visit:

"A Fan­tas­tic Woman" re­cent Os­car-win­ner for best for­eign-lan­guage movie will also be screened

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