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Austin Cine Las Americas line up

Cine Las Americas Media Arts Center presents the 8th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, bringing the best of Latin American and Indigenous cinema to Austin from April 20 - 24.

This year, the festival features a rich selection of dramatic and documentary films made by and/or about Latin and Indigenous groups from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, El Salvador, the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.

The festival will open on Wednesday, April 20 at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 N. Congress Ave.) with the screening of MACHUCA, by Chilean director Andrés Wood. Screenings continue through the weekend on two screens at Regal Cinema's Metropolitan 14 Theater (901 Little Texas Lane, on the SW corner of S-I35 and Stassney). On Saturday and Sunday, there will also be screenings at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex (1156 Hargrave St.), and the Hideout Theater (617 Congress Ave. in Downtown Austin).

Opening night festivities begin at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, with a reception starting at 7 PM, followed by an 8 PM screening of one of the most powerful films to come out of South America in recent years. A story of childhood and the transformation of people and society, MACHUCA was Chile's official Academy Awards submission for Best Foreign Film and will introduce the Central Texas public to a large selection of films produced recently in Chile.

It is rare to see a burst of creativity like the one Chile has experienced in the past few years. Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are traditionally the powerhouses of the Latin American film industry, and Spain wields great influence as a production and distribution power for films in Spanish. But the Chilean features Cine Las Americas will screen have beaten expectations back home both creatively and at the box-office, in a movement characterized not only for the innovation of its creators, but for the dynamism of an emerging market for locally-produced films. This year's Chilean program presents an in-depth follow up to the SXSW screening of PROMEDIO ROJO by Nicolás López in March. According to López, PROMEDIO ROJO was the second largest box-office success in Chile last year, second only to MACHUCA.


The film program of the 8th Cine Las Americas Film Festival is composed of the following sections:

DRAMATIC FEATURES: Highlighting the best of new Latin American cinema, these films represent a selection of internationally successful films. From Argentina, EL ABRAZO PARTIDO (The Lost Embrace, Daniel Burman, 2004), winner of the Grand Jury Prix, and the Silver Bear for Best Actor (Daniel Hendler), at the Berlin Film Festival in 2004; from Brazil, O OUTRO LADO DA RUA (The Other Side of the Street, Marcos Bernstein, 2004), starring Fernanda Montenegro, who came to fame in the United States for her performance in CENTRAL STATION (which was also penned by director Berenstein); the aforementioned MACHUCA (Machuca, Andrés Wood, 2004), from Chile; and two features from Mexico: TEMPORADA DE PATOS (Duck Season, Fernando Eimbcke, 2004), a cool take on the beginning of adolesence and a time when there's nothing better to do than hang out, and PUÑOS ROSAS (Pink Punch, Beto Gómez, 2004), a love story between a boxer and a gangster, shot on the Brownsville, TX - Matamoros, Mexico bord! er. Peruvian feature DIAS DE SANTIAGO (Days of Santiago, Josué Mendez, 2004), offers a raw story of a soldier recently returned from combat trying to re-adapt to society in Lima.

FIRST FEATURES: The 8th Cine Las Americas presents a new jury award for Best First Feature. This section introduces new independent films from five different countries, constituing a powerful selection full of contrasts and balances. Included in the program are three Chilean features, including RESIDENCIA, DOGME #33 (2004), the first film from Chile to receive official certification from the Danish film movement Dogme 95. Director Artemio Espinoza will be in Austin to present the film. Y LAS VACAS VUELAN (And Cows Can Fly, 2004) by Fernando Lavanderos Montero, uses an experimental treatment to present different levels of reality that become a stunning portrait of the morals of truth and the nature of relationship. SABADO, (Saturday, 2003) by director Matías Bize, presents a story of love and deception with a single 90-minute video shoot.
Also presenting first features at the festival are Mexican director Jesús Magaña Vásquez (SOBREVIVIENTE, Survivor), and Navajo director Larry Blackhorse Lowe (5TH WORLD), both of whom also chose love and deception as the themes of their first features.
The first features competition is completed by HABITACIONES PARA TURISTAS (Rooms for Tourists, 2004), a horror film presented by Argentinean director Adrián García Bogliano.

YOUTH DAY: An entire day of free screenings of films for and by young people, including EMERGENCIA, the annual youth film competition produced by students at Johnston High School, presenting films from across the U.S. and beyond made by filmmakers 19 years old or younger. EMERGENCIA is followed by a series of Hip-Hop and Capoeira films like GINGA from Brazil, LA FABRI-K from Cuba, and CLOGGED CAPS 3, from San Antonio, Texas. Afterwards, the Youth Liberation Network will hold a benefit concert at Emo’s with performances by Bavu Blakes, Element, Lotus Tribe, B-Boy City, DJ Ebeelo, DJ Tats, and Johnston High School Students.

DOCUMENTARY: Documentary features and shorts are included both in and out of competition. Some of the program’s highlights come from Chile, and from Chilean filmmakers working abroad. Chilean docs include three films made by women directors: LA CUECA SOLA (Marilú Mallet, 2003); the fascinating IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER by Greek/Sweedish director Nitza Kakoseos (2004); and I WONDER WHAT YOU WILL REMEMBER OF SEPTEMBER (Cecilia María Cornejo, 2004). Chile’s presence is rounded out with ÜXÜF XIPAI: EL DESPOJO (Dauno Tótoro, 2004), examining the resistance of the Mapuche Indians over the last 120 years.

More documentaries directed by women are RELATOS DESDE EL ENCIERRO (Tales Form The Inside, Guadalupe Miranda, Mexico, 2004), MAID IN AMERICA (Anayansi Prado, USA, 2004), and SCRIBBLE’S CREATIONS (Kathy Huang, 2004), depicting the realities of the life of a 20-year-old graffiti artist from a colonia in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

>From Canada, Cine Las Americas presents KUNUK FAMILY REUNION, a
>personal account of life and death in the arctic tundra, directed by
>Zacharias Kunuk, the renowned director of the first Innuit feature, The
>Fast Runner; along with SUCKERFISH, a painful yet playful account of a
>Native American mother's life after residential school.

Another documentary highlight is THE WORLD STOPPED WATCHING (Peter Raymont, Canada/Nicaragua, 2003), a sequel to the award winning The World Is Watching, which presented a look at foreign news coverage of the US-financed Contra war against Nicaragua’s revolutionary government. POR LOS CAMINOS (Along the Pathways, Gabriel Travesari, Nicaragua/USA, 2004) complements this view on Nicaragua with a personal and poignant travelogue through the streets of Managua.

Some of the music documentaries included in the program are: A PESSOA E PARA O QUE NASCE (Born to Be Blind, Roberto Berliner, Brazil, 2004) a portrait of three blind sisters who go from being beggars to national celebrities; LA VIDA NO VALE NADA (Life is Not Worth A Thing, Eduardo Gonzáles Ibarra, Mexico, 2004), a biography of famed Mexican songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez; and LA FABRI-K (The Cuban Hip-Hop Factory, Lisandro Mesa, Cuba/USA, 2004).

Biographical docs incllude ROMERO, DEATH OF THE ARCHBISHOP (Rena & Thomas Giefer, 2003), an in-depth look at assasination of the Archbishop of El Salvador; and EL ROSTRO OCULTO DE VILLA (Roberto Bolado, 2004) portraying the postwar days of Mexican Revolution icon Pancho Villa, when he retired in his natve state of Durango to build a self-sustainable community.

SHORT FILMS: Narrative shorts from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico are complemented by others made by Latin American filmmakers working outside of their countries. Documentary Shorts include also films from Costa Rica, Cuba, and Colombia.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS: Cine Las Americas is honored to present a selection of films by Mexican director Nicolás Echevarría. One of the most prolific ethnographic documentarists in Latin America, Echevarría consolidated his experience depicting ancient indigenous traditions in his feature film debut CABEZA DE VACA (1991), considered one of the best films of the 1990’s, and included in this program.

Echevarría will also present a selection of documentaries which include MARIA SABINA: MUJER ESPIRITU about the famed Mazatec shaman from the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico: and NIÑO FIDENCIO, EL TAUMATURGO DE ESPINAZO (1980), about the healer whose cult is still active in northern Mexico and the south of Texas, more than 30 years after his death.

This year’s special screenings also include SHORT-METRAJE, a collection of some of the best new short films from Spain, including the Academy Award nominated 7:35 In The Morning (Ignacio Vigalondo, 2003). Marta Sanchez, curator of the program and sales manager of Women Make Movies, will host the presentation.

HECHO EN TEJAS: Cine Las Americas presents an exclusive competition of short films made in Texas by Latin Filmmakers. Films from Austin and San Antonio include TEST DAY (David Fabelo, 2005), NORTH OF OJINAGA (Romel Eclarinal, 2004), BIG SKY CANVAS (David Garza, 2004), and CRAZY LIFE (Dora Peña, 2004). A local feature is also part of the program: THE CHIPOTLE DIAMONDS, by Marcos Gonzales (2004).

CLOSING NIGHT: Closing night ceremonies begin Sunday, April 24, with a presentation of awards at 6 PM at the Regal Metropolitan 14. A 7 PM screening of the Mexican feature TEMPORADA DE PATOS (Duck Season, Fernando Eimbcke, Mexico, 2004), marks the festival's end for this year.

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