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Line up for the New York International Latino Film Fest

The 8th Annual New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) announces its Premieres line-up of the latest and best in U.S. Hispanic and Latin American cinema. The festival runs from July 24 - 29, 2007, and opens with TRADE, a raw and powerful film on international human trafficking, and closes with EL CANTANTE, a salsa music epic starring Marc Anthony as the legendary Hector Lavoe, and Jennifer Lopez as his wife. Other premiere films feature some of the most impressive talent in the industry, such as Wilmer Valderrama, Kate del Castillo, Eduardo Verastegui, Manny Perez and Victor Rasuk. Tickets are available June 25 through Ticketmaster, the Florence Gould Hall box office (55 E. 59th Street), and the festival's website:
More than just a film festival, NYILFF showcases more than 80 U.S. and international feature films, documentaries, and shorts. Industry panels and special events such as Dominican Night, Cinema Under the Stars, NYILFF New Music Showcase, NYILFF Vanguard and NYILFF Family Day demonstrate the festival's dedication to providing a wide milieu of culturally relevant programming. The six-day schedule of events highlights the full range of Latino culture, targeting different segments of the community.

"This year's Latino filmmakers have pushed their talent to the next level. We're excited not only to be back but to return with such a strong roster of films and events we hope everyone will enjoy. It's going to be an exciting summer," said NYILFF executive director Calixto Chinchilla. He added, "There is increasing recognition of Latino talent in filmmaking, from Oscar nominations to lead roles in popular television shows. The festival is proud to provide another forum to demonstrate the influence Latinos presently possess in scriptwriting, directing, and acting."

NYILFF is proud to announce that HBO(R) will return as the presenting sponsor and co-creator of the HBO/NYILFF Short Film Competition. "Over the years, the NYILFF has flourished into the premier gathering place for the best in Latino cinema," said Lucinda Martinez-Desir, vice president, Market Development at HBO. "We're extremely proud to continue to support them in helping to empower and inform the Latino creative community, especially in the development and promotion of new talent through the short film competition."

Opening this year's festival is the Roadside Attractions release TRADE, directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner and starring Kate Del Castillo, Kevin Kline, Cathleen Gati, Alicja Bachleda, Cesar Ramos and Paulina Gaitan. Spotlighting the increasing traffic of people across international borders, Trade focuses on a 13 year-old girl from Mexico City, Adriana (Gaitan) who is kidnapped by sex traffickers, setting into motion her 17 year-old brother Jorge's desperate mission to save her.

The Picturehouse Release EL CANTANTE, directed by Leon Ichaso, starring Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, wraps up the festival as its Closing Night presentation, sponsored by mun2, the bilingual network for young Latinos. The highly anticipated film is the dramatic biography of Puerto Rican salsa pioneer Hector Lavoe. The film follows Lavoe's (Anthony) passionate relationship with Puchi (Lopez) and his quick ascent to international fame. Lavoe's fast rise is matched by his tragic fall, fueled by the salsa star's struggle with drugs and his own personal demons.

This year's exciting line-up of premieres also includes:

BELLA (A Metanoia Films Production) directed by Alejandro Gomez Monteverde and starring Eduardo Verastegui, Tammy Blanchard, Manny Perez, Jaime Tirelli, Ali Landry, and Ramon Rodriguez. Once a famous athlete and now a cook at his brother's Mexican restaurant, Jose (Verastegui) confronts his own past and shows a young waitress (Blanchard) how the healing power of family can help her embrace the future. Bella is presented by Banco Popular.

EL MUERTO (An Echo Bridge Entertainment Release) directed by Brian Cox and starring Wilmer Valderrama, Angie Cepeda, Joel Moore, Maria Conchita Alonso, Tony Plana, Nathan Mussell and Alfonso Arau. Based on the popular comic book of Javier Hernandez, EL MUERTO follows Diego de la Muerte (Valderrama), a 21-year-old Latino-American living in East L.A., who is sent to the Land of the Dead after he is killed in a car crash. El Muerto is presented by

ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN (A Hannibal Pictures Production) the third feature of writer/director Alfredo de Villa and starring Heather Graham, William Baldwin, Dominic Chianese, Marlene Forte, Victor Rasuk, and Erika Michels. The film follows three characters: an optometrist (Graham), pained by the devastating loss of her child; an elderly painter (Chianese), who is slowly losing his sight; and Simon (Rasuk), a teenager living under the thumb of his overbearing mother (Forte), as they struggle to overcome their isolation in a crowded city.

For a full roster of festival films, special activities, or to purchase tickets (available as of June 25), please visit the festival's website at, or call the NYILFF hotline at (212) 726.2358.

The 2007 NYILFF is presented by HBO, sponsored by Banco Popular, and made possible with the additional support of Official Sponsors HBO Latino, Heineken,, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., American Airlines, Amsterdam Hospitality, Big Mama Productions, Daily News/VNY, Latinvox, Telemundo, Time Warner Cable of NY & NJ, Univision Radio/La Kalle and WNBC. The NYILFF is also proud to have The Coca-Cola Company, El Especial/El Especialito Newspapers, Getty Images, Mun2,, and Verizon as Benefactor Sponsors. Special thanks to the Eastman Kodak Company, Avid Technology Inc. and BMI. NYILFF Family Day is presented by Cartoon Network.

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