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José by Li Cheng will have it's world Premiere in Venice Days

José by Li Cheng
The director Li Cheng
Guatemala, 2018, 85', color, DCP


José (19 years old) lives with his Mother (50s) in Guatemala City - a typical lower-class existence in one of the world’s most dangerous, religious, and impoverished countries. She never had a husband, and José is her youngest and favorite child.
Her life is her church, and selling sandwiches at a bus stop. José spends his days on cramped buses and fighting traffic as he runs food to waiting drivers. Aloof and resigned to things as they are, he fills his free moments playing with his phone and random sex arranged on street corners and dating apps. When he meets Luis, a migrant from the rural Caribbean coast, they pursue an unexpected relationship and José is thrust into passion and pain and self-reflection that were previously unimaginable.


Guatemala is one of the world’s most dangerous, religious, impoverished and socially conservative countries - and with the youngest population in all the Americas it’s edge-poised for change; it sets a particluar dramatic contect to the story.

A page from current news headlines. Many of the children separated from their parents, and detained in dog-like cages in Texas, are Guatemalan (not Mexican as is often claimed). The crises of young people, single Moms, and dark-skinned peoples in Guatemala frames the “JOSE” story:

• second highest rate of child murder in the world
• women suffer one of the highest rates of violence in the world - highest in Latin America
• 67% of births are to unmarried mothers
• only country in Latin America where the poor are getting poorer - already 59% poverty
• 82% dark-skinned population - indigenous Mayan (41%) + mestizo (41%)
• the Jose actor is indigenous person, from traditional rural Mayan village




1/ José is the first EVER film to come from Guatemala and Central America in Venice

2/ José develops a new film language - simple and honest, which reviewsers have praised so far

3/ It casts a light on the LBGT scene from Latin America - very rarely seen or known around the world

4/ The Jose family will inroduce their films in Venice : lead actors, crew, writers, director, producer etc to attend the festival

5/ The producers are happy to meet in Venice and welcome sales offers, press inquires, prospective agents, programmers and festivals, etc.


• Wednesday 29 August 2018: 17:00 Sala Perla - Press, Industry
• Thursday 06 September 2018: 11:30 Sala Perla - Tickets, All Accreditations. Followed by Q&A
• Friday 07 September 2018: 20:00 Sala Perla 2 - Tickets, All Accreditations


"Beautifully made, and the love story between the two men is surprising, lovingly filmed, and non exploitive."

Carol Bidault de l'Isle
Producer Media Fusion Entertainment LLC

"A very strong story - finally a film that avoid the clichés of beauty. A very detailed depiction of the environment in which the characters try to survive and --an impossible dream-- to live a romantic relation, ...a strange mix of calm and brutality in life and love - only a little cat is capable of tenderness in a very magic moment ... powerfully photographed, unconventional, a kind of Guatemalan neo-realism"

Guillermo Escalon
Writer, Director, Cinematographer ("What Sebastian Dreamt (2004) - Sundance Film Festival; Cárcel de árboles (2015) - Biarritz Film Festival) 

The team will be in Venice to accompany the film and meet the press.

Press: | Distributors: | Agents: I festivals


JOSE digital pressbook ENG 10 pages YQstudio LLC.pdf4.5 MB
JOSE digital pressbook ITAL 10 pages YQstudio LLC.pdf4.79 MB

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About Mostra Internazionale d Arte Cinematografica Venice

Oldest festival in the world, MOSTRA is Non-specialised competitive event for features and shorts. Two competing sections and three Prizes: the Golden Lion, the Lion of the Year and the Lion of the Future to best director`s debut film.



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