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The team of Jose enjoying Venice and great reviews

"JOSE" director Li Cheng (right) with cinematographer Paolo Giron (left), in front of Giornate degli Autori / Venice days headquarters, at the festival at Lido. Giron is native of Guatemala City, studied film in Buenos Aires, and has shot films all over Latin American. Cheng is native of China, is USA educated, and spent two years in Guatemala making "JOSE" 


Director Li Cheng, a U.S. transplant from China, conducted extensive interviews with gay and marginalized youths across Latin America as the foundation for Jose, a reflective drama set in Guatemala about love, loss and queer desire lived in the shadows of a culture defined by crime, violence, macho attitudes, strict religious beliefs and binding family ties.Made with nonprofessional actors in a style beholden to the neorealist tradition, the film compensates for its underfed narrative with a tender observational quality backed by confident visual sense. Its unabashed treatment of gay sex and nudity, which is less about homoeroticism than emotional candor, also should help open doors in specialized LGBT platforms.


"JOSE" cinematographer Paolo Giron (left) with producer and co-writer George F Roberson (right) taking the vaporetto from "JOSE" headquarters near Rialto bridge to the festival - a half hour boat trip down the Grand canal and across the lagoon to Lido island

"JOSE"  cinematographer Paolo Giron (left) with producer and co-writer George F Roberson (right), pausing in front of festival kiosk - this year is Venice film festival 75th year: world's oldest film festival. Roberson, an urbanist by training, turned to film to harness the medium for social action on topics he considers most urgent


"JOSE" production manager Luis Andres Schwartz (center) joins director Li Cheng (left) and cinematographer Paolo Giron (right) with "JOSE" production still <the iconic "Jose running at night"> (to the right of Giron's shoulder) at the Giornate degli Autori / Venice days headquarters. "JOSE" lead actor, Enrique Salanic, is ethnic Mayan, is Guatemala native and is fluent in Spanish, English and Mayan - he will be in attendance at the "JOSE" world premiere on 6 September at 11.30am in Sala Perla

"JOSE" producer and co-writer George F Roberson (left) with production manager Luis Andres Schwartz (center) and cinematographer Paolo Giron (right) with "JOSE" production still <the iconic "Jose running at night"> and stills from all the Giornate degli Autori selections - this year especially noted that 6 of 11 official selections are by women directors

"JOSE" production manager Luis Andres Schwartz at the red carpet in the center of the festival. A veteran of numerous Guatemalan films, Schwartz is Guatemalan native and studied film at Guatemala's premiere film school: Casa Comal

From Hollywood Reporter review, by David Rooney


"In a transfixing interlude of beauty and intimacy, Jose borrows a friend's motorbike and he and Luis ride to a remote countryside spot. They steal kisses and caresses along the way, making out in a bamboo field once they get there"


"Its sensitive portrait of being young and gay in an unaccommodating culture also makes it deserving of attention"


Guatemala is little known internationally, but is a fierce battleground for human rights right now - and it's already one of the world's most socially conservative countries. A bill 5272 is at the last moment of passing in the congress, and it is an attack of human rights of women, children and adolescents and LGBTIQ people in Guatemala. It extends punishment for abortion, including for situations of spontaneous abortion or natural death of the fetus during any stage of pregnancy that even occurs during involuntary, emergency obstetric situations. At the same time, Initiative 5272 contains regulations that prohibit private and public educational institutions from implementing inclusive sexual education policies and programs in the name of parents’ rights to decide what type of education their children can receive


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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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