all presented in all

7 Boxes

7 Cajas

It's Friday night in the capital city of Asunción and the temperature is 40ºC. Víctor, a 17-year-old delivery boy in the bustling Mercado 4, dreams of becoming famous. He's offered a chance to transport seven boxes with unknown contents on his wheelbarrow in exchange for a quick US$100. But what sounds like an easy job soon gets complicated. Something in the boxes is highly coveted and Víctor and his pursuers quickly find themselves caught up in a crime they know nothing about.

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A Moonless Night

Una noche sin luna

A divorced taxi driver shows up with a black eye at the home of his ex-wife’s new family; he’s been invited to dinner and he desperately wants to reconnect with his young daughter. A professional magician’s car breaks down and he ends up spending an emotionally intense night with a young, widowed toll booth worker. A singer-songwriter serving a lengthy prison sentence is released for one night to perform at a local community centre.

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A Wolf at the Door

O Lobo Atrás da Porta

Based on real events, and set in Rio de Janeiro, A Wolf at the Door is the nerve-rattling tale of a kidnapped child and the terror of the parents left behind. When Sylvia discovers her six-year-old daughter has been picked up at school by an unknown woman, police summon her husband, Bernardo, to the station for questioning. From that point on, the film takes increasingly sinister turns as it delves into the events that led to the girl’s kidnapping.

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A Wolf at the Door

O Lobo Atrás da Porta

Based on real events, and set in Rio de Janeiro, A Wolf at the Door is the nerve-rattling tale of a kidnapped child and the terror of the parents left behind. When Sylvia discovers her six-year-old daughter has been picked up at school by an unknown woman, police summon her husband, Bernardo, to the station for questioning. From that point on, the film takes increasingly sinister turns as it delves into the events that led to the girl’s kidnapping.

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AninA - Closing Night Gala

Ten-year-old Anina Yatay Salas does not like her name; each part is a palindrome, which means it reads the same way forwards and backwards. Anina’s schoolmates love to tease her about it, until one day Anina can’t take it anymore and gets into a fight during recess with her archenemy, Yisel. Their punishment is rather unusual: the principal gives each of them a sealed black envelope and instructs them not to open it until they return to see her in seven days. The mystery of its contents will eat away at Anina and get her into all sorts of trouble.

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Avanti Popolo

Needing a place to stay after a fight with his wife, a man knocks on his father’s door and is coldly welcomed by an old man and his sole companion, a dog named Whale. In the modest house, the son digs up memories of a missing brother, concealed in old Super 8 reels and LPs. Avanti Popolo approaches themes common to many Latin American countries: military dictatorships and the eternal wait for the return of the exiled and disappeared.

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Bad Hair

Pelo malo

Junior is nine years old and has stubbornly curly hair. He wants to have it straightened for his yearbook picture, like a fashionable pop singer with long, ironed hair. This puts him at odds with his mother Marta, a young, unemployed widow. Already overwhelmed by what it takes to survive in the chaotic city of Caracas, Marta finds it increasingly difficult to tolerate Junior’s fixation with his looks. The more Junior tries to look sharp and make his mother love him, the more she rejects him, until he is cornered, face to face with a painful decision.

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Blanco

In the breathtaking mountain region of Constanza, Dominican Republic, albinism is being passed down through multiple generations. This genetic condition manifests as an absence of pigmentation in the skin, eyes and hair, leaving those affected without any natural protection from the sun. Blanco portrays the daily life of six Dominican albinos of different ages, who strive to carry on with their lives as normal, in spite of their physical vulnerability.

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Boys of Buenaventura

Las últimas vacaciones

For best buddies Jonathan, John-Jaime and Presi playing music together is the ultimate pursuit, a dream they hold on to against all odds. But the end of high school marks the beginning of their last summer together. Set in Buenaventura, a rough and tumble port city on the west coast of Colombia, the young men must face the fact that their remarkable talent and drive may not be enough to fulfill their dreams of a musical career.

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Boys of Buenaventura

Las últimas vacaciones

For best buddies Jonathan, John-Jaime and Presi playing music together is the ultimate pursuit, a dream they hold on to against all odds. But the end of high school marks the beginning of their last summer together. Set in Buenaventura, a rough and tumble port city on the west coast of Colombia, the young men must face the fact that their remarkable talent and drive may not be enough to fulfill their dreams of a musical career.

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Chocó

Chocó is 27 years old; she has two children, a tiny hut on the edge of a Colombian village, an underpaid job in a gold mine, a second job laundering clothes, and a marimba-playing husband who gambles away their money and forces himself onto her at night when he’s had too much to drink. Nonetheless, Chocó is a fighter and she is determined to make a better life for her family. As her daughter’s seventh birthday approaches, Chocó promises to buy her a cake. However, fulfilling that promise proves to be much more difficult than expected.

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Chocó

Chocó is 27 years old; she has two children, a tiny hut on the edge of a Colombian village, an underpaid job in a gold mine, a second job laundering clothes, and a marimba-playing husband who gambles away their money and forces himself onto her at night when he’s had too much to drink. Nonetheless, Chocó is a fighter and she is determined to make a better life for her family. As her daughter’s seventh birthday approaches, Chocó promises to buy her a cake. However, fulfilling that promise proves to be much more difficult than expected.

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Daughter of the Lake

Hija de la laguna

Nélida, a young Indigenous Andean woman, has the ability to speak with spirits of the water, and thus she feels a deep responsibility to defend the pristine lakes that surround her home. She is studying to be a lawyer in Lima so that she can help her community. However before she can finish, a gold deposit valued in the millions is found under her village; the extraction will surely threaten the surrounding waters of her community and she must summon up all her powers to stop the mining.

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Don't Tell Anyone

No se lo digas a nadie

Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of Peruvian journalist and talk-show host, Jaime Bayly, the film adaptation of Don’t Tell Anyone is a classic '90s rollicking drama of forbidden love, reckless living and the search for identity. Featuring a great soundtrack by Fito Paez and Los Zopilotes.

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Dust on the Tongue

Tierra en la lengua

Silvio Vega, a grandfather approaching the final stage of his life, demands that two of his grandchildren take his life because he wants to die by the hand of someone who bears his own blood. To fulfill this wish, they travel together to the plains of Casanare, Colombia, where Silvio lived in his younger days. However, when the grandchildren discover the truth about their grandfather’s past, they will defy his wishes, keeping him alive, agonizing, as punishment for his past actions.

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El Ardor

Described by writer-director Pablo Fendrik as a “Mesopotamian Western,” El Ardor stars Gael García Bernal as Kaí, a mysterious shaman who emerges from the Río Paraná to defend a clan of tobacco farmers against a band of cold-blooded land-grabbers. But this is no ordinary Western. Filmed on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, near the border of Brazil and Argentina, the lush, claustrophobic jungle with its birds, insects and prowling animals becomes as much a part of the story as the misfortunes of its characters.

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El Patron, Anatomy of a Crime

El Patrón, radiografía de un crimen

This incredibly disturbing story follows the exploitation of an apprentice butcher, Hermógenes, and his trial after he murders his boss in broad daylight. Hermógenes, a farmhand from northern Argentina, relocates to Buenos Aires in search of a better life for himself and his young wife, but soon finds himself at the mercy of a corrupt boss. The film is based on a thorough investigation of a real event that happened in Buenos Aires 10 years ago. Almost every scene in the film is inspired by real facts or based on well documented daily practices of the “meat business” and its environment.

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Esther Somewhere

Esther en alguna parte

Featuring an impressive roster of Cuba’s stage and film actors, Gerardo Chijona’s charming new film centres around two elderly gentlemen and the women they once loved. Still mourning the death of his wife Maruja, Lino Catalá’s now simple life is turned topsy-turvy when Larry Po, a man suffering from multiple personalities, informs him that Maruja led a double life as a bolero singer. Both men join forces to find out the truth about Maruja and the whereabouts of Esther Rodenas, the great love of Larry’s life.

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Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me

Todo el mundo tiene a alguien menos yo

A complicated relationship develops between Alejandra, an established literary editor, and María, a precocious student in her last year of high school. At first, the sexual chemistry creates an illusion of compatibility, however it is not long before Alejandra’s requests for candlelit dinners and conversations about books conflict with María’s desire to party until dawn. Filmed in black and white with a nod to the New Wave films of the 60s and 70s, this film has a retro visual style that cleverly mirrors the stifling pretension and hedonistic naiveté of its main characters.

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Eyes Wide Open

Ojos bien abiertos

In 1971, Uruguayan journalist and writer Eduardo Galeano published his landmark work Open Veins of Latin America, in which he comprehensively described the centuries of economic exploitation of Latin America. Almost 40 years later, filmmaker Gonzalo Arijon reevaluates the situation. His search takes him from the soybean plantations of the Brazilian Amazon to the tin mines of Bolivia to the deep jungles of Ecuador.

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FIDAAC at Douglas College

FREE ADMISSION

The third edition of FIDAAC, the Travelling Colombian Media Arts Festival (Festival Itinerante de Artes Audiovisuales Colombianas) will be taking place at the 13th Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

FIDAAC develops activities in Colombia and travels to other countries to promote Colombian cinema. In its prior editions, it was hosted at the Bordeaux International Independent Film Festival in France (2013) and in Vilnius, Lithuania (2014).

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FIDAAC at the Vancouver Public Library

FREE ADMISSION

The third edition of FIDAAC, the Travelling Colombian Media Arts Festival (Festival Itinerante de Artes Audiovisuales Colombianas) will be taking place at the 13th Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

FIDAAC develops activities in Colombia and travels to other countries to promote Colombian cinema. In its prior editions, it was hosted at the Bordeaux International Independent Film Festival in France (2013) and in Vilnius, Lithuania (2014).

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FIDAAC Shorts Program

FREE ADMISSION

The third edition of FIDAAC, the Travelling Colombian Media Arts Festival (Festival Itinerante de Artes Audiovisuales Colombianas) will be taking place at the 13th Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

FIDAAC develops activities in Colombia and travels to other countries to promote Colombian cinema. In its prior editions, it was hosted at the Bordeaux International Independent Film Festival in France (2013) and in Vilnius, Lithuania (2014).

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Fogo

The ruggedly beautiful Fogo Island lies off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. In this remote corner of Canada, traces of Elizabethan English and Old Irish dialects may still be heard, and remnants of ancient folk customs shape the lives of its inhabitants. However, in recent years, economic hardship has taken a toll, forcing many to leave. Homes once full of fiddle music, are now decaying, becoming part of the tundra landscape.

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Fogo

The ruggedly beautiful Fogo Island lies off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. In this remote corner of Canada, traces of Elizabethan English and Old Irish dialects may still be heard, and remnants of ancient folk customs shape the lives of its inhabitants. However, in recent years, economic hardship has taken a toll, forcing many to leave. Homes once full of fiddle music, are now decaying, becoming part of the tundra landscape.

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From Tuesday to Tuesday

De martes a martes

Juan’s passion is bodybuilding, but he earns his living working in a garment factory where he is constantly bullied by his boss and co-workers for his muscular physique. He keeps to himself and quietly dreams of quitting to set up his own gym. But first, he needs to come up with the money. One night, Juan witnesses a crime. Stunned and confused, he must contemplate what to do with the information now in his possession.

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Gonzalez: The False Prophet

González: El falso profeta

Gonzalez is a lost soul in one of the world's biggest cities, Mexico City. Desperate to be someone in life---and to pay off his debts---he embarks on a journey into the increasingly magnetic world of Evangelical Christianity. Religion seems to offer a quick path to becoming rich and soon Gonzalez is willing to do anything in his power in order to make it happen.

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Good People

Gente de bien

Ten-year-old Eric finds himself almost overnight living in a grungy quarter of downtown Bogotá with his father, Gabriel, whom he barely knows. Gabriel is a carpenter by trade, but struggles to make ends meet.  He works doing odd jobs for Maria Isabel, an upper middle class woman with children of her own, who takes an interest in their situation. Over the Christmas holidays she invites them to come to stay at her family's luxurious country villa.

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Good People

Gente de bien

Ten-year-old Eric finds himself almost overnight living in a grungy quarter of downtown Bogotá with his father, Gabriel, whom he barely knows. Gabriel is a carpenter by trade, but struggles to make ends meet.  He works doing odd jobs for Maria Isabel, an upper middle class woman with children of her own, who takes an interest in their situation. Over the Christmas holidays she invites them to come to stay at her family's luxurious country villa.

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Gorgona, Stories on the Run

La Gorgona, historias fugadas

Twenty-five years of stories from a tropical island prison. An inmate who harvested oranges, another who clandestinely sold coconuts. A birthday in solitary confinement and a dead body on the beach. An inmate who polished shoes while another distilled moonshine in secret. Several prisoners attempted, but just one escaped; dozens of sharks lurked in the waters, but only one attacked. From 1960 to 1985, a maximum security prison operated on the paradisiacal island of Gorgona, 35km off the Pacific Coast of Colombia.

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Güeros

Opening Night Film

Güeros was the most highly acclaimed Mexican film of 2014, winning the Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale, the Horizontes Latino Award at the San Sebastián Film Festival and the Golden Ariel for Best Picture at the Mexican Academy Awards. At its screening in San Sebastián, the director and cast received a 5-minute standing ovation. This film is a mesmerizing, black & white masterpiece, full of an intoxicating, youthful energy and a wonderfully nostalgic soundtrack. Come join us for a truly memorable Opening Night!!
 

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Güeros

Opening Night Film

Güeros was the most highly acclaimed Mexican film of 2014, winning the Best First Feature Award at the Berlinale, the Horizontes Latino Award at the San Sebastián Film Festival and the Golden Ariel for Best Picture at the Mexican Academy Awards. At its screening in San Sebastián, the director and cast received a 5-minute standing ovation. This film is a mesmerizing, black & white masterpiece, full of an intoxicating, youthful energy and a wonderfully nostalgic soundtrack. Come join us for a truly memorable Opening Night!!
 

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Habi, The Foreigner

Habi, la extranjera

Analía is a 20-year-old girl from a small town in Argentina who travels to Buenos Aires to deliver some handicrafts for her mother. By chance, an address mix-up leads her to a Muslim neighbourhood where she finds herself taking part in a ritual completely unknown to her. She is given several objects that seem to harbour a mysterious message: these include a tunic, a map and a recipe in Farsi. Enthralled by the new world she has entered, Analía decides to change her identity, and she begins to dress, speak and act like a young Muslim woman.

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Happy New Year, Grandma!

Urteberri on, Amona!

Eighty-eight-year-old Grandma Mari is draining the life out of her daughter Maritxu. Joxemari, Maritxu’s husband, decides he must take charge of Grandma Mari and get her into a home without his wife getting wind of the situation, and to do this he enlists the help of his son-in-law Kintxo. This may seem a simple task, but Grandma Mari’s stubborn and crafty character causes unexpected mayhem.

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I Stay with You

Me quedo contigo

Giggling young women who secretly feed a macho cowboy Viagra might sound pretty funny. But is it really?... I Stay with You starts out as an innocent comedy with rich girls having carefree fun. Gradually, however, the film undergoes a transformation, ending in dark sadism. Artist Artemio Narro has made a number of installations and videos on the subject of violence. His first fiction feature is not only a commentary on the ever-present violence in Mexico, but also on how we see violence.

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Icaros

Icaros explores the spiritual universe of the Shipibo, an Indigenous people who live by the Ucayali river, one of the main tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon. Mokan Rono, a young Shipibo man, sets out on a journey to discover the ancestral knowledge of ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic tonic made from plants that is known for its cathartic and life-changing powers. He is mentored by an elder shaman who instructs him how to prepare for the experience, and his mother, a master healer.

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Illiterate - Chilean Spotlight Screening

Las analfabetas

Ximena is an illiterate woman in her fifties (played by Paulina García who won the Best Actress award in Berlin for her role in Gloria) who has learned to disguise her inability to read or write. Jackeline is a young unemployed elementary school teacher who tries to convince Ximena to take classes with her. Persuading her proves to be an almost impossible task, until one day, Jackeline finds something Ximena has been keeping as her only treasure from childhood: a letter Ximena’s father left when he abandoned her many years before.

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Images of a Dictatorship + Presque Vu and What Comes Between

Imágenes de una dictadura

How do people survive the terror and heartbreak of life under a brutal dictatorship? This hard-hitting film is a visual collage chronicling General Augusto Pinochet's reign of terror in Chile. The imagery speaks for itself, as the film presents a scathing tableau of military rule. The exclusive film footage comes from the personal archives of a news camera operator who worked in Chile for 17 years. Poignant and subversive, it recounts the brutal atrocities suffered by Chileans, while championing their efforts to regain their freedom.

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Jonathas’ Forest

A Floresta de Jonathas

A family lives off the land, selling fruit to tourists at a humble roadside stall by a motorway that crosses a rural community in the Brazilian Amazon. Unlike his carefree older brother Juliano, Jonathas is an exemplary son, dedicated to his studies and to helping his parents make a living. Lured into a camping trip by his brother and by the sensuality of a Ukrainian girl, his life poignantly changes as he enters the realm of the powerful and deceiving rainforest. A beautifully shot drama of faith and nature, tradition and youth. - Vitor Borba

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José Martí: The Eye of the Canary

José Martí: El ojo del canario

Little is known of the childhood and youth of the great 19th-century Cuban liberator, José Martí. This robust biopic imagines his early years. The son of a magistrate, the precocious Martí — “Pepe” to family and friends — takes an early interest in justice. Gradually he enters the nascent independence movement and, not yet 18, is arrested for sedition. Respectful, yet not worshipful, this is a portrait of the revolutionary as a young man, and a stirring historical drama besides.

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Juanicas + Salix Tree

Juanicas is an intimate portrait of a Mexican immigrant family in Quebec affected by mental illness. Using material shot over almost 10 years, the filmmaker documents her complex relationship with her mother and brother, both suffering from bipolar disorder. She starts filming when Juan, her brother, returns to live in Canada after several years away in Mexico. At first the camera provides a distance that helps them reconnect with each other, but soon old patterns return.

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La Playa D.C.

With the enchantment and intensity of an edgy urban fairy tale, La Playa D.C. follows three brothers - Tomás, Jairo, and Chaco - as they face growing up in Bogotá, with its eight million inhabitants and endless asphalt, far from their home in the lush coastal town of Buenaventura. When Jairo disappears, Tomás takes to the streets in a bold attempt to rescue him. But first, he must find a way to rescue himself. The intricately designed close shaves that are popular in the local barber shop spark an idea, but like everything in La Playa, nothing comes easily.

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La Playa D.C.

With the enchantment and intensity of an edgy urban fairy tale, La Playa D.C. follows three brothers - Tomás, Jairo, and Chaco - as they face growing up in Bogotá, with its eight million inhabitants and endless asphalt, far from their home in the lush coastal town of Buenaventura. When Jairo disappears, Tomás takes to the streets in a bold attempt to rescue him. But first, he must find a way to rescue himself. The intricately designed close shaves that are popular in the local barber shop spark an idea, but like everything in La Playa, nothing comes easily.

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La Playa D.C.

With the enchantment and intensity of an edgy urban fairy tale, La Playa D.C. follows three brothers - Tomás, Jairo, and Chaco - as they face growing up in Bogotá, with its eight million inhabitants and endless asphalt, far from their home in the lush coastal town of Buenaventura. When Jairo disappears, Tomás takes to the streets in a bold attempt to rescue him. But first, he must find a way to rescue himself. The intricately designed close shaves that are popular in the local barber shop spark an idea, but like everything in La Playa, nothing comes easily.

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La Salada

With an acute eye and an understated sense of humour, La Salada explores the experiences of Korean, Bolivian and Taiwanese immigrants living in Argentina. The film is structured around three intertwining stories that take place in La Salada — the largest unregulated market in Buenos Aires: a Korean father and daughter prepare for an arranged marriage, a young Bolivian man searches for work, and a Taiwanese DVD seller tries to woo a young woman to be his girlfriend.

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Leap Year

Año bisiesto

This is a work of almost ascetic severity, shot entirely inside the Mexico City apartment of a freelance journalist named Laura (played by the marvellous Mónica del Carmen). But somehow Leap Year uncovers an entire world, recounting a sweeping psychological narrative of a woman’s descent into delusion, sexual obsession and self-destruction and then her voyage out again. Focusing on the details of everyday life with a camera that rarely moves, Rowe manages to make Laura’s story both gripping and dramatic. Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

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Let's Talk in Basque: Kimuak Shorts Program

$10.00

Monday, Sept 1 | 1:00 PM
The Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street (between Helmcken and Davie St.)

In collaboration with the Etxepare Basque Institute, the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is proud to present this showcase of contemporary Basque cinema. We will screen the highly acclaimed feature-length film Happy New Year, Grandma! (Urteberri On, Amona!) directed by Telmo Esnal, who will be in attendance at the festival, as well as a selection of short films from the Kimuak program.

Price: $10.00

Lion's Heart - Opening Night Gala

Corazón de León

Ivana Cornejo, divorced three years ago, is just getting used to being single again. After an exasperating call from her ex-husband, she loses her cell phone. Fortunately, the man who finds it calls her to return it, and to her excitement they have an instant rapport. He is León Godoy, a renowned architect with a charming voice and a charismatic personality. They schedule a date so that he can return the cell phone. When León arrives, Ivana is surprised: he is everything she had imagined, except for one unexpected and startling detail...he is only 4'6" tall.

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Los Hongos

Best friends Ras and Calvin are street artists with limited resources but big ambitions to alter their local surroundings for the better. The two traverse Cali on bike and skateboard, scouting for surfaces to decorate with whatever paint they can scavenge. Inspired by news of the Arab Spring uprisings, they dream of collaborating on a vast mural (with graffiti artist Mario Wize) that will express solidarity with Egypt's student demonstrators.

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LUIS BUÑUEL & ALEX PHILLIPS IN MEXICO: Robinson Crusoe

Luis Buñuel made this adaptation of one of the world’s most famous shipwreck novels, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, during his Mexican period. Despite the fact that the film veers from Buñuel’s “usual” style, for most it is considered the best film version of Defoe’s book, since the director left his personal touch on the story, and when that director is Buñuel, there’s little room for mediocrity.

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Machuca - Manuela Martelli In Person

Chile, 1973. Gonzalo Infante and Pedro Machuca are two eleven-year-old boys living in the capital city of Santiago. Gonzalo comes from a well-to-do family, while Pedro lives in a shantytown on the outskirts of Gonzalo's neighbourhood. Father McEnroe, the principal of St. Patrick’s, enrolls a group of boys from low-income families at the elite private school with the conviction that the students will learn to respect one another.

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Maluala

During the era of the Spanish colonial rule, a settlement of escaped slaves (called palenques) located in the Sierra Maestra in eastern Cuba is the site of an epic story about the struggle for unconditional freedom for the black population. Surrounded by an atmosphere of treachery and war, the black leaders will have to decide whether to strive for a partial freedom that promises a halfway peace, or total equality for their people—a fight that could result in the extermination of their communities. 

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Maluala

During the era of the Spanish colonial rule, a settlement of escaped slaves (called palenques) located in the Sierra Maestra in eastern Cuba is the site of an epic story about the struggle for unconditional freedom for the black population. Surrounded by an atmosphere of treachery and war, the black leaders will have to decide whether to strive for a partial freedom that promises a halfway peace, or total equality for their people—a fight that could result in the extermination of their communities. 

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Melaza

In the Cuban village of Melaza, the least of a couple’s worries is to find a private place to make love. The once prosperous sugar mill has been shut down, and the local economy has come to a standstill. Monica, the only worker left at the mill, and Aldo, a swimming teacher without a functioning pool, live in a one-room house with Monica’s daughter and her grandmother. They urgently need to make some extra money, but the safest options open to them are rapidly disappearing.

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Melaza

In the Cuban village of Melaza, the least of a couple’s worries is to find a private place to make love. The once prosperous sugar mill has been shut down, and the local economy has come to a standstill. Monica, the only worker left at the mill, and Aldo, a swimming teacher without a functioning pool, live in a one-room house with Monica’s daughter and her grandmother. They urgently need to make some extra money, but the safest options open to them are rapidly disappearing.

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Memories of Underdevelopment

Memorias del subdesarrollo

In honour of the 55th Anniversary of the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (ICAIC), the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival is thrilled to present this screening of the classic Cuban film Memories of Underdevelopment. Hailed by many critics as the most sophisticated film ever to come out of Cuba, Memories of Underdevelopment is the masterpiece of visionary Cuban director and ICAIC co-founder Tomás Gutiérrez Alea. The film appears in many experts’ lists of the Top 100 films of all time.

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Nada+

Carla, a young postal worker in Havana, spends her days postmarking thousands of letters and dreaming of the day when she can be reunited with her parents, who moved to the US when she was fifteen. To fulfill her longing for intimacy, she opens random letters and rewrites them into soulful prose, believing she is helping her fellow Cubans understand one another better. Beautifully filmed in black and white accented by brilliant colours, Nada+ has a stunning visual composition.

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Nada+

Carla, a young postal worker in Havana, spends her days postmarking thousands of letters and dreaming of the day when she can be reunited with her parents, who moved to the US when she was fifteen. To fulfill her longing for intimacy, she opens random letters and rewrites them into soulful prose, believing she is helping her fellow Cubans understand one another better. Beautifully filmed in black and white accented by brilliant colours, Nada+ has a stunning visual composition.

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Natural Philosophy of Love + Dis Pleis

Filosofía natural del amor

Insects mate, stories are born. The concept of “love” gets put under the looking glass in this captivatingly maverick film. Manuel, a lonely 36-year-old, begins an unusual friendship with the much younger Alma. A young foreign couple set out on an idyllic backpacking trip in Costa Rica. A Mexico City taxi driver visits a dive bar where he meets a sexy lounge singer. Vicente runs into an old classmate from high school and has something profound to share with her.

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NN

A Peruvian forensic team, tasked with exhuming the remains of a group of people who were made to “disappear” some 25 years earlier, finds an unexpected additional John Doe [NN (Non Nomine)], the only clue being a small photograph of a woman found on his person. Fidel undertakes the long, complicated work of identifying the body, and must navigate the still-raw emotions of the families of the disappeared. Director Héctor Gálvez takes a nuanced, heartfelt look at the raw humanity behind a country’s efforts to come to terms with a dark chapter in its history.

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No One Writes to the Colonel - Colombian Gala

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba

Celebrating the literary legacy and love of cinema of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, the Consulate General of Colombia in Vancouver and the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival are proud to present No One Writes to the Colonel, a film which many consider to be the finest cinematic adaptation of a García Márquez novel.

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Obra

A young architect embarking upon his first major project is unexpectedly brought face to face with dark secrets from his ancestral past... During the project's excavation, a clandestine cemetery is unearthed on a plot belonging to João’s family, leaving him grappling with some difficult questions about the means by which his inherited wealth and standing were accrued.

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Pacha

Tito, a young boy, lives on the streets of La Paz, Bolivia, but when his shoeshine box is stolen, he is left with no means of survival. Collapsed on a bench, a vision of another reality comes to him, where a mysterious woman leads him along ancient Inca paths and teaches him the ways of the ancestors. Meanwhile, the city itself explodes in a social uprising, as the indigenous population make a stand for their rights and the police answer with tear gas and bullets. Tito’s personal struggle for peace becomes a profound reflection of the need for a greater social awakening.

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Quebranto

Coral Bonelli began life as “Pinolito,” a child actor in the rough-and-tumble film industry of 1970s Mexico. The son of a mariachi and an actress, he was a natural performer—a passion his adoring stage mother, Lilia, soon steered into a winning film career. After the movies gave way to the demanding cabaret circuit, “Pinolito” announced he would henceforth be a woman—surgery and hormone treatments to follow.

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Querida voy a comprar cigarrillos y vuelvo

Darling, I’m going out for cigarettes and will be right back

At a table in a small town bar, a strange visitor offers a man an unusual deal: one million dollars in exchange for reliving ten years of his past from whichever time period he chooses. And, when he returns to the present, it will be as though no time has passed at all. At sixty years of age, ernesto Zambrana is feeling fed up with the humdrum nature of his life. Without thinking twice about the consequences, he embarks on this extraordinary adventure which, independent of the outcome, will change his life forever. A darkly comic gem of a thriller with genius performances.

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Refugees in Their Own Land

Refugiados en su tierra

The immediate impact and dramatic photos from natural disasters dominate the media. But what about the period afterwards? This quietly powerful documentary captures the devastation and heroism of a community in those months and years after such a crisis. Filmed during four years in Chaitén in the south of Chile, it tells the story of a group of people who re-occupy their town, which was partly buried by a volcanic eruption and flood, in order to stop the authorities from forcing them to abandon it.

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Sadourni’s Butterflies

Las mariposas de Sadourní

In this stylized, surrealistic melodrama, a circus dwarf named Sadourni is jailed for a crime of passion. Serving a twenty-year prison sentence, he is faced with a dilemma: to escape and endure life as a fugitive, or to adjust to society's expectations through an extreme physical metamorphosis. The result is utterly captivating.

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Seashore

Beira-Mar

Best friends Martin and Tomaz set out for a weekend together to southern Brazil that will change their relationship forever. For both of them, the brief excursion back to this coastal town where Martin’s family is from becomes a journey into themselves. Seashore is a wander through the borderlands between love and friendship, exploring sexual orientation and personal identity. The outstanding camerawork picks up on the protagonists’ complex emotional states in the same way as the soundtrack captures the roaring of the sea: gentle and powerful in equal measure.

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She Doesn’t Want to Sleep Alone

No quiero dormir sola

Amanda finds her aimless life is altered when she is forced to come to the aid of her alcoholic grandmother. Dolores is a retired actress who lives alone amongst the faded photographs of her past glory. And, as each bottle of whiskey empties, her memory slips further. Until now, Amanda has not had much of a relationship with her grandmother, and she takes on her new role of caretaker reluctantly. The obsessions of a young woman and the eccentricities of an aging one meet head-on in this artfully constructed drama that poignantly questions what it means to grow old.

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Short Films in Competition, Program 1

TAKE THE GUN AND FINISH OFF (Tome la pistola y empiece a despachar)
Mexico, 2015
Spanish with English subtitles / 10 min

Director: Eduardo Sabugal
On the eve of Mexican Independence Day, Evaristo, tired from driving around for hours selling fireworks, stops at a gas station to refuel and have a coffee. At the store, he witnesses an assault.

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Solo

Sergeant Nelson Almada plays lead trumpet in Uruguay’s Air Force band, but lately he has been feeling out of step with his life. At 45 years old, he realizes that the musical aspirations of his youth are in danger of never being fulfilled. A national songwriting contest presents Nelson with the opportunity he has been longing for - to showcase his abilities and achieve his dream of recording his own album. But the highly regimented Air Force allows little flexibility for personal artistic pursuits, and they have other plans for him.

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Solo

Sergeant Nelson Almada plays lead trumpet in Uruguay’s Air Force band, but lately he has been feeling out of step with his life. At 45 years old, he realizes that the musical aspirations of his youth are in danger of never being fulfilled. A national songwriting contest presents Nelson with the opportunity he has been longing for - to showcase his abilities and achieve his dream of recording his own album. But the highly regimented Air Force allows little flexibility for personal artistic pursuits, and they have other plans for him.

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The Crow's Nest

Malacrianza

Brimming with gentle humour and a dogged sense of the strength of community during hard times, Salvadoran director Arturo Menéndez’s charming feature debut is a character study of a simple piñata salesman named Don Cleo whose life is turned upside down when he falls victim to an extortionist he can’t possibly afford to pay. The harder he tries to raise the funds, the deeper into trouble he gets. If Don Cleo hopes to survive, he'll have to face his fears and stand up to his tormentors.

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The Dance of Reality

La danza de la realidad

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s first movie in 23 years is a full-throttle return to form for the mad maestro of El Topo and The Holy Mountain, now an octogenarian. A semi-autobiographical, semi-fantasized coming-of-age tale reminiscent of Fellini’s Amarcord, the film is set in 1930s Chile, where a little boy named Alejandro grows up, unhappily, under a stern, domineering father and a statuesque, operatically-emotive mother. The Dance of Reality may be Jodorowsky’s most coherent, grounded, and personal film ever.

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The Future - Manuela Martelli In Person

Il futuro

When the car accident happens, Bianca is just starting to smoke and Tomas is still a virgin. The two siblings are left alone, two orphans adrift in the faded splendor of Rome. Life loses its shape as they get lost in the back alleys of adulthood, until Bianca encounters Maciste, a retired Mr. Universe, and enters his dark mansion in search of a future. This exquisitely photographed film captures all the rich colours of grief and the uncertainty of youth.

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The Hamsters

Los Hámsters

Rodolfo and Beatriz are the parents of teenagers Jessica and Juan. Together they form a perfect dysfunctional family. Rodolfo leaves for work every morning, but actually he’s unemployed. Beatriz, worrying that she is looking older, has a flirtation with her buff gym trainer. Jessica finds herself in a love triangle with her boyfriend and her best friend. And, Juan’s girlfriend has a little surprise for him. This is the life of an ordinary middle-class family in Tijuana. While living under the same roof, they scurry about their days, trying to hide their secrets from one another.

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The Last Elvis

El ultimo Elvis

If you are already an Elvis fan, you will identify strongly with the intrigue and pathos of this film. If you are not an Elvis fan, you may just find yourself converted. The far-reaching legacy and fanatic passion of this musical legend born in Mississippi in 1935 is wondrously depicted in Armando Bo's first feature film.

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The Last Elvis

El ultimo Elvis

If you are already an Elvis fan, you will identify strongly with the intrigue and pathos of this film. If you are not an Elvis fan, you may just find yourself converted. The far-reaching legacy and fanatic passion of this musical legend born in Mississippi in 1935 is wondrously depicted in Armando Bo's first feature film.

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The Last Station

La última estación

“Good morning, grandmas and grandpas. Today I want to share with you the sounds I recorded on a rainy day,” says the radio announcer, the residents of Father Hurtado’s nursing home listening quietly to the daily broadcast. They wait patiently to hear news of those who have passed away, like a tired passenger awaits the arrival of the last train. Poetic and deeply human, The Last Station is an insightful portrait of life in a Chilean nursing home, where residents embark with determination upon their every chore.

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The Last Supper

La última cena

During the late 18th century in Cuba, a Spanish count and owner of a sugar mill decides to hold a dinner during Holy Week with twelve of his slaves as an allegory of Jesus with his twelve apostles at the Last Supper. When racial inferiority is predicated as “God’s will” and exploitation exceeds what the human soul can bare, a slave uprising threatens the fate of the sugar plantation. 

With this fictional story, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, one of Cuba’s most renowned directors, presents how religion and politics naturalized the crimes and abuses inherent in slavery.

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The Last Supper

La última cena

During the late 18th century in Cuba, a Spanish count and owner of a sugar mill decides to hold a dinner during Holy Week with twelve of his slaves as an allegory of Jesus with his twelve apostles at the Last Supper. When racial inferiority is predicated as “God’s will” and exploitation exceeds what the human soul can bare, a slave uprising threatens the fate of the sugar plantation. 

With this fictional story, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, one of Cuba’s most renowned directors, presents how religion and politics naturalized the crimes and abuses inherent in slavery.

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The Madness Among Us + One Key

O Loucura Entre Nós

What defines us as normal? The Madness Among Us delves into the life inside a psychiatric hospital and its adjacent outpatient resource centre in Brazil, depicting the stories and lives of its characters, some of whom vacillate between living on their own and being institutionalized, between “sanity” and “insanity,” revealing the boundaries of what is considered sane.

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The Militant

El lugar del hijo

Uruguay 2002. Amidst nationwide strikes, Ariel, a student activist in Montevideo is informed of his father’s death. He returns to his hometown of Salto to attend the funeral. His father’s notary soon informs Ariel of his inheritance: an old dog, a house taken over by his father’s lover and a cattle ranch where the workers haven’t been paid in six months. Ariel is thrust into an unwelcome adulthood, and to escape becomes involved with the local student activist group. One of the great strengths of the film is the mesmerizing performance by Felipe Dieste.

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The Naked Room

El cuarto desnudo

The Naked Room shows a whole world without leaving a single space: the examination room in the psychiatric wing of a Mexico City children’s hospital. Here the traumas and nightmares of a generation of Mexican youth are revealed in all their painful reality. The youth suffer from issues including severe depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder from assault and more. Many of the children in the film pose a danger to themselves or others; and the care they receive in this office may be their last hope.

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The Palace

El palacio

The Palace follows the everyday life of seventeen women who live together in Mexico, sharing a large house for both emotional and financial reasons. They help each other train for various jobs as nannies, domestic workers and private nurses for elderly patients. Intimate and observational, the film is beautifully shot in a palette of muted blues and greys. Its pace reflects the pace of these women’s lives, vacillating between tedium and profundity. The Palace is an important addition to the oeuvre of one of Canada and Mexico’s most prolific avant-garde filmmakers.

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The Pawn + Silent Screams

La prenda

Inspiring and haunting, The Pawn is a testament to strength and commitment in the face of adversity. On Kelly Díaz Reyes's 15th birthday, she shone at her quinceañera; but only two years later she was kidnapped, raped and killed. Her cousin Karin Gramajo became a lawyer in reaction to the terrible crime, and along with victim’s families, continues to fight valiantly for justice in Guatemala, a country with a rate of impunity of 98%. Astrid Elías Macario—kidnapped at 14—survived.

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The Quispe Girls

Las niñas Quispe

Based on a true story that occurred in 1974, The Quispe Girls is the tale of three Coya sisters, Justa, Lucía and Luciana Quispe, who live on the rugged, isolated slopes of the Chilean Altiplano. They live an intimate and solitary existence as goatherders, with minimal contact with the outside world. The recent death of a fourth sister and hushed whisperings from the south of a brutal new political regime, force the sisters into an existential quest that will threaten their entire way of life. An exquisite and haunting meditation on the profundity of loss.

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The Way He Looks

Hoje eu quero voltar sozinho

Leo is a teenager like any other, grappling with his first feelings of sexual attraction while trying to wrestle a bit more independence from his over-protective parents. The only difference is that he is blind. To the disappointment of Giovana, his best friend since childhood, he can’t wait to leave home and go on a study abroad program. But when the new student Gabriel arrives in class, a whole new world suddenly opens up right in front of him.

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The Way He Looks - Brazilian Gala

Hoje eu quero voltar sozinho

Leo is a teenager like any other, grappling with his first feelings of sexual attraction while trying to wrestle a bit more independence from his over-protective parents. The only difference is that he is blind. To the disappointment of Giovana, his best friend since childhood, he can’t wait to leave home and go on a study abroad program. But when the new student Gabriel arrives in class, a whole new world suddenly opens up right in front of him.

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To Kill A Man

Matar a un hombre

How far will you go to protect your family? Jorge is a peaceful, hard-working man who seeks a simple, quiet life for himself and his family. One day, he is mugged and humiliated by a gang of thugs led by Kalule, a delinquent from his neighbourhood. This event infuriates his son as much for Jorge’s meek acceptance as for the act itself. The son, looking for retribution, ends up getting himself shot. Kalule is sent to jail and when he gets out 18 months later, begins a campaign of terror against Jorge and his family.

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Viaje + The Last Time I Saw You

After meeting at a party, Luciana and Pedro... embark on a spur of the moment journey together that takes them to the forest. As they explore the beauty in the nature that surrounds them, they camp out under the stars, go on hikes, indulge in the passions of their encounter, and discuss their personal beliefs surrounding love, obligations, and attraction.

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Wandering Lives

Vidas errantes

Drawing on personal experiences, de la Riva follows an itinerant movie projectionist who travels along the mountain back-roads in a battered truck, showing classic movies to lumberjacks off the tailgate. Camping, sleeping on old film posters in cheap hotels, Francisco’s life is rootless. A younger vagabond becomes his helper, then a pretty young woman becomes their companion. Along with a backwoods carpenter, the two young people help Francisco attempt to realize an elusive dream—to settle in his hometown, build his own theatre and show his cherished movies. Michael Donnelly

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Wandering Lives

Vidas errantes

Drawing on personal experiences, de la Riva follows an itinerant movie projectionist who travels along the mountain back-roads in a battered truck, showing classic movies to lumberjacks off the tailgate. Camping, sleeping on old film posters in cheap hotels, Francisco’s life is rootless. A younger vagabond becomes his helper, then a pretty young woman becomes their companion. Along with a backwoods carpenter, the two young people help Francisco attempt to realize an elusive dream—to settle in his hometown, build his own theatre and show his cherished movies. Michael Donnelly

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We are Mari Pepa

Somos Mari Pepa

Alex, a 16-year-old teenager who lives with his grandmother in Guadalajara, has various plans for the summer: writing a new song with his punk rock band, finding a job and having his first sexual experience. He has also become aware that his grandmother is starting to become increasingly dependent on him. As summer draws on, Alex realizes that things are going to change forever and that he will have to grow up and learn to say goodbye.

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We Were There

Sur nos traces | Punto de partida

Priests. Revolutionaries. Grandpas. In 1965, six young Spanish priests arrive in Bolivia as missionaries. Somewhat rebellious and anti-conformist, they think they will change mentalities. But they soon find that they will be the ones to be changed. Witnesses to historic Latin American social movements, they cannot help but become involved; they rub shoulders with Che Guevara’s guerrilleros, hide weapons, shelter wounded men. Kicked out of the country, expelled by the Church, eventually they end up having to disband.

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Who is Dayani Cristal?

Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? And who–or–what is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and return an identity to this anonymous person.

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Who is Dayani Cristal?

Deep in the sun-blistered Sonora desert beneath a cicada tree, border police discover a decomposing male body. Lifting a tattered T-shirt, they expose a tattoo that reads “Dayani Cristal.” Who is this person? What brought him here? And who–or–what is Dayani Cristal? Following a team of dedicated staff from the Pima County Morgue in Arizona, director Marc Silver seeks to answer these questions and return an identity to this anonymous person.

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Wooden Town

Pueblo de madera

In this film festival favourite, every day is magical in the tiny logging town of San Miguel de Cruces, Mexico, thanks to director Juan Antonio de la Riva, who captures the rhythms of small-town life through the stories of its inhabitants. From a young couple facing separation as the husband prepares to seek work in the United States to a pair of teens on the cusp of adulthood to the local movie theatre operator struggling to stay open after the introduction of satellite dishes, Pueblo de madera portrays a town—and a people—in transition.

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Wooden Town

Pueblo de madera

In this film festival favourite, every day is magical in the tiny logging town of San Miguel de Cruces, Mexico, thanks to director Juan Antonio de la Riva, who captures the rhythms of small-town life through the stories of its inhabitants. From a young couple facing separation as the husband prepares to seek work in the United States to a pair of teens on the cusp of adulthood to the local movie theatre operator struggling to stay open after the introduction of satellite dishes, Pueblo de madera portrays a town—and a people—in transition.

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Workers

Tijuana is a city of walls, both visible and invisible. Lidia works as a housekeeper for a wealthy woman whose only concern is for her prize pooch Princess. Rafael works as a janitor in a light bulb factory. A meagre retirement looms menacingly in front of each of them. Silently and surreptitiously, they begin a battle: Rafael against a company that seeks to deny him his due and Lidia against the whim of an employer who places a dog’s well-being above her own. A carefully paced, darkly comic and intricately woven story that is both mesmerizing and quietly devastating.

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Yvy Maraey: Land Without Evil

Yvy Maraey: Tierra sin mal

Using as a starting point a 1911 ethnographic film by Swedish explorer Erland Nordenskiöld, a Bolivian filmmaker and a Guaraní guide travel together through the forests of southeastern Bolivia with the intention of making a film about the Guaraní people. Each man creates and interprets his own character, walking the thin line between documentary, fiction and performance. The journey not only takes them to the interior of the country but to their own inner selves, as they seek to define their identities within a country undergoing enormous social, political and historical change.

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