I’m sad to miss out on all the sexy, steamy fun that will be popping at the 13th New York International Latino Film Festival this week, starting with tonight’s official Opening Night screening of Filly Brown starring Miss Thang Gina Rodriguez. However I’ve been invited to be on the shorts jury for the Monterrey Film Festival so I leave for Mexico mañana (look forward to my dispatch from el otro lado). To all my NY Dominicanos, Cubanos, Boriquas and Chicanitas les mando mushos besos. But not to worry, I wouldn’t leave you hanging without a quickie. Let me give you the scoop on how to proceed amid NYILFF’s multi-culti flavorful spread of this year’s freshest new films. I don’t include typical loglines as much as words that pop into my head to describe the visceral experience. Click on the titles for synopsis and ticket info.
And now, here is my top five CAN-NOT-MISS list at this year’s New York International Latino Film Festival. Your welcome.
1. The Girl is in Trouble, w/d – Julius Onah (World Premiere) A pulsating at times frenetic, breathless city adventure a la french new wave thriller with a thugged out Valderrama who actually displays chops with an angelic and barbaric side to his swaggering performance. This film is an explosive burst of energy, even when the pace takes a breather its story speed keeps trucking and keeps it cinematic by utilizing all the canons of visual play into a story that you get swept up in. I couldn’t find a trailer online so just trust. It’s fresh.
2. Love, Concord, w/d – Gustavo Guardado (World Premiere). I profiled this charming high school rom com earlier this Spring so I’m especially excited that this baby is being delivered to the NYILFF audiences. It succeeds where so many other films of this genre fail and that is portraying the MOMENT back in high school, and unbelievably its so goddamn charming and cute without the heavy and sweet empty calories.
3. Los Chidos, w/d Omar Rodriguez Lopez. The most wildest, fierce and singular voice out there right now. I love talking about this highly provocative and polarizing movie and all its unbridled uncouthness that underlines such themes like the male psyche/ego, exploitation, religion, stereotypes all under the guise of a TJ trip gone wrong. This savage satire from my boy Omar has terrified some people since its premiere at SXSW. I can’t wait to screen it in LA at the Downtown Independent.
4. Waiting for the Beatles -Diego Graue, Raymundo Marmolejo. I’m sorry to say bu the trailer below does not do the documentary justice. Its even a much more jubilant and uncanny tribute to hundreds of Beatle cover bands and Beatlemania in Mexico. This one’s for bringing the whole fan. Ever since it premiered at my favorite fest, The Morelia Film Festival last October I’ve had a special place in my heart for it. I love the intro, ”In 1969 Mexico waited for the Beatles to come. Nearly 30 years later they are still waiting”.
5. Elliot Loves, w/d – Gary Terracino Yes, I know this bad boy has been getting around. But its been getting down in the festival circuit for a reason y’all. This simultaneous childhood and adult coming of ager of the eponymous incorrigible, hopeless in love but tough as nails Dominican in NY is utterly romantic and down and dirty real. Never in my life have I seen gay cholos portrayed so candidly, raw and honest. Never. Breaking archetypes and flipping the script.
Other tips. Something says Sold Out? Try Stand-by line, I bet you get in. None of these features grab you? You can never go wrong with a shorts program. Lastly, if you got a steady job, invest in a festival badge and support the Festival. $200 gets you access to any movie and the lounge and its the cheapest inclusive pass I’ve seen on the Festival block.