Archive | News RSS feed for this section

That’s FANTASTICO! – Submit your genre projects to the 2014 Fantastic Market

5 May ff


El Mercado Fantastico
 is back.  The international co-production market for genre films is putting out a wide alert to find projects made by Latino filmmakers currently in development, pre-production or post.  Finalists will go to Austin during this year’s Fantastic Fest (September 18-25) and be hooked up with potential production partners, sales agents, and distributors.  The market is co-produced with CANANA and El Rey so you know the platform will attract heavyweight investors and partners.

Seize this unique opportunity to fast track your film, and who knows, your film could be distinguished in a future Fantastic Fest program with as many uncouth visual reference icons that fit your crazy film’s themes i.e. Fishhook Violence, Puppet Sex, Pedophilia, Decapitation, Lactation….  You have until May 31’st to submit.Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 10.42.21 PM

Along with accepting classic genre staples like horror, action and fantasy, projects can run the genre gamut and include animation, westerns, dark comedies, sci-fi, basically anything other than your run of the mill drama.  In its second year, the market will select 12-14 projects and new this year, will select four films in post to screen as works in progress.

Machete Kills Fantastic FestSince 2005, Fantastic Fest has nailed its epic niche of being the ultimate festival for a ravenous movie geek audience who embraces the rigorously curated fantastic program. And the international film marketplace has taken note, snapping up rights to several film titles that have screened in the Fantastic Fest program. El Mercado Fantastico feels like a natural step for them to incubate their specialty and sustain their grip on all films fantastic.

Director of Programming Rodney Perkins, along with Festival Director Kristin Bell are and heavily scouting for submissions. They received around 100 submissions last year and Rodney told me that overall, the quality was very high.   Out of the 16 participating projects, a majority were by directors and producers who have had previous films in the festival.   Rodney says they are looking to mix it up with bringing new talent to the surface, but also choosing projects by filmmakers with proven track records in making good movies and the quality of their new projects.

Fantastic Fest Here Comes The Devil

The crew from Mexican film, Here Comes The Devil, winning Best everything in the Horror section in 2012

Rodney commented, “Some of the most interesting genre directors in the world are based out of countries like Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Brazil and Uruguay. Fantastic Fest has featured numerous films from these and other countries. A lot of these talented people don’t get recognized globally, particularly in the U.S. We want to do what we can to help them make films and expose their work to a broader international audience.”

Juan Of The Dead

Cuban Alejandro Brugues, dir. of  Juan of The Dead, whose project, The Wrong Place, won last year’s inaugural market.

é

é

 

Like Rodney says, since its inception, Fantastic Fest has supported and premiered films from Spanish filmmakers like Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes, Open Windows), Eugenio Mira (Agnosia, Grand Piano),  Chileans like Ernesto Diaz Espinosa (Kiltro, Mandrill), Nicolas Lopez (Santos, Aftershock) and Mexicans Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes The Devil), and Jorge Michel Grau (Somos Lo Que Hay), among other filmmakers from all over South America and the Caribbean. 

A number of projects that were in pre-production when they participated in the inaugural market last September are already coming to fruition.  Notably Isaac Ezban’s feature debut El Incidente, produced by Andrea Quiroz (Here Comes the Devil), is completed and will screen at Ventana Sur’s Blood Window showcase at Cannes Marche du Film.  Edgar Nito’s project Tatewari is steadily advancing and recently announced a new associate producer. The team from Uruguayan project Small Town found the producing partners for their film, Dios Local from the market last year. Dios Local is almost complete and is represented for international sales by the French company Elle Driver.

Narco_006

Narco Cultura. Now on Netflix and iTunes

So what are you waiting for?  I know there has got to be more than 100 Latino made genre projects out there.  They aren’t just looking for international Latinos but U.S. native Latinos to represent. At least one of the filmmakers/producers should be some kind of Latino. Get your application together to submit asap.  I was on the documentary jury last year which awarded Best Documentary to Jodorowsky’s Dune and Best Director to Shaul Shwarz for Narco Cultura (Now on Netflix and iTunes) so I know firsthand this festival is a vital film festival.  Plus, there’s really nowhere else you’ll find such sanctioned festival shenanigans like Helicopter Hog Hunting, Filmmaker Shotgun outings, the Schlitz chuggin Award Ceremony rite, Nerd rap, Karaoke and Debates that are settled with a good ol boxing fight.

@FantasticFest

 

AMC Turns on Edward James Olmos’ ‘Water & Power’

19 Mar Featured Image -- 4570

Originally posted on Variety:

Richard Montoya’s “Water & Power,” backed by Edward James Olmos, has set a May 2 launch through the AMC chain.

Olmos came on board last year after seeing the film at the L.A. Latino Festival and approached AMC. The film will open in Los Angeles and several other cities.

“‘Water & Power’ embodies filmmaking quality and artistic value that engages me,” Olmos said.

“Water & Power” bowed on stage in Los Angeles in 2006. Montoya wrote, directed and produced the drama starring Enrique Murciano, Nicholas Gonzalez and Clancy Brown about a California senator who must help his crooked cop brother out of a crime that has backfired on L.A.’s Eastside.

Murciano plays the politician, nicknamed Water, while Gonzalez is the cop, Power.

“For a truly indie film like ours, it’s a lifeline to getting ‘Water and Power’ to the eastside and beyond,” Montoya said. “This is an organic film that…

View original 32 more words

Video

#SXSW2014 Storytelling for Change: Diego Luna on the making of Cesar Chavez

10 Mar

Tonight at 6pm at the Paramount is the North America premiere of Cesar Chavez a film directed by Ambulante co-founder Diego Luna.

Hear his candid thoughts about making the movie with the Chavez family at this morning’s Participant Media panel

REZETA – Mexican feature film wins Special Jury Award at Slamdance

29 Jan t6pvc3-nKR61n30hlX7OZ_aN7s8xVIFnpdMGb6-BqR0

REZETA written and directed by Mexican born but trans-nationally influenced Fernando Frias, was recognized with a Special Jury Award Prize at the 2014 Slamdance Film Festival which celebrated its 20th anniversary last week.  It was the U.S. premiere of the film after its world premiere at the Morelia International Film Festival in 2012.  The story is about an Albanian model named Rezeta (played by the naturally charming Rezeta Veliu) who flies in to Mexico City for a work stint and develops an unlikely relationship with a down to earth, blue collar guy who works construction on set and who doesn’t fall all over her like most men do.  It’s an unexpectedly genuine, credible and revealing take on the opposites attract friendship romance, and one enjoyably surprising in its sympathetic and dimensional portrayal of a jet set beautiful model, who in many ways, her world savvy independent experience and maturity becomes much more of a threat to the men in her life than her looks.  Here’s the trailer.  Read on for my post Park City interview with Fernando – a talented up and coming voice to watch out for.

1. How was your Slamdance experience?  What is something that people might not know about Slamdance?

Slamdance is fucking fantastic. It’s all about filmmaking at its purest form. Slamdance has a very unique stamp. They dare to program great work that defies convention and they help create communities around genuine filmmaking. They have kept loyal to their famous phrase: “For filmmakers by filmmakers” for 20 years now. There’s a lot going on during the festival and still all the staff are extremely friendly and have such great attitudes. People might not know that the festival has been around for that long and that they have discovered people like Christopher Nolan and Lena Dunham, among many other big names.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 1.29.57 AM

Film Still of Rezeta

2. What’s the next script you are working on?
It’s a story about a very particular Mexican kid around Queens. I had one earlier draft that I wrote for a class at school but when I came back to it, I found that it went in a very different direction that what I originally had in mind. The good thing is that after realizing that, I wrote the story in prose as a short story in the voice of my character and I had the great luck to be selected  winner of the  Bengala-UANL award (Nuevo León University). It’s a first edition contest open to all writers, journalist and filmmakers from Mexico and the objective of such a great contest is to find good ideas for scripts and help them throughout their developing stage. After I found out that I won, I got so excited that I completed a new draft in 2 weeks. I am currently revising it in 2 different workshops.
20140120-Slamdance-DSC_01065. What kind of culture do you belong to?
I’d say I belong to the DIY culture but I don’t know how much will that do for an answer. I can tell you that I’m Mexican born and raised in DF with parents who came from opposites sides of town.  I grew up traveling to unknown places because my mother worked for more than 25 years in Airlines, so we had standby tickets and we would go to the airport not really knowing where we were going too. It was cool because we could only fly on low season so I missed school and I wouldn’t know where we were heading until the very last minute… I guess this made an impact on me because all my work ends taking place around cultural differences…
6. What was the most inspiring thing you did or saw in Park City?
I have to say that winning the Jury award  for best narrative film at Slamdance was a huge surprise and really exciting but I also had a blast snowboarding, something that is kind of new to me.
7. What other US Latino filmmaker have you recently discovered or follow?
I discovered Alejandro Fernandez from Chile. I really love his film To Kill A Man which played at Sundance and won a big award. At Slamdance I think I was the only Latino but I might be wrong. As for names, I have to say that this last year I saw two amazing movies from Chile and Brasil: Gloria by Sebastian Leilo and and Neighboring Sounds by Kleber Mendoça. 
1488043_10152194921059511_693439237_n
Fernando is pretty modest.  He’s a Fulbright scholar in NY at Columbia, and his experimental documentary, Calentamiento Local (which means “Local Warming) won the Digital Prize at the Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival known as FICCO in 2009, the penultimate year of the once IT festival.  A highly lyrical, romantic capturing of the symbiotic, magnetic relationship of ethereal beaches and the sensual bodies who traipse and fall in love on them in  Mexico. You can see the full film here.  Fernando has also made some really cool artist portrait commercials for Converse.    
Check out more of Fernando’s work on his vimeo channel
Video

Ambulante California – unveiled at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

20 Jan

Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, co-founders of the traveling documentary film festival, talk about the inception of Ambulante, the power of cinema, and the upcoming launch of Ambulante California. Coming soon September 21 – October 4

@AmbulanteCA

Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam – Looking for Caribbean Island films

22 Dec news_1855

Hola!

curacaocarib

A rich hot mix of African, European and Latin American influences make for a striking unique multi culture and perspective

I know it’s been a while since my last post.  Lots to report on, but I’m jumping on right now because I’m putting out an APB (WANTED) out on Caribbean island feature length films.  I’m so delighted and honored to be Programmer of the Yellow Robin competition at the  Curaçao International Film Festival, taking place April 2 – 6.  I was happy to learn I was recommended by the veteran Latin Film Programmer at the  Toronto International Film Festival, Diana Sanchez (thank you!).  I got the gig after speaking with Rutger Wolfson, director of IFFR and then while at the Morelia Film Festival, I met with Percy Pinedo who leads the program from Curacao.   I was impressed to hear the year round efforts and programming The Cinemas Willemstad has been doing thanks to the support of the Fundashon Bon Intenshon.  The aim of Rotterdam’s Caribbean baby sister is to develop the local audience and spark the filmmaking impulse, and create a meeting point for Caribbean and Latin American film producers.

As a huge fan of Rotterdam’s edgy, discovery programming, I’m so happy to be collaborating with their smart team’s  bold initiative to register the filmmaking voices and people of the Caribbean islands.   This is a region to watch. This year I was excited to watch 4 fiction feature length submissions from the Dominican Republic films for Sundance, each completely distinct from each other.  The Havana Film Festival which 35th edition ended last week, boasted a stronger than ever regional program , including the premieres of Land Without Evil by Juan Carlos Valdivia (from Bolivia), whose last film, Zona Sur played at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010, and Giraffes, a Cuban/Colombian/Panamanian film by Cuban Kiki Alvarez.

130407-Awards-DIG_2755

The audience at Curacao

There is also for instance, The Panama International Film Festival which has solid ties with the Toronto International Film Festival (Diana Sanchez is the Artistic Director) and is taking place from April 3 – 9.   Like Curaco IFFR, it will put on its 3rd edition in 2014.  I heard great things about Panama from Latin Film Market industry friends.   Since 2006 the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival has been earning a name for itself, and it looks like it also has a robust little engine of year round programming to engage the community.   Surely these kind of co-organized visionary festivals are encouraging the slowly increasing trickle of feature length films I’m seeing in submissions.  That said, there is not much film input  from specifically the island region, which makes the viewing process exotic and exhilarating to see such underrepresented culture.  The shortage and inconsistent quality is a challenge towards assembling a worthy, well rounded competition if restricted to only Caribbean islands therefore the competition will also select films from Central & South America, countries near geographically and influence.  For me, there is something so metaphysical about being so naked and vulnerable out in the middle of the sea that shapes the perspectives of these stories.

I’m looking forward to spending my holidays visiting the islands through film.   If you have any recommendations even if they are just the titles without contacts, let me know.  Please share and pass along the link in case someone you know might have some.

Facebook

Twitter

480743_589571667721840_126655900_n5950_586429744702699_712575915_n

LALIFF – Back in Community Effect

11 Oct laliff

2013-10-10 18.35.41Last night was the Opening Night Screening and Gala of the 2013 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival.  Invoking it’s “Sweet Sixteen”, the tradition of celebrating an American Girl’s coming of age is appropriate even if technically, this would have been its 17th year, had it not taken last year’s hiatus. It’s appropriate all the same because this year’s program represents American (Latino) films AND a substantial amount of Latinas driving and depicting these stories.  Newly instated Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti was on hand to give his blessing.  The grandson of Chihuahua, Mexicans, his poetic remarks referring to Los Pobladores (the original mestizo settlers who founded LA in 1781) confirmed the passionate consciousness and respect he has for LA’s history. Edward James Olmos presented the Gabi Lifetime Achievement award to Pablo Ferro, a bohemian whose signature skinny long letters and influential film titles sequences on such films like Dr. Strangelove, Bullet, Russians Are Coming, BeetleJuice, Men In Black among countless others, established an art within the art of cinema’s first impression and tone.

2013-10-10 18.31.13

This is Pablo Ferro

The documentary, Pablo handled by Shoreline Entertainment and directed by Richard Goldgewicht is an animated, whimsical treatment of the life and times of this consummate artist and original hipster.  Folks like Angelica Huston, Andy Garcia, Leonard Maltin praise his genius, and narrated by The Dude, Jeff Bridges gives it an added air of deadpan wit, whose “This is Pablo” narrative  conceit, strikes the tone of the bohemian Cuban born artist.  Wearing his trademark red scarf,  Pablo accepted his award without so many words but no matter, as the audience generously paid enthusiastic homage to one or our own being rightly commemorated.  Also at long last given the deserving (posthumous) commemoration was La Madrina of the festival,  the late great Lupe Ontiveros.  Olmos made a point that even in her passing she changed the course of our community when her painful absence of the In Memoriam at the Oscars galvanized the Latino Academy members to rally and re-examine their presence within the organization.  Olmos’s handsome rugged face, much like Robert Redford, transmits such grit & soul, add to it that wicked Zapata mustache and his Escalante personality that he never got rid of, when he closed by saying It’s time for the community to take charge” his onda was fully registered.

At the party across the street at the Wax Museum where the uncanny real life sized figures freak you out every time you feel you should turn around to introduce yourself  (guests remarked where are my brown wax at!) I got a chance to see many of the US Latino filmmakers with films in the festival.  From Jesse Salmeron and Jeremy Ray Valdez of Dreamer, Richard Montoya of Water & Power.    I got a chance to catch up briefly with one of my esteemed mentors and friends who is also a LALIFF Advisor Sydney Levine of Sydneys Buzz on Indiewire.  She is a treasure trove of insight and knowledge in the international film circuit and I cannot wait for her upcoming comprehensive book focusing on Latin American Cinema.  Maria Agui Carter, NALIP member and filmmaker whose documentary on civil rights soldier Loreta Velazquez, Rebel screens in its full running time on Saturday at 3:10pm (The 52 minute version has been broadcasted on POV).  Maria and I started to get into a passionate chat on women authored and women depicted stories.  I’m pleased to find out there is a panel, Women and girls in Media Panel at 5:30pm today. We agreed that a candid and collaborative discussion needs to be had regarding these so called  female empowered yet still sexually objectified characters (see Sofia Vergara’s ak47 tits in Machete Kills), and on how as women we need to deconstruct our stories in a different way, not so much replace roles men have traditionally had.  Stories doing just that at the festival along with Rebel, are Maestra about Cuba’s National Literacy Campaign, a profile of the women who taught a nation to read and write, by Catherine Murphy. Colombian non-violent revolutionaries, in We Women Warriors by Nicole Karsin.  On the dramatic front there is Nicole Gomez Fisher’s delightful comedy Sleeping with the Fishes and the DIY Venezuelan inspiring guapa/activist/filmmaker/vlogger/mother, Fanny Veliz who has written directed, produced and has been distributing her film Homebound.

laliff-opening4

Eric Garcetti remarking on the flowers the Pobladores seeded 231 years ago

While LALIFF has had and continues to have many organization struggles and challenges, I’ve become so aware that one thing you can never take away from it,  is the powerful sense and network of community.  So many talent pursuing their craft have made connections, collaborated and grown in their careers as a result of hanging out at LALIFF.  Someone should archive these fruitful connections as much as the films that have been shown.   Further proof is the filmmaker who told me last night how he met someone he wants to cast in the film he is working on.

maria

Mi querida amiga Maria Oliva! Documentary filmmaker/photographer and LALIFF’er

My dance card is full this weekend before I head to Mexico on Monday.  I’m in screening crunch mode for Sundance, but I’ll try to run down to the festival at the TLC Chinese 6 theaters when I can to write up another dispatch of films and filmmakers to watch.  If you are in LA please do buy a ticket to support the Latino Film Institute and the next wave of Mas American talent.  As with any festival your best bet for discovering emerging voices is the short film program.  Go watch shorts The Shooting Star Salesman by Kiko Velarde,  Llegar a Ti by Alejandro Torres, The Price we Pay by Jesse Garcia and El Cocodrilo by Steve Acevedo.  Go to http://latinofilm.org/festival/ for full program and check them out on Twitter & Face

Mas Later

#MasAmerican

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,782 other followers

%d bloggers like this: