Flanders Latin American Film Festival

25/11/2009 at 5:06 pm

First Latin American Film Festival of Flanders

From the 7th of November onwards, both Leuven and Antwerp’s studios for alternative cinema were blown over for a whole week by the first Latin American Film festival of Flanders – Festival de cine latinoamericano de Flandes. The first we say, for never before existed a festival of the like in Belgium, though Latin American cinema has ever been popular there.

The organization of Realidad Latina, an initiative in hands of Andrés Lübbert, Daiana Victoria and Marie-Hélène Deploige, spotted this missing link between Latino-lovers and the offering of movies of their favorite continent. Thus they presented us for the first time an amusing type of Latin ambient, as the film festival knew itself being combined with Cuban dance-parties, Capoeira and latin guitar– shows and free cocktail-offerings, being a great plunge into the Latin world.

We were shown various themes and types of movies, from documentaries on, over short movies, to real acknowledged motion pictures.

One of these motion pictures worth mentioning is the Belgian – Peruvian cooperation of ‘Altiplano’, in avant-première on the festival, as it would only be shown in cinemas from The 25th of November onwards. On the evening in which the movie was shown, the co-director Peter Brosens told us in a very enthusiastic atmosphere they had just won the prize for European movies on the festival of Virton, “a very small city in the French-speaking part of Belgium, but still housing the second most important film festival of this country”. This even on top of being nominated for the competitions in the film festivals of Gent, Bangkok and Cannes. It results us unnecessary thus mentioning them of being on a high level of motion picture.

When the festival was officially opened then, on Wednesday the 10th of November, it was slowly but surely turning into an over-populated enthusiastic second home for many of the onlookers.

Many faces returned daily, playing die-hards in presence on the festival, though the scheme was very intense as the movies followed each other rapidly.

Many of the creations were introduced and discussed by their makers, which made the whole a very interesting bit. Not only were we thus overblown by an offering of insight into the Latin world entirely, we also learned about the intentions and practices of the creators themselves. Very proudly did the man in charge of all the interviews and movie-settings of the festival – the director and president of vzw Realidad Latina Andrés Lübbert – welcome us to his ‘baby’, as he told us in a nervous way. Clearly, this festival was driven by volunteers, as was the use of the chambers of Leuven’s Studio’s, which are nearly bankrupted and dying a slow death.

As the festival continued, it became overtly clear this cinema-hall cannot slowly die out of the scene of Leuven’s recreation, for it houses great characters and potential. At the point of the Latin American Film festival, both ‘Rode Hond’ – a festival for families, young and old – and the Holebi (LGBT, red.) Film festival took place simultaneously as well in these cinema chambers, showing us a variety of public and themes and proving they can handle great popularity and a combination of various festivals.

At some points during the Latin-American movies shown, it even appeared to us we ended up in the Holebi-film festival, while various Latin themes consider this grand subject in their pictures, as for instance did the Brazilian ‘Café com leite’ (‘You, Me and Him’).

Overall, the festival knew a great crowd to show their creations to. Not only did they install themselves on the big screen of the Studio’s in Leuven, the cultural café La Goyita also took a part in the whole of the festival. This lovely little bistro made room for a screen, and showed us documentaries in a very comfortable way, over lunch or a drink on the house. The festival concluded in the international home of Leuven, Pangaea, where five new and free documentaries were being shown, one of which ultimately a winner in the competition of documentales, documentaries (‘Santiago tiene una pena’).

All in all, the festival was a very intense, cultural and cinematic experience.

For more information on the movies noted and shown on the festival, take a look on http://latinofilmfestival.be


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