New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema is brand new venture
More than 20 feature films and documentaries from Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the Caribbean (not counting a bunch of short films from Cuba), will be screened between Saturday and Sept. 26 in the first annual New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema.
If that sounds like the Providence Latin American Film Festival which has been showing feature films from Spain, Portugal, Latin America and Cuba for the past 17 years, sorry for the confusion. PLAFF will be held this year for four days beginning Sept. 30, begging the question of whether two Latin American film festivals can survive in a city the size of Providence. Miami, after all, has only one!
And although Jose Torrealba, executive director of the Ibero American fest, was the executive director of PLAFF for several years, he wants to make it clear that this is a new venture.
For one thing, Torrealba stresses the “New England” part of the Ibero American festival’s title, because there also will be screenings at Yale University in New Haven and at the Harvard Film Archives in Cambridge. And although Torrealba works at the Watson Institute for International Studies on the Brown campus, only a few of the films and panel discussions will take place at Brown. Most films have been scheduled for the Avon and Cable Car cinemas in hopes of making the festival more accessible to the general public and not too academic.
A good example is the opening night film, Spanish director Daniel Monzon’s “Cell 211” which is about a man trying to survive after being caught in the middle of a prison riot. A blockbuster hit in Spain, Torrealba calls it “a good balance of the commercial with a story that has something to say.”
Most of the films in the festival aspire to that dual goal. They include “Our Beloved Month of August” (11 a.m. Sept. 19 at the Cable Car), a Portuguese film about the romantic entanglements of a family of dance hall musicians; “Paradise” (8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Avon and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Cable Car), a Colombian film about a group of friends who meet at the grave of a pal murdered by a rival gang; “Northless” (8:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Avon and 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Cable Car), a Mexican film about a man who has mixed feelings about crossing the border into the United States; “Undertow” (8:30 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Avon), a Peruvian film about a married fisherman unhinged by his homosexual secret life. Torrealba had misgivings about “Undertow” because of its sketchy continuity, but put it in because it is a crowd pleaser that has won audience awards at many film festivals. There also are social documentaries and a series of short films from South America and Cuba.
Many directors of the films will attend, although the Spaniards are staying home because their important San Sebastian Film Festival is taking place at the same time. Seven narrative features will be vying for a $5,000 best film award and there also will be $1,000 prizes for the best documentary and best short.
Torrealba said he has been working on the festival since the end of last year, but even so he only found out two weeks ago that the Cuban film “Horn of Plenty” would be available as the closing night attraction.
All films will have English subtitles.
Entry filed under: FILM FESTIVALS, IN SPANISH..., LATIN AMERICAN FILM. Tags: “Cell 211”, “Horn of Plenty”, “Northless”, “Our Beloved Month of August”, “Paradise”, “Undertow”, cine latino, cine latinoamericano, Daniel Monzón, Jose Torrealba, Latam film, latin america film, New England Festival of Ibero American Cinema, PLAFF.