VLAFF: 8th Vancouver Latin American Film Festival

23/09/2010 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment


8th Vancouver Latin American Film Festival

After 11 days showcasing the best of Latin American cinema, the 8th edition of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (VLAFF) closed on Sunday with the screening of award winning film Rabia by Colombian director, Sebastian Cordero.
After the Closing Gala a party took place at Boss Night Club where revellers danced the night away to the salsa tunes of Wil Campa y Su Gran Unión.
VLAFF is the biggest Latin American Film Festival in Canada and the fourth largest festival in British Columbia. As for 2009 a whopping 7.000 souls have attended the festival, according to VLAFF director and founder, Victor Martinez.
“Our objective is to reach 8.000 [people] during the festival,” Martinez added.

Eight years ago, the VLAFF started out with one ten films and one movie theathre. Nowadays, the VLAFF screens 25 long-feature and 33 short-length films in four theatres. In addition, VLAFF organizes several debates and discussions with filmmakers and people of the industry, as well as workshops and discussion panels that take place during the 11-day festival.
In the opening night, the Granville 7 cinema was a full house. With a facility for 700 seats, few people could be spotted sitting on the floor, which confirms the growing popularity of the festival in Vancouver.
The opening film was The Wind’s Journey (Los viajes del viento) by Colombian director, Ciro Guerra.This film has won several awards including the Award of the City of Roma at Cannes and Best Spanish Language Film at Santa Barbara.
Starring: Colombia
It is a tradition for the VLAFF to highlight a Latin American country; this year the star was Colombia, which was coincidental with its 200th Independence Anniversary.
Even though there are not special considerations to choose a guest country, Colombia was an easy choice given the great quality of its films produced by Colombian filmmakers in the last few years.
“We planned it a year ago, and simply, it was the turn for Colombia to shine with its cinema and coincidentally it is Colombia’s 200-year Independence Day […] and during the last few years we have seen great Colombian movies, so we also took that into consideration,“ Martinez said.

Documental highlights:
The Coca-Cola Case (German Gutierrez and Carmen Garcia): A eye-opening and revealing documental which denounces the world’s most popular soda’s and other transnational corporations’ involvement with the killings of union leaders in order to shut down workers associations with the help of paramilitaries in Colombia.
Gutierrez, who was in town to promote the documental said to Latincouver that the situation for Coca-Cola workers in Colombia has not improved. “Unfortunately the situation is the same […]At least there haven’t been more murders since 2005, but the situation is the same, the persecution is the same.”
What workers seek is  fair salaries and better working conditions, so “they can have a better quality of life,  keep their children, healthy, get education and purchase power.”
For more information on the documental visit: http://www.facebook.com/thecocacolacase
Sins of My Father (Los Pecados de mi Padre) by Nicolas Entel. The Argentinian director teamed up with Sebastian Marroquin, son of  late “drug lord” Juan Pablo Escobar, to tell Escobar’ story from his perspective. The documental conveys a message of peace and reconciliation, and also serves as a cautionary tale on the dangers surrounding the world of drugs.

New initiatives
With the aim to showcase the work of emerging and experienced Latin American filmmakers based in Canada, the VLAFF created the new section, Canada Looks South. It included five short films selected from the Roots contest organized by Radio Canada International.
The VLAFF also had two world premieres this year with Cry of the Andes (Carmen Enríquez and Denis Paquette) and Panopticon (Diego Samper).
Another section dedicated to highlight the musical Latin American tradition through cinema such as Mercedes Sosa, Cantora un viaje intimo (Argentina) by Rodrigo H. Vila; Wondering Heart (“Coracao Vagabundo”) – Brazil. Director: Fernando Grostein; HAVANYORK – Mexico. Director: Luciano Larobina; Simonal, No One Knows How Tough It Was (“Simonal, ninguem sabe o duro que dei”). Directors: Claudio Manoel, Calvito Leal, Micael Langer.

Latincouver at the VLAFF
Since its inception in June 2009, Latincouver has been teaming up with different organizations in order to promote and enhance Latin American culture in Vancouver.
“I am proud to be working with the best Latin American film festival in Canada where we can introduce our work to a new public and thus achieve our mission: to let know people how rich is the Latin American patrimony and culture,” Latincouver director, Paola Murillo said. This year Latincouver sponsored  Panopticon by Colombian-born, BC based photographer , Diego Samper.
The film is crafted with several photographs that Samper took during a visit in 2003 to a 120-year-old jail facility that housed political and criminal prisoners in Colombia. The prison’s design was inspired by a British surveillance architectural concept called Panopticon.
This 30-minute digital animated, surreal flick  captures the prison’s walls as a gigantic canvas where inmates were able to pour their emotions with unleashed freedom in a confined place under the impious surveillance of a Big Brother.   Panopticon is Samper’s first venture into motion picture.

“I must extend my congratulations to VLAFF’s staff and especially the volunteers. They have been very committed during the festival and they always seem to enjoy what they do. It showed in their smiles,” Murillo added.
For more information on the VLAFF and its initiatives, visit: http://www.vlaff.org

Source:  Pamela Grcic

Entry filed under: DOCUMENTARIES, FILM FESTIVALS, LATIN AMERICAN FILM, VANCOUVER LATIN AMERICAN FILM FEST. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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