Latino American film Festival – The ninth edition of the Latin American Film Festival is underway at the Cinema du Parc (3575 Park Ave.). The festival started April 6 and continues until Sunday, April 15. The opening movie was “Chavela” directed by Catherine Gund and Daresha Kyi (in Spanish with English subtitles). This movie will be screened again Saturday, April 7, at 5 p.m., and is described as “a biopic about Chavela Vargas, one of the most famous Mexican singers of all times.”
The other titles included in this festival are, “El Inca” the story of real-life professional boxer Edwin “El Inca” Valero, directed by Ignacio Castillo Cottin (Venezuela, in Spanish with English subtitles),”Kiki, Love to Love” by Paco Leon (Spain, EST), “El pastor” (“The Shepherd”) by Jonathan Cenzual Burley (Spain, EST), “Retrieving Paradise” by José Arteaga (Mexico, EST), “Mercedes Sosa: La voix de l’Amérique latine” by Rodrigo H. Vila (Argentina, French subtitles), “Retour à Cuba” by David Fabrega (Cuba-Canada, FST), and the closing film, “Cannabis en Uruguay” by Federica Odriozola (Uruguay, EST and FST). The festival will pay homage to Oscar-winner Mexican director Guillermo del Toro by screening his film “El laberinto del fauno” (with French subtitles). The recent Oscar-winner for best foreign language movie, “Una mujer fantástica” by Sebastian Lelio (Chile, FST) will also be presented.
The following is what Roland Smith, director of the festival, told us in an interview:
Montreal Times: What is the importance of this event for Montreal?
Roland Smith: It is important that Montreal has a Latin American and Iberian film festival. There are fewer and fewer Spanish language films being shown in the province of Quebec, and although this festival doesn’t replace regular runs of films in theatres, it keeps the flame lit.
MT: It is interesting that you’re showing “Cannabis in Uruguay,” as we know, the first country to legalize marijuana. How does this resonate in Canada, preparing to legalize it too?
RS: Uruguay is a small country, it experienced all the same problems we are living now: legal age for consumers, government control and selling, growing it at your residence for your own consumption, cannabis clubs, health authorities in alert… we have to learn from their experience, and we have to see this film to learn what has to be done.
MT: Political films are a significant part of Latin American cinema, this year you present “Retrieving Paradise” by José Arteaga, what’s the relevance of this movie?
RS: By watching this film we learn that the Mexican government and police forces are not really protecting the population and the natives. They are left to defend themselves against drug traffickers.
MT: You will also pay homage to Guillermo del Toro, by showing one of his most emblematic movies, tell us about this.
RS: “El laberinto del fauno” (“Pan’s Labyrinth”) was the latest film he directed in the Spanish language. It is his best film to date; it was important to bring it back to the Montreal audience. Of course, he won the Oscar for best film for “The Shape of Water” and also the best director award for the same film, but it was an American film in English. What is also important is that he is the third Mexican director to win Best Director at the Oscars in four years, this is why we do this homage.
MT: Plans for the future?
RS: For the tenth edition we plan to move the festival into a non-profit company, we are planning a bigger two-week event with many Canadian premieres with their filmmakers present. Thus we need a larger budget, which means getting grants from all levels of governments. We will also hire publicists to bring in sponsors; we never had any of these, it is important to be more competitive with the other Montreal festivals. We are doing well; we will do better with a board of directors in a non-profit organization.
For detailed information about schedules, film descriptions, and ticket prices, visit www.cinemaduparc.com/en/fclm