Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival Round Up

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I try to stay plugged into the local Philly Film Scene, but it's easy to get caught up in the new box office releases and miss some good stuff going on around me. I did make it to a couple of XPN Music Film Film Festival (click for post) screenings and events, but I completely dropped the ball when it came to Cinedelphia's Film Festival. Thanks to T & T's new blog contributor Chris "Flood the Drummer" Norris, I did attend opening night of the The Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival (held April 27-28, 2013).

Susan Cherin and Chris Norris

Chris' grandmother is one of the organizers of this festival, now in its sophomore year.  Don't they look cute together!

The opening night film Violeta Se Fue a Los Cielos (Violeta Went To Heaven) Directed by Andrés Wood is a creatively told biopic on the life of Chilean folksinger, artist and activist Violeta Parra, who basically was so driven by her passions, she completely destroyed two marriages and woefully neglected her 3 children. Undeniably, she was a force to be reckoned with, right up until she selfishly committed suicide. Chris's piece below paints Violeta in a much better light; however, we both agreed, it's an organic and noteworthy film.

7 Boxes by filmmakers Juan Carlos Maneglia & Tana Schémbori was a hit! So original! Part crime drama, part crazy farce, part morality tale on the pitfalls of greed and need for fame.

Here's Chris Coverage of FLAFF:

Tony Award Winner Lemon Anderson and Renowned Filmmakers Gloria Moran and Sonia Fritz appear at the 2nd Annual Filadelfia Latin America Film Festival

By Christopher “Flood the Drummer”® Norris

Growing from one feature film to nine, the Filadelfia Latin American Festival (FLAFF) opened its second year this weekend at the International House with a presentation of Filmmaker Gloria Moran’s “The Unique Ladies,” San Diego’s only all women’s lowrider car club. 

The event also featured the Philadelphia Premiere of "Violeta Went to Heaven,” a Sundance winning film that tells the extraordinary story of Violeta Parra, a folksinger and pop culture icon. Expressing the soul of her nation through song and protesting social injustice wherever she saw it, “Violeta Went to Heaven” traces Violeta’s evolution from impoverished child to international sensation to Chile’s national hero, while capturing the swirling intensity of her inner contradictions, fallibilities, and passions. 

With over 15 hours of film being shown during the two day period, the latter being held at Gershman Hall, University of the Arts, FLAFF spotlights the struggle, oppression, marginalization, and hope that are not unique to the Latin American culture, but are present in other cultures as well. 

 A curator, poet, writer and activist, David Acosta has been involved with art and activism in Philadelphia for over a decade. Choosing to focus his efforts on utilizing art to draw attention to social, political, and cultural issues by creating conversations between artist and their communities, Acosta - noticing not only the growth of film being produced out of Latin American countries, but the discrimination the producers faced at cinema houses – saw the need to create an infrastructure that supports the wide ranging artistic endeavors of his people. “We started the Filadelfia Latin American Film Festival because we felt there was a need to showcase the breadth and scope of Latin American cinema, most of which doesn’t get shown in venues and art house cinemas in Philadelphia.” 

 “This year’s program offers an assortment and timely selection of both new and old voices. This year’s line-up goes beyond telling Latin American stories; they narrate the human experience,” said Beatiz Vieira, co-Founder of FLAFF.

Tony Award winning playwright and poet Andrew “Lemon” Andersen, the Brooklyn native that rose to fame as a part of the Broadway cast of “The Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam,” was in attendance for Sunday’s screening of “Lemon.” “Lemon” follows Andersen when he winds up living back in the projects and strives to stage a comeback in the world of Spike Lee and the Public Theater. Lemon’s life personalizes the anguish of men fighting for something more. The film features music by Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Aloe Blacc. (Laura Brownson and Beth Levison/2011/USA/83 min.)

Lemon is working on a new project wherein the blaxploitation character “Dolomite” is placed in Attica during the uprising. The three-time felon and former drug dealer became a victim to his circumstances at a younger age; however, he now fully understands the transformative power of the arts and is part of a movement to bring more Latin American stories to the stage.

Yareli Arizmendi, who was casted in “America” as a nanny, tells Daily News columnist Tirdad Derakhshani that films by Lations continue to be ignored by the Hollywood elite. She goes on to say that the problem isn’t that there’s not enough talent, it’s that there needs to be “more latinos in position of power who can greenlight projects.” 

Renowned Filmmaker Sonia Fritz is responsible for Yareli Arizmendi’s, who’s referred to as “The grand dame of Latin cinema,” return to the big screen in the highly anticipated movie America; also staring Edward James Olmos, Limary Nadal and Yancey Arias. Based on the book by Esmeralda Santiago, America is a story about a young woman (same name) living in Vieques, P.R. during the American Naval occupation of the island. She is constantly physically, sexually and mentally abused by her husband Correa. Determined to change her life and save her child, she decides to move to New York where she will raise money working as a nanny and eventually be able to send for her daughter.
“Her relationship was mirroring the colonial relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. The bombing was happening because of the colonial situation in Puerto Rico. So many people have cancer, the island has been polluted and the fishing is terrible, all because of the military occupation. Even tho they (military) left, there are still life bombs and they haven’t cleaned up as they should do. So in a way, the abuse portrayed in the film was a metaphor for the abuse the island suffered, and still suffers,” explained Fritz.
Award winning Yareli Arizmendi is best known for her tour de force performances in motion pictures such as “Like Water For Chocolate” and “A Day Without a Mexican” which she co-wrote with Director Sergio Arau

After touring Montreal, Morocco, Mexico and Turkey, America will make its first commercial opening on the East Coast debut in Bridgeport, CT., at the Bijou Theater.

Slideshow pics taken during opening reception

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This sizzling hot weekend wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of: The Philadelphia Foundation, The University of the Arts, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, International House Philadelphia, Case de Duende, Leewawy Foundation, Congreso, Health Partners and Bread and Roses.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
Source: TBO Inc®
©2013 All Rights Reserved.
Facebook: /therealTBOInc

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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