Cine Las Americas Schedule

<i>La Tropical</i>
La Tropical


Friday, April 12

As Havana's oldest Afro-Cuban music venue, La Tropical is like New York City's Broadway: If musicians can make it there, they can make it anywhere. David Turnley's documentary of the music hall, La Tropical, reveals how race defines Cuban music in ways that are both affirming and damning. (ADD, 7pm) Screening afterward is 25 Watts, a Uruguayan take on three slackers that won the Tiger Award from the Rotterdam Film Festival and Best First Feature Film at the Havana Film Festival. (ADD, 9:30pm)


Saturday, April 13

A Celebration of Emerging Filmmakers: Hip Hop 101

Hip Hop 101 features short films and panels about hip-hop culture and its influences on race and identity. The program runs 1-5pm at the Camacho Activity Center (34 Robert Martinez Jr. St.).

Saturday Cine: Latino Short Films From the U.S.

American short films make up this program, which includes narratives, documentaries, and animated shorts. (MYEC, 2pm)

Coming Back Home: Stories From Vanished Times and Places

This documentary program features two films that examine immigrants' troubled relationships with their left-behind homelands. In the short film "The Apple Is Delicious," a filmmaker tries to understand why his Colombian mother discouraged him from speaking Spanish in public. La Palabra Desenterrada (Haunted Land) tracks a Mayan Indian and a Guatemalan photographer as they return to the site of a massacred village. (MYEC, 4pm)

Latin American Revolutionaries: Changing the Way History Is Written

An exceptional film by Swedish filmmakers Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh, Sacrificio (Sacrifice) uncovers the untold story of the man blamed for the death of Bolivian revolutionary Che Guevara. Ciro Bustos has lived in silence since the day in 1967 when Che was assassinated, thereby ending the dream of a united Latin America. It also marked the beginning of branding Bustos a traitor to the cause. As the filmmakers urge Bustos to tell his side of the story, and as details of Che's life and death long taken as fact are shown to be to faulty, the larger question of who or what determines how truth and history are made become startlingly clear. Sacrificio is preceded by the award-winning short documentary "Los Zapatos de Zapata" ("Zapata's Path"), in which myth and reality come together to create a new portrait of Mexican revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata. (ADD, 7pm)

Screening later in the evening is Ivan Acostas' documentary, How to Create a Rumba. Chico O'Farrill, Juan Pablo Torres, Horacio "El Negro" Mendez, Malena Burke, and a host of other musicians discuss the roots of Cuban rhythms from the mambo, the bolero, cha-cha-cha, the abakua (or salsa), and of course, the rumba. (ADD, 9:30pm)

Gay Latinos in the U.S.

Previously screened by aGLIFF in January, De Colores is a multilayered discussion on how religion, family and parental expectations, homophobia, and sexism (i.e., "machismo") impact coming out for Latinos. The film is preceded by the short fiction film, "Everything in Between." (TEX, 7pm)

Visions of Progress, Developing Stories

Two documentaries explore countries struggling for a modern identity. Indigent Brazilians search for dignity in "Strong Roots," about the Landless Workers Movement, while "Chasing Paradise" examines the paradox of Jamaica as a tropical paradise in the face of extreme poverty. (TEX, 9:30pm)


Sunday, April 14

Indigenous Film in Mexico

The Chiapan town of San Pedro Chanalhó struggles to keep the peace between the PRI (ruling political party) and the Zapatistas in Chenalhó, el Corazon de los Altos (Chenalhó, Heart of the Highlands). It's followed by another documentary, Voces de la Sierra Tarahumara (Voices of the Tarahumara). Trapped between the "progress" of NAFTA, a World Bank Forestry project that is tearing down the oldest forests in the Sierra Madres, and drug traffickers that promise death if cooperation is not offered, a group of indigenous leaders decide to take action. (TEX, 7pm)

Strange Love and the Identity of Melodrama (Brazilian Film Night)

A birthday cake, three frustrated adults, and an apartment in Rio come together in "Bolo" ("Cake"), a short feature directed by Luisa Dantas. Brazilian Film Night concludes with A Negação do Brasil (Denying Brazil), in which Black actors and others discuss images of blackness in Brazilian television. (TEX, 9:30pm)


Monday, April 15

Workers at Work

Headlining this program is A Day's Work, A Day's Pay, which charts the personal and political evolution of three New York City welfare recipients during the largest overhaul of the welfare system ever. (TEX, 7pm)

Immigrant Tales and Memories

"El Silencio del Amanecer" ("Silent Dawn"), about the personal journey of a Salvadoran woman who escapes with her child to the U.S., opens the "Immigrant Tales and Memories" program, followed by "A Piece of the Earth," a charming and funny short feature about 101-year-old Don Aurelio. A former Mexican revolutionary, Aurelio's dying wish is to be buried where he was born and with his beloved wife in Palo Verdes. To please the feisty old man, his grandsons drive him with coffin in tow to his final resting place. Unfortunately, the land of their grandfather's youth is now part of a California suburb. Since it's too late to turn back, Don Aurelio forces his grandsons to follow through with their promise. The evening concludes with "Porvenir" ("Future"), about a vibrant community on the banks of Colombia's Magdalena River that thrives in spite of poverty and ecological decay. (TEX, 9:30pm)

Discovering Identity: Latino Teens in the U.S.

Winner of the Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature at the South by Southwest 2002 Film Festival, Escuela (School) is filmmaker Hannah Weyer's second film featuring the Luis family. Weyer followed migrant farm worker Liliana Luis during her first year of high school, documenting the challenges she and other migrant farm worker students face in an educational system ill equipped to meet their needs. (TEX, 7pm) Also playing are Juvenile, about four teens in the San Francisco Bay Area (TEX, 7pm), and One Dollar, a deeply disturbing documentary about Panama City street life, where a dollar can buy cigarettes, drugs, and death. (TEX, 9:30pm)


Tuesday, April 16

Latinas: Myth and Reality

A highly visual coming-of-age story set in 1950s San Antonio, "White Like the Moon" talks about the unspeakable: skin color, class, and the desire to fit in. When her mother insists she bleach her skin, 13-year-old Nita is painfully forced to accept that beauty may be skin-deep, but the attitudes that shape opinions of beauty and acceptance can cut to the soul. (MYEC, 7pm) Filling out the program are three more short films and the documentary feature Testimony: The Maria Guardado Story, in which a Salvadorian woman who survived torture during her nation's civil war shares her story of escape to the United States and her poignant return to her homeland. (MYEC, 9:30pm)


Wednesday, April 17

U.S. Navy Test Grounds in Puerto Rico: A People's View

"Cuando lo Pequeño se Hace Grande" ("When the Small Becomes Large"): The Puerto Rican protests against U.S. Navy exercises on the island of Vieques in the wake of protest leader David Sanes' death in 1999. (MYEC, 7pm)

Vieques, Microcosmos de una Nación (Vieques, A Microcosm of a Nation): More on the Vieques struggle and its history. (MYEC, 7pm)

La Tropical: See Friday, April 12, above. (MYEC, 9:30pm)


Thursday, April 18

Joshua Gee Alafia's Cubamor mixes love, mysticism, and kismet in modern-day Havana. (MYEC, 7pm)

Contemporary Mexican Shorts and Animation

This short films program includes "El Ojo en la Nuca" ("The Eye on the Nave"), about a young man who challenges his father's executioner to a duel, and the animated border narrative "Un Brinco Pa'alla" ("A Jump to the Other Side"). (MYEC, 9:30pm)


Friday, April 19

Life and Death in Havana

Two feature documentaries, How to Create a Rumba (ADD, 7pm), and Salsa Caliente, about salsa and sweaty dancers in Dallas (ADD, 9:30pm), are bookended by several Havana-themed shorts.


Saturday, April 20

Cuban American Filmmakers

Making its second appearance at Cine las Americas, Juan Carlos Zaldivar's experimental fairy tale, "The Story of the Red Rose," explores love, obsession, and the first red rose. Screening afterward is Zalvidar's feature-length documentary 90 Miles, the personal story of the filmmaker's exile from Cuba at age 13 and the emotional toll the journey took on his family. (ADD, 7pm)

Texas Filmmakers

"The Late Show": The offstage life of a comedian as he struggles to stay fresh for his last show of the night. (ADD, 9:30pm)

"Chancla": A few days in the life of Austin's comedy duo. (ADD, 9:30pm)

Pachanga Punchlines: Party tales, Rio Grande style. Directed by Gustavo Aguilar and Tony Garza Jr. (ADD, 9:30pm)

"Abuela's House": A young man shares a seemingly quiet afternoon with his grandmother, and unexpectedly confronts life's big themes. (MYEC, 7pm)

Edcouch-Elsa: Six teens on the South Texas border share their Mexican-American experience. (MYEC, 7pm)


Sunday, April 21

In conjunction with ALMA, Cine las Americas has produced a new series, Sonidos del Barrios, featuring the music of Austin's vibrant Latino music scene. Grupo Fantasma is the subject of Sunday's Sonidos profile. end story
  • More of the Story

  • Been Around the World

    Cine las Americas enters its fifth year as the premier festival of Latino filmmaking … only they're not calling it "Latino" anymore.

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