Películas de pride 

A man running through the forest; a woman diving into a swimming pool; a funeral procession.

That’s all I’m able to grasp from watching the two-minute trailer for Matar a Todos as I scan through the CineFestival website for this year’s film lineup.

I’d like to know more about director Esteban Schroeder’s 2007 political thriller, but the preview is in Spanish (with no subtitles), and the only phrase I can recall my bilingual parents inadvertently teaching me growing up was, “¡Ay, como fregas!” (loosely translated as a way to express frustration).

Yes, I am a third-generation Latino living in the U.S. I like football but not fútbol, refer to snow cones as raspas, cringe at the smell of menudo. I can roll my Rs with the best of them, but I don’t know any of the words when my fiancée sings to her Julieta Venegas CDs in the car.

I’m a living, breathing example of an internal culture clash.

Now, with the 31st annual CineFestival upon us, I suddenly realize I can’t relate to most of the issues depicted in the various feature and documentary films scheduled to screen during the four-day event. I don’t know any undocumented immigrants, nor have I ever found myself caught in the middle of a turf war with a rival gang. I recognize the injustices and corruption occurring across Mexico and Latin America, but don’t consider them more or less significant than the same issues encountered in parts of the world where my ancestry doesn’t extend.

Does this mean CineFestival — the oldest running international Latino film festival in North America — is slowly but surely disconnecting itself from Latinos like me? Are Latinos like me so detached from our indigenous roots that we are indifferent to the struggles of past generations? Are Latinos like me tired of watching Latino filmmakers make movies about the border, day laborers, and poverty-stricken third-world countries?

I sincerely hope not.

As a film critic, I credit CineFestival for selecting some high-quality work on a variety of worldly topics that few other U.S.-based film festivals bother to include in their programs. As a Latino, I credit CineFestival for a lot more. For not losing sight of the festival’s primary focus for over three decades; for being receptive to filmmakers from countries such as Chile, Panama, and Uruguay and allowing them to share their unique Latino experiences; and for proving to Latinos like me that as long as we know where we come from, we’ll never lose pride in our culture.

2009 CineFestival Schedule

Guadalupe Theater: Screen 1

Thursday, February 5

9:00 a.m. El Compadre Mendoza, Dir. Juan Bustillo Oro and Fernando de Fuentes, 85 min., Mexico, 1934. Free senior

8:00 p.m. La Zona, Dir. Rodrigo Plá, 97 min., Mexico, 2007. Target Community Night. Free screening.

9:30 p.m. Opening Night Gala Party. Galeria Tonantzin.

Friday, February 6

4:00 p.m. Mun2: Vote 4 UR Future, Dir. Xochitl Dorsey, 45 min., USA, 2008. Free youth screening.

5:30 p.m. Salud, Dir. Cesar de Leon, 94 min., USA, 2009

7:30 p.m. XXY, Dir. Lucia Puenzo, 84 min., Argentina, France, Spain, 2007. Co-Presented by the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

9:30 p.m. Yo Soy Otro, Dir. Oscar Campo, 90 min., Colombia, 2008

Saturday, February 7

9:30 a.m. San Antonio Student Film Showcase

11:30 a.m. Free Discussion:
La Onda Chicana: Tejano Music and Society 1968-2008 Discussion with director John J. Valadez and Flaco Jimenez.

1:15 p.m. La Onda Chicana/The Chicano Wave, Dir. John J. Valadez, 60 min., USA, 2008

3:00 p.m. El Angel del Acordeon, Dir. Maria Camila Lizarazo, 90 min., Colombia, 2008

5:00 p.m. Cortometrajes Mexicanos: The Best of IMCINE

7:00 p.m. Days of Wrath, Dir. Celia Fox, 98 min., USA, 2008. In Person: Wilmer Valderrama.

9:30 p.m. All Inclusive, Dir. Rodrigo Ortuzar Lynch, 93 min., Chile/Mexico, 2008

10:00 p.m. Gala Celebration. Galeria Tonantzin. $10.

Sunday, February 8

11:00 a.m. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Dir. Nicholas Meyer, 113 min., USA, 1982. Ricardo Montalban Tribute Screening.

1:00 p.m. The Garden, Dir. Scott Hamilton Kennedy, 80 min., USA, 2006 (see review, page 29)

3:30 p.m. Yveete, Dir. Rogelio Almeida Marquez, 104 min., USA. 2008

5:30 p.m. Curse of the Lechusa, Dir. Amza Moglan, 90 min., USA, 2008

7:30 p.m. La Milagrosa, Dir. Rafael Lara, 97 min., Colombia, 2007

9:30 p.m. Special Screening

Galeria Tonantzin: Screen 2

Friday, February 6

3:30 p.m. Queer y Que! Curated Shorts, Co-Presented by the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center

6:00 p.m. Los Soneros del Tesechoacan, Dir. Inti Cordera, 76 min., Mexico, 2006

7:30 p.m. Beauty of the Fight, Dir. John Urbano, 69 min., USA/Panama, 2008 (see review, page 28)

9:30 p.m. Reception/Party

Saturday, February 7

10:30 a.m. New World Onda 1: International Short Films

1:00 p.m. New World Onda 2: American Short Films

3:00 p.m. Taste of Texas Short Film Showcase

5:00 p.m. La Americana, Dir. Nicholas Bruckmann and John Mattiuzzi, 65 min., USA/Bolivia, 2008

9:00 p.m. Gala Celebration. Galeria Tonantzin. $10.

Sunday, February 8

10:00 a.m. Casa Libre/Freedom House, Dir. Roberto Oregel, 56 min., USA, 2008

11:30 a.m. Bracero Stories, Dir. Patrick Mullins, 56 min., USA 2008

1:00 p.m. New World Onda 3: Documentary Shorts

2:30 p.m. 13 Pueblos en defensa de la tierra, el agua y el aire, Dir. Francesco Taboada Tabone, 60 min., Mexico, 2008

3:45 p.m. Idaho’s Forgotten War, Dir. Sonya Rosario, 75 min., USA, 2008

5:30 p.m. The Holes in the Door, Dir. Alan Dominguez, 67 min., USA, 2008

See for more info



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