Just a few days away from Cinema Tropical's "Best Latin American Films of the Decade" series at the IFC Center -- an estimable program featuring some of my own personal faves ("The Headless Woman," "The Holy Girl," "La Cienaga," "Silent Light," and "Y Tu Mama Tambien") -- Carlos Gutierrez, co-founding director of Cinema Tropical, has sent an email plea for help.
"For the past decade, we've always scrambled to find the resources we need to fulfill our mission," he writes. "It has, at times, been quite a struggle."
"We've never asked like this before, but we are asking now for some show of support from our audience."
According to the email, Gutierrez needs donations to prove that the organization doesn't need to rely "on any one source of funds," and "we’ll be better positioned to request funding from public and corporate donors and foundations if we can demonstrate that we have a large and involved audience."
The call for help comes at a bittersweet moment for the organization. As the series shows, Latin American cinema has shown leaps and bounds in terms of cinematic artistry over the last several years, creating some of the best films of the decade period, but audiences for foreign-language cinema is erratic, at best, always leaning towards the most commercial titles.
Available on Cinema Tropical's website is the complete list of the 124 films representing 14 Latin American countries that were nominated for the distinction of being Best of the Decade. Directors Eduardo Coutinho and Pablo Trapero lead the number of slots with 4 films each, though interestingly, none of their entries made the Top Ten.
Donations of $50 to $100 will receive a free poster; $100 to $250 donations will receive the poster as well as a new book celebrating new Latin American cinema; for $250 or more, you'll get the poster, the book, as well as a DVD of the Uruguayan film "Whisky," which was selected as one of the Top Ten.
Click here to donate online.