By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz February 3, 2014 at 4:04PM
Recently during the latest Sundance Film Festival, Ambulante, the non-profit aimed to promote documentary as a tool for social change and cultural transformation, celebrated its upcoming U.S. launch with an Ambulante California reception. Founded by Diego Luna, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Pablo Cruz as part of Canana Films in 2005, this traveling documentary film organization presented two films during the festival Cesar's Last Fast by Richard Ray Perez and Lorena Parlee (Read Carlos Aguilar' Review) and The Measure of All Things by Sam Green and yMusic.
Both Luna and Bernal have had several films played at Sundance in diverse roles as actors, producers, and even directors. Their titles include Who Is Dayani Cristal?, Abel, Sin Nombre, and the breakthrough hit directed by Alfonso Cuaron Y Tu Mama Tambien. "Ambulante was born out of a need to create spaces for cinema in Mexico like those we encountered while traveling to other countries presenting our films" said Diego Lune about the Ambulante initiative. "Throughout the years Sundance has undoubtedly been one of the most significant platforms for me as a filmmaker, and a vital meeting point to connect with the public and artist community. It is a source of inspiration for what we have conceived up until now with Ambulante, and it is very exciting to finally realize our dream of introducing Ambulante California at Park City" concluded the multifaceted Mexican filmmaker.
Executive Director, Elena Fortes said, “We are thrilled to be here representing Ambulante for the first time at the festival. Sundance Institute is the leading champion of supporting urgent non-fiction stories and developing the independent and courageous filmmakers of our time. Through our traveling platform, Ambulante strengthens that shared mission of broadening documentary culture by bringing these films directly to the general public to develop a diverse audience for the non-fiction narrative."
Newly appointed Director of Ambulante California, Christine Davila confirmed the documentary Cesar's Last Fast will be the very first film to be presented at the Ambulante California Film Festival at a special free community screening in Los Angeles in May. "It really could not be more fitting and representative of the programming vision and local context we have in mind for Ambulante California than to inaugurate our California launch with this insightful look at one of our iconic bi-cultural American political leaders.Cesar's Last Fast epitomizes the type of film we deem is crucial to support by bringing it directly to the communities to carve out a space for engagement and the dialogue it sparks. We are looking forward to co-representing the film and creating and inspiring social cinema intervention with the public at large"
Ambulante California is made possible in part through the Ford Foundation. The organization is currently seeking the rest of their funding through their fiscal sponsorship with the International Documentary Association (IDA). Fortes adds, "We are extremely grateful to the Ford Foundation and the IDA for their support in this critical development phase." We also want to thank the Consulate of Mexico in Utah for their support.
The Ambulante California Film Festival tour will run from September 21 to October 4 across the Greater Los Angeles area and each day it will offer a free screening at a different venue, from universities, high schools, and museums, to community centers, parks, and makeshift outdoor spaces. Expanding on Ambulante's global mission, Ambulante California is the first official attempt to establish a long-term presence of Ambulante outside of Latin America. A crowd-funding campaign will be launched in the spring, along with an open submissions call for California-produced documentary short films, a selection of which will be presented as a highlight of the festival. The overall strategy is to make the development of the festival highly interactive by inviting the public to take part in the shaping of the festival. One of the ways to get involved is to vote on which places the Ambulante tour should consider stopping at to put on a screening event.
Ambulante is a non-profit organization that focuses on supporting and promoting documentary film as a tool for social and cultural transformation. Founded in Mexico in 2005 by Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna, and Pablo Cruz, Ambulante brings documentary films and training programs to places where they are rarely available in order to create a participative, informed and critical public, cultivate new forms of expression, and encourage debate in Mexico and abroad.
Each year, Ambulante organizes an international film festival that tours Mexico for three months. Ambulante presents over 100 documentaries, invites more than 100 guests from Mexico and abroad, and holds screenings in over 150 venues. Ambulante’s objective is to promote documentary film within Mexico and reach a broader audience by screening films in a wide array of venues.
Ambulante is currently the largest documentary film festival in Mexico. It includes film screenings, workshops, talks, seminars, symposiums, networking panels, documentary theater, drive-in cinema, and a showcase of documentaries at the Ibero-American Music Festival Vive Latino held in Mexico City. Ambulante opens up different ways of experiencing and understanding documentary film. It is a non-competitive film festival, and over 60% of its program is free.
Additionally, Ambulante Beyond aims to train new filmmakers from Latin America who have limited access to the resources that would allow them to share their stories with a wider audience. Through modular workshops designed to meet the specific needs of its participants, Ambulante Beyond fosters independent production and alternative forms of aesthetic expression so that stories can be told from a unique cultural perspective without being constrained by conventional storytelling models.
To learn more about Ambulante and their different traveling programs visit HERE