By Sydney Levine | Sydneys Buzz August 20, 2010 at 12:43PM
LALIFF kicked off its 5 day festival last night with a great audience pleaser, Venezuelan film by first time director (and writer), Marcel Rasquin, HERMANO, audience and jury prize winner from Moscow FF and rumored to be headed toward Telluride. The international sales agent EuropaCorp (whose Luc Besson was president of the Moscow jury when the film won Moscow International Film Festival's top prize, the Golden George), was uncertain that it wanted the film to show in this festival where it had been promised before EuropaCorp was in the picture. But the filmmaker must have prevailed and a packed house at Mann's Grauman Chinese was lucky to see this great film. HERMANO tells the story of an exceptional soccer player and his team's captain and a born leader who have been raised as brothers, and who play football in their slum. The opportunity of their lives arrives when a soccer scout invites them to try out with the city's best team but tragedy intervenes bringing everything back to the soccer field, where they must choose what is more important: family, revenge or their lifelong dreams. The film stars Eliú Armas, Fernando Moreno, Gonzalo Cubero, Marcela Girón, great soccer players as well as actors.
The festival will showcase 73 films, including 37 features (25 narrative of which 5 are by women directors ♀ (25%) and 12 documentaries of which 9 are by women directors ♀ 75%) and 36 shorts. The Closing Night Gala is BACKYARD by Carlos Carrera, a fictional account of a series of murders of young women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico most of whom were been low-paid laborers were drawn to the town by the possibility of work at American-owned factories. A Mexican woman police officer (Ana de la Reguera) sent to Cuidad Juarez to investigate discovers the realities of the women's lives, as well as the truth about a police force and local power structure embodied by an entrepreneur (Jimmy Smits) who has ceased to care. The after party presented for the 14th consecutive year by The Coca-Cola Company, as well as Lexus will feature the great resurgent salsa combo Costazul.
LALIFF is the only Latino international film festival in the world to have its collection of films archived at the Academy Film Archive. This year LALIFF has chosen DIOS LOS CRIA, the Puerto Rican classic film (1979) by Jacobo Morales for presentation continuing its ongoing pledge to preserving the Latino cinematic history for the world. This fully restored print was created by the Academy Film Archive, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences™; Archivo de Imágenes en Movimiento del Archivo General de Puerto Rico; Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival; and the Film and Electronic Arts Department of California State University, Long Beach
LALIFF's red carpet was trod by every Latino name in Los Angeles and Mayor Villaragosa made the keynote speech along with LALIFF founder Edward James Olmos and his right hand Marlene Dermer.
LALIFF also announced the schedule for its Hollywood Connect program, a series of events, receptions, industry panels, discussions, conversations and presentations created to build bridges between filmmakers and professionals from the Hollywood film community. Hollywood Connect program events include:
The Advantages of International Co-Production
Presented by: EGEDA
Moderated by: Leon Ichaso, Director
Rafael Sanchez, Managing Director, EGEDA-SGR
Manuel Soria, Managing Director, Madrid Film Commission
Julia Steinweg, Founder/Producer, Steinweg Emotion Pictures
Gabriela Tagliavini, Director/Producer
This panel will discuss the "ins and outs" and the "dos and don'ts" with industry professionals that have worked in and around the field of International Co-Productions.
Café con… MATT LOPEZ
Presented by: WGA, West
Moderated by: Ligiah Villalobos, writer UNDER THE SAME MOON (LA MISMA LUNA)
Matt Lopez (BEDTIME STORIES & RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN) discusses his latest film, the Walt Disney Pictures action adventure, THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE with fellow screenwriter Ligiah Villalobos (LA MISMA LUNA).
**Special Bonus – A Special FREE Screening of THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE at 10AM at the Mann Chinese 6 Cinemas will precede Café con… MATT LOPEZ.
BEFORE THE CAMERA ROLLS/MAXIMIZING YOUR TAX INCENTIVES
Introduction by: Leimomi Coloretti, Outreach and Development Director ,
Media Services / Showbiz Store
Dealing with a key element of film producing and budgeting, this seminar aims to serve as a definitive look at pre-production and tax incentives planning, presented by Media Services and Showbiz Software.
Otter Huntley, VP of Business Development, Media Services
Steven Fishman, VP of Sales, Media Services
Roger Jones, Business Development/Software Support, Media Services
John Robertson, Tax Incentives Specialist, Media Services
Alan Bailey, West Coast Production Consultant to Tax Credits, LLC
A DIRECTORS ROUNDTABLE
Moderated by: Sydney Levine, Sydney's Buzz-Indie wire
The panel features a roundtable dialogue with six exciting new voices whose films are being showcased in this year's Festival. Each filmmaker will share their stories on what it took and the roads they each travelled to get their current films made.
Fina Torres – Director, HABANA EVA
Carmen Marron – Director/Producer/Writer, GO FOR IT!
Consuelo Alba – Director , EL ANDALON
Isabel Cueva – Director, IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM
Yvette Edery – Director, JILLIAN DILLON
Sarah Vaill – Director, WOMEN WITH ALTITUDE
NEW MEDIA AND YOU
Moderated by: Sydney Levine, Sydney's Buzz-Indie wire
The panel focuses on using social networking, DIY and Hybrid Models to market and distribute your film.
Orly Ravid, The Film Collaborative
Vanessa Arteaga, Jaman
Sheri Candler, Marketing & Publicity
Courtney Canale, Freestyle Releasing (THE DRY LAND)
Maggie Powers, Orange Entertainment
A GUILD EXPLORATION
Presented by: SAGindie
Moderated by: Darrien M. Gipson, Director SAGindie
Representatives from SAG, SAG Indie and Writers Guild of America, West speak on this panel about independent film and new media – how to work with the Guilds and why.
Kim Myers, WGAWest, Director of Diversity
Mark Friedlander, SAG, National Director, New Media
Elisabeth Flack, WGAW, Contracts Administrator, New Media
FROM FINANCING TO NEW MEDIA DISTRIBUTION: DECONSTRUCTING FILM
Presented by: Ethos Group
Moderated by: Ivan Cevallos, CEO, Ethos Group
This panel takes a start-to-finish look at film production to distribution with top executives within the independent film arena.
Adrian Ward, SVP, Entertainment, Sports & Media, NBCal
Howard Cohen, Co-President, Roadside Attractions
William Wu, Entertainment Attorney
Marcos Cruz Gonzales, Partner, MCG & Co.
John Kuri, CEO/President, Elixir Entertainment
A DIALOGUE ON IMMIGRATION ISSUES: WE ARE AMERICA/NOSOTROS SOMOS AMERICA
Presented by: UCLA Latin America Institute
Moderated by: Lalo Alcaraz, (comic strip "La Cucaracha", host KPFK "Pocho Hour of Power")
This panel will address the issue of immigration as a civil rights crisis impacting the Latino immigrant community that has culminated with Arizona's anti-immigrant law, SB1070.
Esaú Meléndez, LALIFF Filmmaker, Director of IMMIGRANT NATION
José Jacques Medina, Federal Deputy, LX Legislature, 2006-09, Mexican Congress
Professor Justin Akers Chacon, San Diego Community College, Chicano Studies
Thomas Saenz, President & General Consul of MALDEF
Sebastian Cordero, LALIFF Filmmaker, Director of RABIA
The Closing Night presentation of Carlos Carrera's BACKYARD on Wednesday, August 25 will serve as the capstone for an impressive lineup that will feature 73 films, including 37 features (25 narrative and 12 documentaries) and 36 shorts. Along with the films offered throughout the festival, additional activities will include LALIFF's filmmaker panels, parties and gala events. The Closing Night Gala will include an after party presented for the 14th consecutive year by The Coca-Cola Company, as well as Lexus.
The drama, BEDROOMS will be making its official World Premiere on Friday, August 20. Directed by Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos and Victor Teran, the film follows four interwoven stories of heartbreak, the infidelity that's often the result and the redemption that comes from tearing the walls put up between people down. The impressive cast includes Jordan Belfi, Julie Benz, Xander Berkeley, Moon Bloodgood, Barry Bostwick, Jesse Garcia, Sarah Clarke and Dee Wallace.
William Wedig's FORGED will be making its West Coast Premiere at LALIFF on Friday, August 20. Co-written and co-produced by Manny Perez, the drama focuses on the struggles of an ex-convict to make a new life and try to salvage a relationship with his son while settling old debts with the criminal element he used to run with. The film stars Manny Perez, David Castro, Margo Martindale, Jaime Tirelli and Kevin Breznahan.
The film schedule also has a truly impressive number of films that have won awards and made notable appearances at previous festivals. Some of those films include:
Anna Muylaert's É PROIBIDO FUMAR (SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES)
AWARDS: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Film, Best Music, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Candango Trophy – 2009 Brazilia Festival of Brazilian Cinema, Best Actress, Best Director, APCA Trophy – 2010 São Paulo Association of Arts Critics Award
Luciana Burlamaqui's ENTRE A LUZ E A SOMBRA
AWARD: Winner – 2010 Guadalajara Film Festival
Ciro Guerra's LOS VIAJES DEL VIENTO (THE WIND JOURNEYS)
Un Certain Regard selection – 2009 Cannes Film Festival
AWARD: Winner of Latino Screenwriter's Lab – 2005 LALIFF
Alvaro Bechner's MAL DIA PARA PESCAR (BAD DAY TO GO FISHING)
AWARDS: Best Art Direction – Gijon International Film Festival, Best Actor Mar del Plata Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize – Sofia International Film Festival, UFCA Award – Uruguyan Film Critics Association, Free Spirit Award – Warsaw International Film Festival)
Miguel Coyula's MEMORIAS DEL DESARROLLO (MEMORIES OF OVERDEVELOPMENT)
AWARDS: Havana Star for Best Film – 2010 Havana Film Festival, Honorable Mention for Narrative Feature – 2010 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, Best Feature Film – New Media Film Festival
Sebastián Leilo's NAVIDAD (CHRISTMAS)
Directors' Fortnight selection – 2009 Cannes Film Festival
Sebastian Cordero's RABIA
AWARDS: Best Director at FICG and won the Golden Globe selection for Best Film at FICG
Carlos Gaviria's RETRATOS EN UN MAR DE MENTIRAS (PORTRAITS IN A SEA OF LIES)
AWARD: Winner – 2010 Guadalajara Film Festival
This year's Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) Showcase films include Abby Ginsberg's CRUZ REYNOSO: SOWING THE SEEDS OF JUSTICE, Esaú Meléndez's IMMIGRANT NATION and Ray Telles' THE STORM THAT SWEPT MEXICO. LPB Showcase features documentaries created by Latino Producers in the States that focus on the Latino community; the stories, art and culture and issues that affect Latino communities not simply in the US, but worldwide.
The only Latino international film festival in the world to have its collection of films archived at the Academy Film Archive, this year LALIFF has chosen DIOS LOS CRIA, the Puerto Rican classic film (1979) by Jacobo Morales for presentation continuing its ongoing pledge to preserving the Latino cinematic history for the world. This fully restored print was created by the Academy Film Archive, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences™; Archivo de Imágenes en Movimiento del Archivo General de Puerto Rico; Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival; and the Film and Electronic Arts Department of California State University, Long Beach