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The Denver Film Society announced today it will host their third annual CineLatino Film Festival September 22 – 25 to coincide with Hispanic Heritage month. The four-day long event will celebrate the best in cinema from Latin America, Mexico, Europe and the United States. The Festival will open with The Vessel, executive produced by Terrence Malik staring Martin Sheen and close with Desierto, the directorial debut of Jonás Cuarón staring Gael García Bernal and Jeffery Dean Morgan. In addition, the Festival will host a special first-look at the recently completed local short documentary Clever, from Director Alan Domínguez and Oscar-winning producer, Daniel Junge.
Clever is the extraordinary story of Gerardo Lopez, a former member of the notorious MS13, who now works to keep young people in Denver out of gangs and focused on creating a positive direction for their lives. The film is an unflinching look into the deep heart of a man who refuses to be owned by his mistakes and a system that refused to think he could change. Lopez, along with Director Alan Domínguez and Director of Photography Aaron Kopp will be on hand for a Q&A after the film.
“Whether it is celebrating the innovative approach of the filmmakers behind The Vessel, the incredible work of local Latino community, or the next generation of great directors from Mexico, we could not be more thrilled to announce this year’s lineup for CineLatino,” says Ernie Quiroz, Denver Film Society Programming Manager. “There are so many important stories that need to be told, and for 4 days at the Sie FilmCenter, we get to shine a spotlight on some of the best films from the US, Latin America, Spain and Mexico.”
In addition to the team behind Clever, CineLatino will welcome Julio Quintana, the director of the Opening Night film, The Vessel. The film was shot in Puerto Rico and in both English and Spanish with a bilingual cast (including Martin Sheen). When the film opens theatrically, exhibitors will be able to choose between the English or Spanish version, based on the preferences of their market. Opening Night will serve as the Colorado premiere for the film.
This year’s festival will feature three films starring Gael Garcia Bernal. Desierto, the directorial debut Jonás Cuarón (who co-wrote Gravity, with his father, Oscar winning Director, Alfonso Cuarón) will close out the Festival.  Neruda, the latest from director Pablo Larraín (The Club, No, Tony Manero), which screened at Cannes as part of the Director’s Fortnight section. Finally, Eva No Duerme, a surreal film about the strange true story of the kidnapping of Eva Peron’s body during the military coup in 1955. Bernal plays the bizarre and creepy role of Admiral Emilio Massera.
Rounding out the lineup, Guatemala’s first Academy Award entry (Best Foreign Lanuguage), Ixcanul, will also screen. The film is in both Spanish and the Mayan K’iche dialect. Additional highlights of this year’s festival include a free-family screening of fan-favorite, Nacho Libre, in partnership with Denver Botanic Gardens and a free preview screening of the documentary Willie Velasquez: Empowering People in partnership with PBS and Latino Public Broadcasting. The documentary, is a topical look at the man who led the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project, underscoring the growing power of the Latino vote.
All-access Festival passes are on sale now. A complete Festival pass to CineLatino is $70 for DFS members and $85 for Non Members. The pass includes all films, as well as access to all special events, receptions and parties. Visit for more information and to purchase your pass. Individual tickets to CineLatino will go on sale at a later date.
Direct Link to full program and to purchase passes:
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Camino a La Paz/Road to La Paz – Argentina/Netherlands- (Director: Francisco Varone)
In Spanish with English subtitles

Writer/ Sebastian is 35-years-old and unemployed, with only his father’s old Peugeot 505 to his name. When fate brings him a man in search of a ride, Sebastian sees no other choice but to take the opportunity. The man is Jalil, an elderly devout Muslim, and his destination is La Paz, the capitol of Bolivia some 2,000 miles from Buenos Aires. Both men are at a crossroads, and the journey to La Paz not only takes them to the north but also places them on a touching and often funny road of self-discovery.
Desierto – USA – (Director: Jonás Cuarón)
In English and Spanish with English subtitles

From Jonás Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón, the acclaimed filmmakers of Gravity, comes a unique, modern vision of terror.  Desierto is a visceral, heart-pounding suspense-thriller packed with tension and suspense from start to finish, starring Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries and Y Tu Mamá También) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen).

What begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life becomes a harrowing and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.- Mexican border.  In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer.
Eva No Duerme/Eva Doesn’t Sleep – Argentina /France /Spain – (Director: Pablo Agüero)
In Spanish with English subtitles

After a military coup in 1955, Juan Domingo Peron is deposed and forced to flee Argentina. He does so before ensuring proper arrangements for the embalmed body of his deceased wife, Eva Perón. The military junta kidnaps the body and launches a decades long odyssey in which the corpse is transported throughout Europe. Pablo Agüero’s visionary and unforgettable interpretation of Peron’s body’s journey is suspenseful, surreal, and features the supporting work of Gael Garcia Bernal at the peak of his acting powers.
Ixcanul – Guatemala / France – (Director: Jayro Bustamante)
In Spanish and Mayan K’iche’ with English

María, a young 17 year old Mayan girl, lives and works with her parents on a coffee plantation at the foothills of an active volcano in Guatemala. An arranged marriage awaits her. Although Maria dreams of going to the “big city,” her condition as an indigenous woman does not permit her to change her destiny. Unforeseen circumstances put her life at risk, forcing her to go out into the modern world where her life is saved, but at a steep price.
La Tierra y La Sombra/Land and Shade – Columbia – (Director: César Augusto Acevedo)
In Spanish with English subtitles

Winner of the Camera D’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, César Acevedo’s beautifully austere feature film debut uses Colombia’s expansion of the sugar industry as a backdrop to this drama about an old farmer who returns to his family after abandoning them 17 years ago. His son has developed a deadly lung disease caused by the fires that are set every night to clear the land that surrounds them, leaving his wife and daughter-in-law in charge of the farm. Meanwhile, the sugar cane workers are threatening to go on strike, an action that might have dire consequences for this family.
Magallanes – Peru/Argentina/Spain – (Director: Salvador del Solar)
In Spanish and Quechua with English subtitles

Actor Salvador del Solar debuts a political thriller that digs deep into Peru’s recent military abuses and its population’s scarred collective unconscious. Harvey Magallanes hasn’t made much of his life since being a soldier. He drives around his former Colonel, now aged and senile, and makes extra money as a taxi driver. When he picks up a woman he recognizes from his time as a soldier during the repression of the Shining Path, Magallanes is overcome with guilt and the need for justice. Del Solar assembles an all-star cast—Damián Alcázar, Federico Luppi, Magaly Solier—for powerful results.
Neon Bull/Boi Neon – Brazil/Uruguay/Netherlands – (Director: Gabriel Mascaro)
In Portuguese with English subtitles

From the heart of Brazil’s vaquejada rodeo culture comes a unique study of character and dissection of gender. Iremar is a cowhand who travels from event to event with a group of bulls, his helper Zé, driver Galega, and her pre-teen daughter Cacá. Crisscrossing the northeast countryside, they represent a distinctive microcosm of individuals who are multidimensional to the point of idiosyncrasy—Galega supplements her income as an exotic dancer and Iremar has a passion for designing women’s clothing. Gabriel Mascaro’s follow-up toAugust Winds is a beautifully shot exhibition that goes against the grain.
Neruda – Chile / Argentina / Spain / France – (Director: Pablo Larraín)
In Spanish with English subtitles

Pablo Larraín (The Club, No, Tony Manero) weaves an engrossing metafictional fable around the 1948 manhunt for celebrated poet and politician Pablo Neruda, who goes underground when Chile outlaws communism and is pursued by an ambitious police inspector (Gael García Bernal) hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the famous fugitive.
Viaje – Costa Rica – (Director: Paz Fábrega)
In Spanish with English subtitles

Luciana and Pedro meet at a costume party and, after an impulsive kiss, decide to spend the night together. But this is not your stereotypical one night stand. They both feel a connection and, the following morning, Pedro invites her to join him for the weekend after revealing that he has to leave for a three-week assignment at a biological research station. And so begins a journey that may or may not cement their relationship. Shot in lush black-and-white, this simply-told and beautifully acted story is refreshing, tender and full of heart.
The Vessel – USA – (Director: Julio Quintana)
In Spanish and English with English Subtitles

Music. Dancing. Fireworks. Childbirth. These are just a few things that vanished from the quaint fishing village of Soledad after a massive tidal wave crushed the local elementary school, washing forty-six children out to sea. Ten years later a young man named Leo (Lucas Quintana) drowns, only to reawaken three hours later. The local priest, played by Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Martin Sheen, believes this may be a sign from God. But when Leo feels compelled to build a mysterious structure out of the old school's remains, he sets the town aflame with passions long forgotten. A story of romantic, familial and spiritual love, The Vessel (El navio) is in the end about those mysteries beyond our realm of understanding. Executive produced by the legendary Terrence Malick and shot on location in Puerto Rico.
The Violin Teacher/ Heliopolis – Brazil – (Director: Sérgio Machado)
In Portuguese with English subtitles

After failing to be admitted into the renowned São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra, Laerte, a talented violinist, is reduced to giving music classes to teenagers in a public school in Heliópolis, the biggest favela of Brazil. Among his struggles to adapt, Laerte has to relearn the transformative power of music through his students who need it most. Inspired by the true story of the Baccarelli Institute, a music school founded in 1996 in Heliópolis, The Violin Teacher charts the harsh class distinction between Laerte’s world of concert halls and privilege and the world of his students, rife with poverty and crime.
Burden of Peace – Guatemala/Netherlands – (Director: Joey Boink)
In Spanish with English subtitles

Burden of Peace tells the impressive story of Claudia Paz y Paz, the first woman to lead the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Guatemala. The country that has been ravaged for years by a devastating civil war, in which nearly 200,000 Mayan Indians were systematically massacred, is today one of the most violent countries in the world. Claudia starts a frontal attack against corruption, drug gangs and impunity and does what everyone had hitherto held to be impossible: she arrests former dictator Efraín Rios Montt on charges of genocide. His conviction becomes the first conviction of a former head of state for genocide in a national court in the world history.
Since her first year in office, Claudia gave access to filmmakers of Framewerk, Joey Boink and Sander Wirken. It resulted in an intimate glimpse into the life of a woman who wants to change her country and therefore brings immense sacrifices. The documentary was released during the Movies that Matter Film Festival, March 2015, The Hague. The film has screened at festivals around the world, was nominated for a Golden Calf for Best Documentary at the Netherlands Film Festival 2015, and won awards at film festivals in Biarritz, Brussels, Bratislava and Vienna.
Clever – USA – (Director: Alan Domínguez)
In English

This short documentary details the life and work of Gerardo Lopez (a.k.a. Clever), a Denver-based gang interventionist. Formerly of the notorious MS13 from Los Angeles, 'Clever' details his way out of gang life, his work in keeping youth from making the same mistakes, and his extraordinary tale of survival once he made the courageous decision to move his young family away from the negative influences of his youth.
Post film Q&A with the Colorado-based team: Director Alan Dominguez, Subject Gerardo Lopez and Director of Photography Aaron Kopp.
Nacho Libre – USA – (Director: Jared Hess)
In English

Jared Hess (of Napoleon Dynamite fame) directs this bizarre comedy starring Jack Black as Nacho, a young man who works as a cook in the Mexican monastery where he was raised. When the institution faces a financial crisis, Nacho decides that he must come to the aid of the house of God (as well as the beautiful young nun who has recently joined the order) by competing in the local Lucha Libre tournament. Donning a spandex outfit, mask, and cape, Nacho becomes a hero for the ages — but can he win the heart of a woman of the cloth?
Willie Velazquez: Empowering the People – USA – (Director: Hector Galan)
In English and Spanish with English subtitles

In Willie Velazquez: Empowering the People, a production of Galan Incorporated and Latino Public Broadcasting, viewers meet the man who led the Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project and launched 1,000 voter registration drives in 200 cities, paving the way for Latinos to have a voice in government and underscoring the growing power of the Latino vote.

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