NewFilmmakers Los Angeles has announced an exciting lineup for this year’s InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Film Festival.
Taking place on Sept. 22 and 23, 2023, the two-day festival will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood, Calif., showcasing a lineup of 24 short films from talented young filmmakers across four programs.
The festival’s 24 short films hail from a dozen different countries, including Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, and the U.S.
The lineup includes five world premieres; the U.S. premiere of “Piedra Dura” by Emmy-winning filmmaker and NFMLA alum Rommel Villa; and writer-director Carlos Segundo’s “Big Bang”, which premiered in Locarno. It also includes Miguel Angel Caballero’s “The Ballad of Tita and the Machines”, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Gabriela Ortega’s “Beautiful, FL.” Both Caballero and Ortega were inaugural Academy Film Accelerator program fellows and previous Best of NFMLA Award nominees. Ortega won the title of NFMLA’s Best New Filmmaker in 2022.
The festival will commence on the first morning with a program called InFocus: São Paulo, consisting of films curated in partnership with SPCINE that highlight the work of a diverse range of filmmakers from the city of São Paulo, Brazil. “This block of films poetically explores and expands on themes of life and death, grief and hope, changing landscapes, poverty and marginalization, resistance, joy and the echoes of the past,” according to NFMLA.
The second program will begin in the afternoon with InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Shorts I – Interdependence, a collection of stories about the ways people rely on each other in beautiful and sometimes perilous ways.
The third program, InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Shorts II – The Unexplainable, consists of a collection of horror, sci-fi, magical, and folktale narratives about the ambiguity of the human experience.
The final program will be InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Shorts III – Through the Eyes of Youth, a selection of vivid stories told from the perspective of children and adolescents coming of age.
In addition to screenings, the festival will also include audience Q&A sessions and four live panel discussions, including Latinos as Heroes: In Conversation with Robert Rodriguez, which will discuss the importance of showcasing the Latinx community as heroes, particularly in the Spy Kids franchise. The panel will also dive deep into the storytelling that aims to inspire a new generation of young heroes.
The other panels include A Conversation with Film Festival Programmers, featuring Sundance Film Festival curators Ana Souza and Diana Sánchez Maciel; Documentary Filmmaking with Director Rodrigo Reyes, whose latest film Sansón and Me had its world premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival and will be broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens this month; and Creating a Feature Film with The Brazilian Filmmakers Collective, which will feature three award-winning Brazilian filmmakers discussing the joys and challenges of bringing their debut films to life, from concept to distribution.
NFMLA and the Academy have brought together industry professionals, executives, and creatives to support this year’s filmmaker, including Ana Souza from the Sundance Institute, Danielle Gasher from Gravitas Ventures, Diamond McNeil from Warner Bros., Diego Nájera from Participant, DGA Award-winning filmmaker Felipe Vargas, Graciela Garcia from Cinetic Media, Ivana Martinez from VERVE Talent & Literary Agency, Joan Wai from the Academy, Lauren Lopez de Victoria from BORDERLESS, Nick Romano from 18hz, Sarah Al-Qatou from HOORAE, and Tony Gil from Redefine Entertainment.
“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in 2023 with filmmakers representing 12 countries at the Festival. It really is a testament to the talent that exists on a global scale and reflects our essential goal of creating a truly inclusive program. When everyone is represented, our industry can thrive,” said NFMLA programming director Bojana Sandic and executive director and co-founder Larry Laboe.
“The Academy is dedicated to encouraging and elevating emerging filmmakers from diverse communities around the world,” said Academy senior vice president of impact and global talent development Kendra Carter. “We’re thrilled to support NewFilmmakers LA, which has been instrumental in providing a start to so many careers in the industry.”
NFMLA welcomes submissions for upcoming NFMLA Festivals all year regardless of the schedule for InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and region by spotlighting communities of filmmakers as part of its monthly program. The project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Find out more about the festival here.
NewFilmmakers Los Angeles InFocus: Latinx & Hispanic Cinema Film Festival Lineup
“Above the Desert with No Name” (Dir. Sonia Sebastián & Writ. Heather Older)
“Angélica” (Dir. Victor Velasco & Writ. Victor Velasco, Ginaris Sarra)
“Balam” (Dir. & Writ. Guillermo Casarin)
“Beautiful, FL” (Dir. Gabriela Ortega & Writ. Adrian Ferbeyre, Joel Perez)
“Big Bang” (Dir. & Writ. Carlos Segundo)
“Brownsville Bred” (Dir. & Writ. Elaine Del Valle Del Valle)
“Dandelion” (Cuanacaquilitl) (Dir. & Writ. Lorena R. Valencia)
“Death INC” (Dir.& Writ. Icaro Barbosa)
“Each Lovely Thing” (Dir. & Writ. Paloma Nozicka)
“Fábula” (Dir. & Writ. Hector Ignacio Serrano)
“Followers” (Dir.& Writ. Felipe Martinez Carbonell)
“Hoar” (Dir. & Writ. Jeanette Dilone)
“Illegally Brown” (Dir. & Writ. Gabriela Revilla Lugo)
“Love Letters” (Dir. & Writ. Ana Julia Travia)
“Mutirão: The Movie” (Dir. & Writ. Lincoln Péricles)
“Next week, I promise you Palmares!” (Dir. Lux Machado, Lara Júlia & Writ. Icá Iuori)
“Piedra Dura” (Dir. & Writ. Rommel Villa)
“Punk is Punk” (Dir. & Writ. Kimberly Bautista)
“The Astronaut” (Dir. & Writ. Damian Apunte)
“The Ballad of Tita and the Machines” (Dir. Miguel Angel Caballero & Writ. Luis Antonio Aldana, Miguel Angel Caballero)
“The Ciguapa” (Dir. & Writ. Blaine Morris)
“The Cookbook” (Dir. & Writ. Gabriela Paciel)
“The Mangrove of all Brazils” (Dir. Flávio José de Moraes, Thuan Mozart do Nascimento Baptista & Writ. Thuan Mozart do Nascimento Baptista)
“Wish Upon a Disco Ball” (Dir. & Writ. Anabel Iñigo)
NFMLA is an L.A.-based arts and culture non-profit organization. Now in its 16th year, the organization champions emerging storytellers from around the globe, offering year-round programming including the NFMLA Monthly Film Festival, InFocus diversity and inclusion series, Best of NFMLA Awards, DocuSlate Documentary Film Festival, STARZ #TakeThe Lead Writers’ Intensive, NewNarratives, CineCessions Student Mentorship program, and more.
Main Image: A still from “Fábula” written and directed by Hector Ignacio Serrano, courtesy of NFMLA.