Monday, April 14, 2014

Latin American Films at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival

April 16 - 27

Directed by Mariana Rondón
Venezuela/Germany/Argentina/Peru, 2013, 93 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by Cinema Tropical 
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Junior is a precocious 9-year-old boy living in the housing projects of Caracas who wants nothing more than to straighten his head of tight curls for his yearbook photo. A desire that borders on obsession, it stirs homophobic panic in his mother, Marta, who is overtaxed from losing her husband, raising two children, and attempting to find a job. As she sharply recoils at Junior’s self-expression and abrasively acts to correct his behavior, Junior manages to find acceptance (and straight hair) in the company of his loving grandmother. From Venezuelan writer-director Mariana Rondon and featuring newcomer Samuel Lange in a beautifully standout performance, Bad Hair is a painfully tender coming-of-age drama about a boy caught in a maelstrom of identity and intolerance.

Directed by Juan Pablo Cadaveira
(Argentina, 2013, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
Co-Presented by Cinema Tropical 
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Sergio 'Maravilla’ Martinez’s fearlessness and tenacity has earned him both adulation and disdain in the world of boxing. Emerging from rural Argentina, his career has been marred by injury, finances, and political favoritism within the World Boxing Council. A true underdog story, Maravilla follows Martinez as he sets out to reclaim the Middleweight title that was taken from him in 2011 by the more popular Julio Chavez, Jr. amid a cloud of controversy. With stunning access, director Juan Cadaveira follows Martinez through endless hurdles, exposing the overtly political nature of boxing. Focusing on the rise of Martinez from penniless amateur to world champion, Maravilla offers an intimate and unflinching look at the business of boxing and celebrity, unwavering in its hope for true sportsmanship.

Directed by Alvaro Ruizpalacios
(Mexico, 2014, 108 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
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A months-long student strike at the National University throws roommates Sombra and Santos into a droll sort of limbo in their shabby apartment in Mexico City, whiling away the hours pining for the girl from the pirate radio show and tricking their neighbor’s daughter into helping them steal electricity. Their idiosyncratic routine is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Sombra’s teenage brother, Tomás, who has been exiled from his home by their mother following an incident involving a baby and a water balloon. The trio sets out on a road trip in search of Tomás’s hero, fabled folk-rock star Epigmenio Cruz, traversing across the city through perilous slums and the rebellious halls of the university to the ritzy nightlife downtown. Director Alonso Ruizpalacios arrives as a bold new voice in Mexican cinema with his energetic and imaginative feature debut—a cool, retro, black-and-white portrait of Mexico City and of three restless young men searching for a purpose and identity in a city of millions.

Directed by Josef Wladyka
(Colombia/USA, 2014, 82 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
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Towing a submerged torpedo in the wake of their battered fishing boat, ‘Jacobo,’ a desperate fisherman and Delio, a naive kid, embark on a journey trafficking millions of dollars of cocaine up the Pacific coast of Colombia. While Jacobo is a seasoned trafficker, young Delio is unprepared for the grim reality. Shot entirely on location—in areas that bear the indelible scars of drug trafficking and guerrilla warfare—director Josef Kubota Wladyka establishes a sense of place with meticulous sensitivity, capturing the visceral paradox of incredible vibrancy yet devastating poverty which permeate this war-torn region. Refusing to glamorize the drug trade, Manos Sucias instead offers a rare glimpse of its devastating effects. Executive Produced by Spike Lee.

Directed by Dan Sickles, Antonio Santini
(Puerto Rico, 2014, 89 min. In Spanish with English subtitles)
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In a celebration of the trans community in Puerto Rico, the fissure between internal and external is an ever-present battle. A unique exploration of self-discovery and activism, featuring a diverse collection of subjects that include LGBTQ advocates, business owners, sex workers, and a boisterous group of drag performers who call themselves The Doll House, Mala Mala portrays a fight for personal and community acceptance paved with triumphant highs and devastating lows. Through riveting cinematography that encapsulates the candy-colored, vivacious personalities as well as their frequently dark personal experiences, directors Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles dynamically present the passion and hardships reflective of this distinctively binary human experience.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PITBULL releases 2014 World Cup's Official Song “WE ARE ONE (OLE OLA)”

The official 2014 World Cup song is here.
Pop stars Pitbull and JLo and Brazilian musical artist Claudia Leitte released their collaborative track for this summer’s tournament on Tuesday, and it is titled ”We Are One (Ole Ola).” Pitbull can be heard through the majority of the tune, but JLo and Leitte do have verses of their own.

In addition, FIFA revealed the official World Cup album tracklist on Tuesday. It features songs from Shakira, Ricky Martin, Avicii and more.
The video for the official World Cup track has not yet been released, but is expected to drop shortly. It was filmed in South Florida earlier this year.
“We Are One (Ole Ola)” comes out just a couple weeks after Shakira dropped her World Cup-inspired “La La La” track.

Give “We Are One (Ole Ola)” a listen.


LGBTQ Latina/o Film Festival in LOS ANGELES April 10-13

The inaugural Latina/o Queer Arts and Film Festival (LQAFF) in collaboration with the Gay and Lesbian Center of LA will showcase the only film festival for latino queers. Latin@ Queer Arts and Film Festival will take place April 10-13 at The Village, located at the Gay and Lesbian Center. This four day celebration of art and film will include a launch party, art gallery, spoken word, feature films, documentaries, short films, mini-workshops/info sessions, food trucks, music, networking opportunities, Q&A’s with filmmakers, and featured cast members.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

SHAKIRA releases new World Cup song

It might not be the official song for this
summer’s World Cup, but Shakira’s new soccer track
is sure to be on repeat throughout the competition.
Shakira released a new World Cup-inspired
tune titled “La La La” on Monday ahead of the start of the prestigious tournament in Brazil in June.
It is an upbeat track and one that comes four years
 after the Colombian pop star had the hit 2010 World Cup single “Waka Waka.”Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and
Brazilian artist Claudia Leitte have been tasked with this summer’s official FIFA World Cup anthem
(which has not yet been released), but that still
has not stopped Shakira from trying to recapture some of the spotlight with her latest catchy track.

Give Shakira’s song a listen.


Ana Tijoux's hip-hop goes back to Chilean roots

Ana Tijoux, whose rap song "La Bala" (The Bullet) became the soundtrack for Chile's student movement, has emerged as one of the most influential voices in Latin America's hip-hop scene.
Now Tijoux, who spent her youth in France after her family was forced into exile during Gen. Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, says she's eager to discover her roots. Her latest album, "Vengo" (I Come), trades pre-recorded electronic tracks for a live band of traditional Andean instruments to accompany powerful lyrics that tackle everything from social conflicts and indigenous rights to feminism and freedom.
"It's a sort of manifesto," Tijoux told The Associated Press. "I want to learn and look at the world with other eyes."
Tijoux, 36, moved back to Chile as a teenager and discovered her love for hip-hop. Her album "1977," referring to the year she was born, was nominated for a Grammy in 2011 and the song under the album's same name was featured in the popular TV drama series "Breaking Bad." Back home, "La Bala" became the anthem for multitudes of Chilean students demanding education reform and a lessening of the country's huge gap between the rich and poor.
"This new generation of students has been a bucket of cold water, a giant slap in the face for all of us. It's a huge lesson about the ability to unite, and fight over something as basic as the right to study," Tijoux said.
"It was also a tremendous inspiration. The marches have been a high point for the gathering of otherwise invisible artists," she said. "I never saw so many photographers, dancers, musicians as I saw in the marches. It's a boiling pot for artists who are not part of the mainstream."
The student protests began under the 2006-10 presidency of Michelle Bachelet, who appeased some students by naming a commission including several of their leaders, and shuffling her Cabinet. But others were disappointed.
Bachelet was inaugurated for a new presidential term last month. She has vowed an education overhaul in response to the millions of people who have taken part in protests since 2011 demanding deep changes to a system suffering from poor quality public schools, unprepared teachers and expensive private universities.
Luis Andres Henao on Twitter:

Rodriguez: Si Se Puede (Yes We Can)

The Latino community is abuzz over rumors that Century Cinemas is bringing the long-awaited movie biopic “Cesar Chavez” to Burley. If so, kudos to the cinema owners for recognizing that Latinos are members of the community, and we, too, have a history.
The last Latino-themed movie shown in the Mini-Cassia area was “Selena.” We lined up and paid to see this movie more than once. We Latinos knew Selena, and many of us had seen her in concert. The film made $15 million its first weekend, and in 100 days, it earned $35 million nationwide.
The Latino community hoped this would start a trend. It didn’t. Other Latino movies — such as “Instructions not Included” with Mexican film star Eugenio Derbez and “Pulling Strings” — did not make it to Burley. These were American-made movies financed by American producers.
“Instructions not Included” was the highest-grossing Spanish-language movie of all time, making $44 million. The Oscar-winning movie “12 years a Slave” grossed $56 million. Latinos bought 25 percent of domestic tickets despite comprising only 17 percent of the population.
I hope Century Cinema owners realize they are sending a positive message. Latinos are not the only moviegoers who will benefit from seeing a film about the life of a Mexican-American labor leader. This is American history. Our children should know their history. Cesar Chavez spoke English, the movie is in English with, of course, some subtitles.
If the rumors are true, then the theater owners are celebrating our commonalities, not our differences. Latinos are teachers, principals, lawyers, counselors, nurses, doctors and other hard-working members of this community. And we support our local theaters.
Thank you, Century Cinema, for not following other Idaho moviehouses, such as Boise theaters that have declined to show the Cesar Chavez biopic in Ada County. Instead, Canyon County showed the film. Perhaps someone thinks only a place with more Latinos will support this movie. Not true. Latinos from Boise and Meridian traveled to Caldwell to see the movie, and they’re still talking about it. Somebody lost out.
Such actions prevent Latinos from being regarded as community members, instead treating them as outsiders whose movies would only be seen by them. So those who aren’t Latino don’t get the chance to see this movie either. This is a missed opportunity. This is sad. We watch movies about African-Americans, such as “Mandela,” “Malcolm X” and “Ali.” I can count the African-Americans in the Mini-Cassia area on one hand, but still these movies come to Burley.
For Century Cinema, bringing in this movie would be good business. Cesar Chavez was the Latino version of Nelson Mandela, the Rev. Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi — all of whom practiced non-violence to make positive changes and lived through violent times to make peace. Latino history has a different perspective than the ones others may know.
Damian D. Rodriguez is a DJ and talk show host for the Spanish language radio station, La Voz Latina 91.9 FM, in Burley.

Monday, April 7, 2014