“To see people who look like you in the media is tremendously important.” says local Chicago filmmaker, Arlen Parsa.
His film, “The Way to Adina," will preimiere on May 1st at the Chicago Latino Film Festival, a two week celebration of Pan-Latino culture through film. Film festivals, like C.L.F.F, are an opportunity to see the vast variety of global Latino experiences represented in one theatre. Here's an inside look on where to start!
For the past 33 years, the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago has produced this film festival "to promote and increase awareness" of the cross cultural experiences within Latino communities.This year's festival will be held from April 20th until May 4th at the AMC RiverEast 21 Theatre. From Bolivia to the Cuba, this jam packed festival showcases a variety of genres, countries and languages, as well as student films from Mexico, Chile, & Ecuador.
For all of the documentary lovers out there, here’s a few trailers to check out!
HIDDEN - Featuring some breathtaking settings and equally astonishing stunts, Spano’s and Barcenas’s documentary focuses on three Panamanian extreme sportsmen: surfer Gary Saavedra, skydiver Eloy Cruz, and four-wheeler JanCa Salerno. They throw open the curtain to a “hidden” landscape as they travel through a road full of doubts. (Excerpt from ChicagoFilmFestival.org)
OLANCHO - Manuel Chirinos is a farmer from a rural village in the mountains of Eastern Honduras. When a song he writes angers a dangerous drug cartel, Manuel is forced to flee his home in Honduras to go to the United States. From a radio cabin in North Carolina, Manuel recounts his narrow escape from death and describes the challenges of assimilating into a new world as an undocumented immigrant. (Excerpt from ChicagoFilmFestival.org)
THE EARTH DID NOT SPEAK - In 1982, a government supported paramilitary massacred 177 indigenous women and children in Rio Negro, Guatemala. This documentary is a powerful chronicle of the memories left behind by the events of the massacre and the plight of its survivors to rebuild their lives. (Excerpt from ChicagoFilmFestival.org)
We had the opportunity to learn more about Parsa's documentary in our recent conversation. "The Way to Adina” chronicles his journey to organize and produce an opera that was composed by his great grandfather, Eustasio Rosales, over 80 years ago. Chicago’s first hispanic composer, Rosales immigrated from Bogota, Columbia in 1877. However, this particular peice never made its debut. Parsa came across a letter written by his great grandmother that stated “My only hope is that people will somehow get to know his (Rosales) music after he’s dead.” This inspired Parsa, with absolutely no background in musical performance, to direct his first opera in 2015, answering the age old family question “What would this music sound like?”
Described as a “fish out of water” story, this documentary reflects a personal family triumph and connects to similar themes represented in many of the films at the festival. His great grandfather's experiences as a Colombian immigrant are woven throughout the storyline, touching on the impact of discrimination and how immigration laws affect families. According to Parsa, he hopes “viewers can reflect on whether immigration laws from the past and the present are humane.”
From galas to film receptions with the directors, the Chicago Latino Film Festival has so much to offer. There will be over 70 incredible films and 40 shorts to check out over the next week, including the much anticipated premiere of the award-winning drama “Tamara”, a film about Venezuela’s first transgender person elected to that country’s National Assembly.
If you are looking to get your week started off on a high note, this is a great opportunity for filmmakers and film-lovers alike! For more information, check out their website at www.chicagolatinofilmfestival.org.
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