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'Cine-Más' Is Here To Provide Representation And To Celebrate Latin Cinema

Fort Worth's Lone Star Film Festival has launched a new initiative called 'Cine-Más.' It's sort of a festival within a festival. And it features films that shine a light on the life and culture of Latin and Hispanic people. 

by Hady Mawajdeh 8 Nov 2018 Cine-Más
Gabriel Gutierrez

Gabriel Gutierrez is the director of programming for Cine-Más. Gutierrez spent over 200 hours watching films made by Latin and Hispanic filmmakers in order to curate the festival. The 23-year-old film enthusiast is also helps program the Lone Star Film Festival and is proud to bring diverse stories to his native Fort Worth.

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Welcome to the Art&Seek Spotlight. Every Thursday, here and on KERA FM, we’ll explore the cultural creativity happening in North Texas. As it grows, this site, artandseek.org/spotlight, will eventually paint a collective portrait of our artistic community. Check out all the artists and artworks we’ve chronicled.

The Lone Star Film Festival celebrates Latin cinema with a new initiative called Cine-Más! This new portion of the festival features films that share the art and cultures of the Latin and Hispanic people. Photo: Cine-Más logo

The Lone Star Film Festival celebrates Latin cinema with a new initiative called Cine-Más! This new portion of the festival features films that share the art and cultures of the Latin and Hispanic people.
Photo: Cine-Más logo

The 12th Annual Lone Star Film Festival has acclaimed feature films, short films, panel discussions and so much more. Check it out through November 11th. For a full lineup and description of the films screening during Cine-Más, scroll below the story.   

Hispanics and Latinos make up 25-percent of the movie-going audience in the United States. Yet they’re rarely represented on the big screen. In this week’s Art&Seek Spotlight, Hady Mawajdeh tells us about Cine-Más – a new film festival in Fort Worth that celebrates work by and about Latin and Hispanic people.

Comedian Aziz Ansari has a pretty funny take on the alarmingly large number of movies that are about or staring white people:

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Are white people just psyched all the time?! It’s like, “Back to the Future – that’s us!G odfather – that’s us! Godfather II – that’s us! Departed – that’s us! Sunset Boulevard– that’s us! Citizen Kane – that’s us! Jaws – that’s us! Every movie, but Slumdog Millionaire and Boyz In The Hood is us!!!”

Cine-Más director Gabriel Gutiérrez (right) works with intern on festival preparations. Photo: Hady Mawajdeh

Cine-Más director Gabriel Gutiérrez (right) works with intern on festival preparations.
Photo: Hady Mawajdeh

23-year-old film enthusiast and Fort Worth native Gabriel Gutiérrez says that portrayal seems very real, especially when he’s looking for a particular type of movie.

“Yea! It’s very hard to see a Latin film here because you either have to go to Dallas or maybe you wait till Magnolia screens it or (pause) I don’t know!” says Gutiérrez.

Because he can’t find Latin films in theaters, Gutiérrez is forced to watch a lot of movies at home. But he says there’s no better way to watch a movie than in a theatre.

“The big screen is there to engulf you,” he says. “Being in the theater like, it’s forcing you to live it; in that moment. And I think at home, you know, with the convenience to pause it and do whatever you want, I think it takes you out of that.”

That’s why Gutiérrez asked his boss Chad Mathews at Fort Worth’s Lone Star Film Festival about creating Cine-Más. And Mathews agreed.

Lone Star Film Fest director Chad Mathews.

Lone Star Film Fest director Chad Mathews.

“For a time there, I think we were just overlooking a segment of our population that is growing tremendously in Fort Worth,” Mathews explains. “And so we wanted to welcome the Hispanic and Latino community. And this is our first step towards it.”

Cine-Más is part of the five-day Lone Star Film Fest, a festival within a festival. It features movies by filmmakers from countries like Mexico, Columbia and Argentina. Some may contend for a foreign film Oscar next year.

“These are great movies from around the world. From light fare to some really fun music documentaries to then some dramatic narrative films; I mean if you were to read the synopsis and see the movies that are listed, they’re attractive stories for everyone,” says Mathews.

Almost all the films are in Spanish, with English subtitles. But other than that, Gutiérrez says there’s no real difference between Cine-Más and Lone Star.

Gutiérrez in the LSFF offices. Photo: Hady Mawajdeh

Gutiérrez in the LSFF offices.
Photo: Hady Mawajdeh

“I just wanted the ability to give the Latin community here more accessibility to these films to see what our culture is producing” Gutiérrez says.

Gutiérrez is first-generation Colombian American. He wants to connect Latinos with their cultures.

“You know, while we have a strong sense of togetherness here,” he says. “I think we need to also see just what is going on in our in our native countries. And just be able to celebrate it and experience it.”

Paul Espinosa‘s documentary “Singing Our Way to Freedom” is screening at Cine-Más. It’s about Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez, the Chicano musician and activist who often performed at Cesar Chavez rallies.

Espinosa says that changing demographics makes Latino underrepresentation especially irritating.

“Given that Latinos are now 1 in 6 Americans, I think we see far too little work,” Espinosa says. “So certainly Latino Film Festivals like Cine-Más are very important in terms of bringing this work to audiences that might not get a chance to see it otherwise.”

Logo for the Festival De Cine Latino Americano

Logo for the Festival De Cine Latino Americano

Gabriel Duran agrees. He’s a filmmaker and instructor at the University of North Texas. He’s also the CEO of the Festival De Cine Latino Americano in Denton. Duran says he’s glad larger film festivals like Lone Star are reaching out to the Latino community.

“We are a very high percentage of ticket sales at box offices, so you cannot not see that and not understand that we are a powerhouse when it comes to purchasing power,” says Duran.

Duran is right. Latinos represent around 18 percent of the US population. But they buy 25 percent of all movie tickets, according to industry reports.

Motion Picture Association of America

Breakdown of frequent moviegoers via the Motion Picture Association of America

Hollywood has embraced a few Latino filmmakers, like Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro. But Gutiérrez says those men can’t represent the global Latino experience on their own. He hopes Cine-Más can make a change, at least regionally.

“I want to at least bring Latin films and culture into the mix of what you can see, besides what is the next big blockbuster that’s out in theaters,” he says.

Gutiérrez has big plans for Cine-Más, like filmmaking competitions. For now, he hopes he’s crafted a festival that’ll make Latin and Hispanic people feel at home.

Featured Films

American Curious – Thursday, November 8th | 9:30 PM

Mexico | Romantic Comedy | Gabylu Lara

Una historia intercultural del viaje de un hombre hacia la identidad, AMERICAN CURIOSO cruza la frontera con David Green, un hombre adoptado que descubre que la madre biológica que él nunca conoció acaba de morir y le dejó su restaurante, y que ella era mexicana.

A cross-cultural story of one man’s journey toward identity, AMERICAN CURIOUS goes across the border with David Green, an adopted man who learns that the birth mother he never knew has just died and left him her restaurant – and that she was Mexican.

Conexciones – Sunday, November 11th | 5:15 PM

USA | Documentary | James Hall

Grupo de música mexicano de California van en una gira por Cuba compartiendo música y cultura.

Mexican- American music group tours Cuba performing and sharing culture.

Mas Que Hermanos/ Beyond Brotherhood – Wednesday, November 7th | 7:15 PM

Mexico | Drama | Jorge Ramírez Suárez

Un joven debe, como último recurso, secuestrar a su propia hija recién nacida para evitar que su custodia caiga en las manos equivocadas. Superando a las autoridades, sacrifica su ciudadanía estadounidense y su carrera retirándose a Europa después de dejar a su hijo al cuidado de sus amigos cercanos en México. Décadas más tarde, debe encontrar el camino a casa, sea cual sea el costo.

A young man must-as a last resort-kidnap his own newborn daughter to prevent her custody from falling into the wrong hands. Outrunning the authorities, he sacrifices his American citizenship and career by retreating to Europe after leaving his child in the care of his close friends in Mexico. Decades later, he must find a way home-whatever the cost.

Yo no me Llamo Rubén Blades/ My name is not Rubén Blades – Saturday, November 10th | 6:00 PM

Panama/Argentina/Colombia | Documentary | Abner Benaim

El ícono latinoamericano Rubén Blades estuvo en el centro de la revolución de la salsa de Nueva York en los 1970. Sus letras cargadas socialmente y sus ritmos explosivos llevaron la música Salsa a una audiencia internacional. Blades ha ganado 17 premios Grammy, actuó en Hollywood, obtuvo un título en derecho de Harvard e incluso se postuló para presidente de su nativa Panamá. Vive en Nueva York, donde comparte su vida en casa y de gira con la cámara. El director aclamado por la crítica, Abner Benaim, nos lleva en un viaje a través de la carrera de 50 años de Ruben, que revela que Ruben aún podría tener ambiciones musicales y políticas. La película es una celebración de esta leyenda viviente y su lucha para llegar a un acuerdo con su legado.

Latin American icon Ruben Blades was at the center of the New York Salsa revolution in the 1970’s. His socially charged lyrics and explosive rhythms brought Salsa music to an international audience. Blades has won 17 Grammys, acted in Hollywood, earned a law degree from Harvard and even ran for President of his native Panama. He lives in New York, where he shares his life at home and on tour with the camera. Critically acclaimed director Abner Benaim takes us on a journey through Ruben’s 50-year career, revealing that Ruben might still have both musical and political ambitions. The film is a celebration of this living legend and his struggle to come to terms with his legacy.

La Sargento Matacho – Wednesday, November 7th | 5:00 PM

Colombia | Drama | William González

En 1948, un joven campesina colombiana ve cómo los policías asesinan a su esposo. Víctima del conflicto fratricida conocido en Colombia como La violencia, se convierte en la Sargento Matacho, primera protagonista femenina de las tropas fuera de la ley.

In 1948, a young Colombian peasant witnesses how police officers murder her husband. A victim of the fratricidal conflict known in Colombia as The Violence, she turns herself out into Sergeant Matacho, first female protagonist of outlaws troops.

La Gran Promesa/ The Gran Promise – Wednesday, November 7th | 7:15 PM

Mexico | Drama | Jorge Ramírez Suárez

Un joven debe, como último recurso, secuestrar a su propia hija recién nacida para evitar que su custodia caiga en las manos equivocadas. Superando a las autoridades, sacrifica su ciudadanía estadounidense y su carrera retirándose a Europa después de dejar a su hijo al cuidado de sus amigos cercanos en México. Décadas más tarde, debe encontrar el camino a casa, sea cual sea el costo.

A young man must-as a last resort-kidnap his own newborn daughter to prevent her custody from falling into the wrong hands. Outrunning the authorities, he sacrifices his American citizenship and career by retreating to Europe after leaving his child in the care of his close friends in Mexico. Decades later, he must find a way home-whatever the cost.

La Reina del Miedo/ The Queen of Fear – Sunday, November 11th | 6:45 PM

Argentina | Drama | Valeria Bertuccelli & Fabiana Tiscornia

Una actriz se vuelve muy ansiosa en los días previos al estreno de su espectáculo de una sola mujer.

An actress becomes overanxious in the days leading up to the premiere of her one-woman show.

Singing Our Way to Freedom – Friday, November 9th | 7:15 PM

USA | Documentary | Paul Espinosa

Singing Our Way to Freedom es una mirada multifacética a la vida y las canciones del músico, compositor y activista de la comunidad chicana, Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez. Tomando prestado de las tradiciones musicales en ambos lados de la frontera de Estados Unidos y México, Chunky utiliza la música y el humor como armas poderosas en la lucha por la justicia social. Desde sus humildes comienzos como campesino en el área rural de California trabajando con César Chávez hasta el dramático momento en que recibió uno de los honores musicales más importantes de su nación en la Biblioteca del Congreso, esta película nos recuerda que la batalla por la libertad sigue de nueva para cada generación.

Singing Our Way to Freedom is a multilayered look at the life and songs of Chicano musician, composer and community activist, Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. Borrowing from musical traditions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, Chunky uses music and humor as powerful weapons in fighting for social justice. From his humble beginnings as a farmworker in rural California working with Cesar Chavez to the dramatic moment when he received one of his nation’s highest musical honors at the Library of Congress, this character-driven film reminds us that the battle for freedom has to be fought anew by every generation. Director Paul Espinosa will be in attendance for a Q+A after the screening.

Traigan la Hierba/ Get the Weed – Saturday, November 10th | 8:00 PM

Uruguay | Doc Comedy | Denny Brechner

Una Cámara de Marihuana Legal uruguaya falsa viaja a los Estados Unidos para encontrar 50 toneladas de cannabis para abastecer al país. El presidente José Mujica es el líder de la misión.

A fake Uruguayan Chamber of Legal Marijuana travels to the United States to find 50 tons of cannabis to supply the country. President Jose Mujica is the leader of the mission.

Rich Kids – Friday, November 9th | 5:00 PM

USA | Drama | Laura Somers

Un grupo de adolescentes con problemas de una comunidad de bajos ingresos irrumpen en “Los Ricos”, la mansión local con una cerca fronteriza, y pasan el día fingiendo ser ricos para olvidar sus difíciles vidas.

A group of troubled teens from a low-income community break into “Los Ricos”, the local mansion with a border fence, and spend the day pretending to be rich in order to forget their difficult lives.

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