Latino LGBT Films Shine on the Festival Circuit

By Vanessa Erazo, Indiewire

There are thousands of film festivals all over the world. Some are prestigious and well known--taking place in large cities across Europe and the U.S.--others in out-of-the-way towns that no one has ever heard of. These festivals show all kinds of films--from a range countries, on various topics and of many genres.

Often the films tend to be heavy on stories from the U.S.and Europe--focusing on the developed world and centering on mainstream populations. Generally speaking, they showcase films directed by men and about people who are White, straight, and well-off. As a result there are countless specialty festivals--Latino, Asian, African, and others--whose objective is to feature the talents of marginalized filmmakers. But even at a niche festival there are groups which continue to be underrepresented. At a Latino film festival it’s not always easy to find films that are Jewish, gay, indigenous, Afro-Latino or about Latin American immigrants from unexpected countries like Japan or Germany. Granted there aren’t as many movies made about these populations but--on the bright side--this year has proven to be a bountiful one for Latino LGBT films. They have played renowned mainstream festivals like Sundance and Berlin and are making the rounds at gay festivals. It’s about time.

Mosquita y Mari (ISA: The Film Collaborative)

Aurora Guerrero
USA, 2011, 85 min

“This Sundance favorite is a sweet and genuine film about two Chicana high schoolers, Yolanda, a shy, straight-A student, and Mari, her “bad girl” classmate. Yolanda offers to tutor the feisty and hot troublemaker. As she and Mari study and share their intimate thoughts in an abandoned auto body shop, their feelings inevitably get deeper, furtive glances grow longer, and Yolanda starts to come into her own. Aurora Guerrero’s debut feature takes a tender look at what it’s like to discover yourself and fall in love for the first time.”

Olhe Pra Mim de Novo (LookatMeAgain) (ISA:FiGa Films)

Kiko Goifman, Claudia Priscilla          
Brazil, 2011, 72 min

“Syllvio Luccio, born a girl, grew to identify as a lesbian then finally a man, embarks on a road trip through Northeastern Brazil, a region characterized by rigid ideas rooted in evangelical religion and machismo. Syllvio engages with outsiders of different backgrounds on the road, including LGBT youth, a man whose paternity is questioned by his family and a group of adults afflicted with a genetic disease. Directors Kiko Goifman and Claudia Priscilla draw candid testimony from their subjects to construct a moving portrait of an individual and exploration of outsider culture.”

Elliot Loves (ISA: TLA Releasing)

USA, 2011, 92 min                                                                                        

“Finding love in the big city is never easy. But it’s always entertaining in this bouncy romantic comedy from first time feature director Terracino. Elliot is an earnest twenty-one year-old Dominican American looking for love in all the wrong places. The juxtaposition of Elliot’s past and present paints a sweet, complex character study of a young gay man trying to find love and meaning in the big city. Wild visual nuances, surprising fantasy interludes and a non-traditional approach to just about every aspect of filmmaking make this a must see for connoisseurs of brave new cinema.”

Joven y Alocada (Young & Wild) (ISA: Elle Driver)

Marialy Rivas
Chile, 2012, 96 min

“Seventeen-year-old Daniela is obsessed with sex. But her self-proclaimed “pussy in flames” is in direct conflict with her well-to-do, strict evangelical family in Santiago, Chile. She finds an outlet by detailing her naughty ruminations and exploits on her blog Young & Wild to her eager online followers. Marialy Rivas masterfully directs her first feature, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and picked up the World Cinema Screenwriting Award. Rooted in a fearless and unforgettable performance by Alicia Rodríguez, Young & Wild is a stunning, energetic look at family and youth culture in contemporary Chile.”


Joshua Sanchez                                                                                 
USA, 2012, 75 min

“An adaptation of Pulitzer prize finalist Christopher Shinn's first play of the same name, Four is both an emotional and urgent glimpse into the lives of four troubled and fascinating individuals. As the world around them celebrates the 4th of July with fireworks and festivity, a closeted married man, his young daughter, a gay teen, and a minor drug dealer haltingly negotiate one-night affairs. Filmmaker, author and artist Joshua Sanchez opens typical expectations of race and gender, reading Shinn’s drama with an intensity, candor, and carnality.”

Film Synopses taken from Frameline: The San Francisco International LGBT Festival and OutFest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

Written by Juan Caceres and Vanessa Erazo, LatinoBuzz is a weekly feature on SydneysBuzzthat highlights emerging and established Latino indie talent and upcoming trends in Latino film with the specific objective of presenting a broad range of Latino voices. Follow @LatinoBuzzon twitter.