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The New York International Latino Film Festival - Overview

Presenting and Representing Latino Filmmaking Culture


The New York International Latino Film Festival (NYILFF) is widely recognized as the most important Urban Latino film event in the United States. Founded in 1999, the festival's mission is to showcase the work of emerging Latino filmmakers from the U.S and across Latin America, presenting narrative features, documentaries, and both fiction and nonfiction shorts that illustrate and celebrate the diversity and spirit of the international Latino community.

In addition to the annual festival, which is held during August and takes place at various venues throughout New York City, the NYILFF hosts special family and community events, promotes new trends in music and art through concerts and exhibits, offers scholarships to aspiring filmmakers and, in partnership with HBO, runs a nationally recognized short film competition. HBO is also a significant sponsor of the annual festival.

Documentaries Program For 2012

The 13th edition of NYILFF, scheduled to take place this year from August 13 to 19, 2012, will present an eclectic and very compelling selection of five feature length documentaries that focus on and have been made by filmmakers from Mexico, Cuba, Chile and the U.S.

Listed in alphabetical order, the films are:

  • Buscando A Larisa (Looking for Larisa) - Mexico, 2012 - Filmmaker Andres Pardo uses found footage to peer into the lives of a family that has lost touch with its collective recollections. Pardo purchased some 2,000 feet of Super-8 film home movies at a Mexican flea market. They film had been shot between 1970 and 1980, and included scenes from the childhood of a little girl, the adorable blonde Larisa, that had been shot by her father. Teaming up with photographer Santiago Cassarino, the filmmaker set out to discover more about Larisa and how the footage of her childhood had come to be separated from the family.
  • El Medico: The Cubaton Story - Cuba/Sweden, 2011 - Filmmaker Daniel Fridell chronicles the personal conflict faced by Raynier Casamayor Griñán, who must decide whether he will serve the Cuban people as a physician or entertain international audiences as a rap artist. Griñán, working as a doctor in Cuba's highly esteemed medical system, was singing as a side line -- until he met a Swedish music producer, Michel Miglis, who wanted to promote him to international stardom. Because of Griñán's commitment to Castro's system and its cultural and economic standards, the film presents a view of the clash between the established socialism and influx of capitalism in contemporary Cuba.
  • Esperando A Los Bitles (Waiting For The Beatles) - Mexico, 2011 - Filmmakers Diego Graue and Raymundo Marmolejo explore the impact of Beatlemania on Mexican culture, where the fab four are still first runners in the realm of fandom, especially in little countryside towns where local bands have put their own regionalized spin on all the favorite Beatles songs and made them their own. Beatlemania endures through tribute bands, ardent collectors of Beatles memorabilia, and tourism to London and Liverpool where devotees follow in the Beatles' footsteps. This delightful, warm, humorous and exuberant documentary is an unusual and indirect tribute to the Beatles, one that they would surely appreciate.
  • Hija (Daughter) - Chile, 2011 - Filmmaker Maria Paz Gonzales follows a mother and daughter as they venture on a 2000-kilometer journey. Each is searching for a family member she has not yet met. The mother is looking for her sister. The daughter is hoping to find the father whom she has never met. Their journey is fraught with tensions as both mother and daughter confront hidden truths that have defined their relationship.
  • Lemon - U.S.A., 2011 - Filmmakers Laura Brownson and Beth Levison follow the lifestyle change and artistic emergence of Lemon Anderson, the ex-con who became a poet, performer and cultural sensation when he was able to transform his past experiences into a revealing and affecting stage piece, County of Kings, which played at New York's Public Theater and toured through the U.S. Through his autobiographical performance piece, Lemon illustrates how his hustle to survive his childhood of poverty and neglect in the Brooklyn projects where he was raised by parents suffering from drug addiction and AIDS, and where he sold crack to other kids, eventually became his means to turn his life around. Through his tremendous talent as a spoken word artist, he began to examine his past and to release himself from it. Performing in Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and subsequently in his one man show, he gained the recognition that he deserves. Lemon's story, as presented in Lemon, is indeed an inspiring one. The film has been selected as the centerpiece for NYILFF 2012's closing night event.

Additional Festival Details

For additional details about NYILFF, the narrative film program, ticketing, venues and other NYILFF events, see the festival's official Website

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